Category archive for Santa Monica Mountains

las virgenes canyon

Hiking Las Virgenes Canyon

This beautiful trek on the western edge of the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve differs greatly from the more popular routes starting from Victory Trailhead on the eastern end of the Open Space. Although they were both part of the same fairly recent land purchase and former Ahmanson Ranch, the eastern half of the Open Space is more…

read » March 16, 2015
victory trailhead las virgenes canyon

Hiking the Victory Trailhead Loop

In the late 1990s, executives at the now-defunct bank Washington Mutual had their eyes on a nearly 3,000 acre tract of ranch land in the western San Fernando Valley near Calabasas, Simi Valley, Woodland Hills, and Agoura. The land was formerly owned by the Ahmanson Family, one of the most influential families in the history of the Los Angeles area. The…

read » March 4, 2015
mentryville mountains

Hike Mentryville Park

There are many reasons why California is what it is today – but you can argue that more than anything, two natural resources were instrumental in building the region and even making the land United States territory: gold and oil. Those who bemoan Southern California’s lack of preserved history need look no further than present-day Santa Clarita. To its east…

read » January 14, 2015
Cheeseboro Canyon

Hike Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyons

Please pardon this brief personal anecdote. I promise it is relevant to the hike. I spent a considerable part of my childhood and early adulthood living in Agoura Hills. During that time, I developed a pretty strong attachment to the place, even though I outgrew the specific charms of this quiet bedroom community by early adulthood. A regular feature of my…

read » January 12, 2015
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 » July 1, 2014
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 » March 12, 2014
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 » March 5, 2014

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 » July 12, 2013
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. Last Updated: Wednesday, March 12, 2014

read » February 8, 2013
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 » February 1, 2013
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 » October 12, 2012
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! Franklin Canyon began its modern life as a reservoir area from water brought…

read » October 11, 2012
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 » July 10, 2012

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 » June 7, 2012
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 » January 24, 2012

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 » November 7, 2011

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 » September 21, 2011

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 » April 22, 2011

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 » February 25, 2011

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 » February 15, 2011