Category archive for Santa Monica Mountains

King Gillette Ranch

Hike King Gillette Ranch

Nestled in the rolling hills south of Calabasas, the nearly 600 acres of King Gillette Ranch serve as the picturesque homebase for the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. If the name “Gillette” sounds familiar, it’s because you’ve probably fought the good fight against unwanted hair – the famous razor company’s founder, the regally appointed King Camp Gillette, chose this…

read »
Corral Canyon

Hiking Corral Canyon

Hugging the coastline just off the PCH, Malibu’s Corral Canyon has the distinction of being the last canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains that has a completely undeveloped watershed that flows freely into the Pacific Ocean. And yes, that sound like a very specific thing, but you don’t need to memorize the honorifcs if you’re headed here – all you…

read »
Escondido Falls

Hiking Escondido Falls

The Winding Way Trail in Malibu leads to the multi-tiered 150 foot tall Escondido Falls, the tallest waterfall in the Santa Monica Mountains. While the waterfall’s strength is subject to the levels of precipitation, the trail to the base of the falls is a shaded, lovely stroll – and the trail to the upper tiers of the falls is an…

read »
8932009532_992dbc7a96_b

Hiking Red Rock Canyon to Calabasas Peak

This moderately graded fire road ascent just outside Topanga Village provides some amazing views of the interior of the Santa Monica Mountains – especially if you get to see the marine layer flowing over the peaks closest to the coast. This dog-friendly hike has enough of an incline to get your legs working but isn’t tough enough to scare off…

read »
Trebek Open Space

Hiking the Trebek Open Space

A just-under-3 mile out-and-back in the Hollywood Hills. This seldom-traveled route offers fantastic city views and easy, dog-friendly routes. While parking and trailhead issues may be complicated, this area has many of the same features and views of nearby Runyon Canyon with a fraction of the foot and paw traffic. A nice, hidden gem.

read »
Temescal Canyon to Skull Rock 27 (1 of 1)

Hiking Temescal Canyon to Skull Rock

A moderately challenging 4.6 mile loop trail in the Pacific Palisades. This route takes you on the popular Temescal Canyon Trail to Temescal Falls (really just a small cascade, most often only a trickle). From there, the hike makes a strong but shaded ascent up to the ridge and to Skull Rock, a cool little rock formation with some excellent…

read »
Franklin Canyon Reservoir Loop

Hiking Franklin Canyon – Reservoir Loop

This short and easy loop in the north end of Franklin Canyon Park is a great introduction to the area – and a reminder of what kinds of hidden gems are scattered all over the city. There are lots of opportunities to leave the reservoir loop to explore the park – or just sit by the shores and birdwatch, too.…

read »
Franklin Canyon Hastain Loop

Hiking Franklin Canyon – Hastain Loop

A short loop in the southern half of Franklin Canyon Park – a rugged, hidden little canyon just outside of Beverly Hills. This is a decent workout with some really lovely canyon scenery and views of Beverly Hills and Century City – and not too crowded, either!

read »
Murphy Ranch

Hiking Murphy Ranch

A 3.8 mile loop hike into the ruins of Murphy Ranch – a small parcel of land with an almost legendary history. This hike takes you from a popular fire road hike in view of the Pacific Ocean and peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains down long and winding sets of staircases to land that has been the home of…

read »

New Santa Monica Mountains Visitor Center Opens Saturday

On Saturday, June 9th, the brand new Anthony C. Beilenson Visitor Center will open at King Gillette Ranch, replacing an older visitor center located outside the actual boundaries of the parkland. The Park Service is billing the new center as a “net zero” facility – which does not mean it has free WiFi sponsored by NetZero, but rather that the…

read »
Towsley Canyon

Hiking Towsley Canyon

A 5.3 mile loop trail through some rugged Santa Clarita terrain. This hike features a decent workout in its elevation gain, some spectacular views of the Santa Susana Mountains and lots of geologic activity – including several small tar pits and natural asphalt in the nearby creeks. This route also has a few fun scrambling opportunities and an area called…

read »

Parking Restrictions at Runyon Canyon

Parking at Runyon Canyon – one of the most accessible and popular hikes in Los Angeles – is about to get a bit more difficult. Due to complaints about parking by residents, the Los Angeles City Council approved a recommendation of restricted parking on the streets immediately south of Runyon Canyon Park. It is not yet clear what the restrictions…

read »

Backbone Trail Inches Toward Completion

The 65 mile long system of trails in the Santa Monica Mountains known as the Backbone Trail has been inching along toward completion for some time now. Traversing through the hodgepodge of public and private land in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area has been somewhat of a challenge, with the trail often running up against private land the…

read »

New Land Acquisition in the Santa Monica Mountains

The nation’s largest urban-adjacent National Recreation Area just got a little bit bigger. Today, the National Park Service announced it had purchased 160 acres of land in Los Angeles County to add it to the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, bringing the total amount of parkland in the mountain range to 79,491 acres. The three parcels of land stretch…

read »

Coastal Slope Trail in Progress

Man, those Santa Monica Mountains are getting a lot of love lately from long-trail enthusiasts. The 60-some-odd mile Backbone Trail is inching toward completion (of the trail at least), and now the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority announced it’s made some major initial land purchases and easements for the establishment of a new 32-mile Coastal Slope Trail. The planwas approved…

read »

Land Sale May Threaten Runyon Canyon

Anyone who’s hiked the very popular Runyon Canyon Trail has probably had some questions in their head once they reach the ridge and see a giant unfinished beige mansion straddling the trail. The LA Times posted a story on the property today, which has had more than its fair share of bad luck. Originally built 16 years ago, the 9,800…

read »
Bulldog Road

Hiking Castro Crest and Bulldog Road – Malibu Creek State Park

  A 7.6 mile out-and-back in the southwestern portion of Malibu Creek State Park. This area is drastically different than the areas along Malibu Creek, and offers great opportunities for rock climbing and scrambling, mountain biking, and just plain enjoying some ocean views on a clear day. This particular route features a walk along the Castro Crest, then a descent…

read »
Los Liones Trail

Hiking Los Liones Trail to Parker Mesa in Topanga State Park

A 7.3 mile hike from the Pacific Palisades to a popular overlook in Topanga State Park. The first part of this hike – the Los Liones Trail – is one of the most lush riparian canyons I’ve seen in the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s gently graded, moderately shady, and definitely worth a look even if you have to fight crowds.…

read »

Hike to the Hollywood Sign

If you’re one of the few non-natives who actually stick around Los Angeles when Holiday Season hits, and you want to try to work off some of that Thanksgiving turkey, you might want to join up on a ranger-led hike to the Hollywood Sign in Griffith Park. On the mornings of November 27th and 28th from 8 to 11AM, Ranger…

read »

Trails and Photos in the Santa Monica Mountains

With the Angeles National Forest still mostly closed off, the Santa Monica Mountains are the place to be this weekend. With some cooler temperatures in the forecast, it’s the perfect time to bundle up (SoCal style) and hit a trail in the mountains. The longest stretch of the Backbone Festival is tomorrow, Saturday the 14th, at Will Rogers State Park.…

read »