15601 Sunset Boulevard Pacific Palisades
Hiking Distance: 4.2-Mile Loop Hiking Time: 2 Hours
Configuration: Loop With Half-Mile Spur To Skull Rock Elevation Gain: 1,000 Feet Difficulty: Moderate To Somewhat Strenuous Exposure: Exposed Ridge And Forested Canyon Dogs: Not Allowed
Maps: U.S.G.S. Topanga Topanga State Park Map Tom Harrison Maps: Topanga State Park Trail Map
Temescal Canyon Is A Creek-Fed Canyon Within Topanga State Park That Is Shaded By Oaks, Maples, And Sycamores. This Canyon-To-Ridgetop Loop Hike Climbs The Hillside Cliffs On The West Side Of The Canyon And Follows The Ridge, Offering Far-Reaching Views Of Los Angeles And The Pacific Coastline.
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The Return Route Drops Into The Tree-Shaded Canyon To A Footbridge At The Seasonal Temescal Canyon Falls, Framed By Huge Volcanic Rocks. The Trail Begins At Temescal Gateway Park, A 141-Acre Oasis In The Hills Above Pacific Palisades. En Route, A Short Spur Trail Leads To Skull Rock, A Weather-Carved Formation Resembling A Human Skull.
To The Trailhead
From Santa Monica, Drive 2 Miles Northbound On The Pacific Coast Highway/Highway 1 To Temescal Canyon Road. Turn Right And Drive 1.3 Miles To The End Of Temescal Canyon Road, Crossing Sunset Boulevard En Route. Park In The Temescal Gateway Parking Lot At The Conference And Retreat Center. A Parking Fee Is Required.
Walk Up The Paved Road, Staying To The Left At A Road Split That Is Just Past The Temescal Camp Store. Continue 25 Yards To A Signed Junction On The Left. Leave The Road And Begin The Loop To The Left On The Temescal Ridge Trail. Climb Steps And Zigzag Up The Scrubby West Canyon Wall, Entering Topanga State Park At 0.3 Miles. Short Switchbacks Continue Uphill To The Open Ridge, With Sweeping Views Of Santa Ynez Canyon, Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, And The Entire Santa Monica Bay. Pass The Signed Leacock Trail On The Left, A Neighborhood Connector Path. Continue Up The Ridge Overlooking Temescal Canyon To A Junction With The Bienvenida Trail At 1.6 Miles. En Route Are A Series Of Coastal Overlooks. The Bienvenida Trail Leads One Mile Downhill To Bienvenida Avenue In Pacific Palisades. Walk 70 Yards Straight Ahead To The Posted Temescal Canyon Trail On The Right. The Right Fork Drops Into The Canyon The Return Route. To Visit Skull Rock, Detour Left And Continue A Half Mile Uphill To The Wind-Sculpted Rock. En Route Are Inland Vistas Across The Los Angeles Basin. After Viewing The Carved Sandstone Formation, Return To The Junction With The Temescal Canyon Trail. Take The Temescal Canyon Trail (Now On The Left/East) And Steeply Descend Into The Densely Wooded Canyon. At The Canyon Floor Is A Wooden Footbridge Over The Creek In The Rock Grotto Just Below Temescal Canyon Falls. The Trail Parallels The Creek Downstream Along The East Canyon Wall. At The Canyon Floor, Wind Through The Parklands Under Groves Of Eucalyptus, Sycamore, Willow, And Coastal Oak, Back To The Trailhead.
Topanga State Park
Topanga State Park Is Located Adjacent To The Unincorporated Town Of Topanga In Western Los Angeles County. The State Park Is Entirely Within The City Of Los Angeles, Making It The World’S Largest Municipal Wildland. The 11,525-Acre Park Is Bordered By Topanga Canyon On The West And The Rugged Rustic Canyon On The East. Between Topanga Canyon And Rustic Canyon Are Two Other Major Drainages Temescal Canyon And Santa Ynez Canyon. At The Head Of Temescal Canyon Lies Temescal Peak, The Highest Peak In The Park At 2,126 Feet.
The Park Contains A Wide Variety Of Habitats, Including Open Grasslands; Stream-Fed Canyons With Riparian Forests; Live Oak Woodlands; Bay Laurel, Walnut, And Sycamore Groves; And Coastal Sage Scrub. Scattered Throughout The Landscape Are Boulder-Studded Ridges, Dramatic Sandstone Cliffs, Caves, Waterfalls, Earthquake Faults, Marine Fossils, And Volcanic Intrusions. Overlooks, Such As Parker Mesa Overlook And Eagle Rock, Offer Spectacular Ocean-To-Mountain Vistas.
Trippet Ranch, The Park Headquarters, Is Located On An Old Homestead From The 1890s. The 80-Acre Homestead Is Currently The Main Entrance Into Topanga State Park And A Popular Staging Area For Accessing The Trails. At The Ranch Is A Nature Center, Pond, Shaded Picnic Areas, And Trailheads. Another Popular Access Point Into The Park Is The Reseda Boulevard Trailhead, Northwest Of Trippet Ranch At The North Boundary.
The Sprawling State Park Wildland Has A Complex Network Of More Than 36 Miles Of Hiking, Mountain Biking, And Equestrian Trails. The Trail System Is A Combination Of Wide Fire Roads, Single-Track Trails, And Informal Footpaths. An Unpaved Portion Of Mulholland Drive (Dirt Mulholland) Runs Through The North End Of The Park. Nearly 15 Miles Of The Backbone Trail Traverse Through The Heart Of The Park, Beginning At The Trail’S Easternmost Trailhead At Will Rogers State Park.
Note: Dogs Are Not Allowed In The State Park.