Understand your POV on Valley Way. What I've done on a few occasions is to start on Valley Way and then cross over to the Airline on the Scar Trail. It avoids the steepest below treeline parts of the Airline, offers a view in one spot and comes out right around treeline on the Airline.
Usually when I'm in that area I zig zag all over the place. Scar, Upper Bruin, Lower Bruin......anything that's not Valley Way unless I'm just looking to motor out of the woods after a long day and I'm tired. I like Scar trail. Footing is soft and cushioned on that trail. Nice break from all the rocks everywhere else.