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South Mission Hills to Hillcrest

This mile-long stroll will take you from the bottom of the Laurel Street hill to Hillcrest. Along the way you'll pass under the First Avenue Bridge, an impressive sight from below. (Sometimes a tire swing hangs from its southern truss.) At the bottom of the Laurel Street hill, go north on State and take the first right on Maple. The trailhead is at the end of Maple, beyond the old wooden posts. The trail is well worn and easy to follow, with nothing but gentle rises and dips, except near the end, around Fourth Avenue, where you'll have to scurry up the embankment. The canyon is deep and rimmed by giant eucalyptus trees and heavy shrubbery, beyond which you'll see a sprawl of townhouses to the south and some of the area's stately old manses to the north. There are spotty little marshes along the trail and a streambed that's usually empty.

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