Ocean View

Cliff-top aeries instill a coastal attitude

Photograph by Dustin Snipes

Topanga Canyon
6.5 miles – Intermediate

Mountain trails over blue water make this a California postcard of a ride

Map by Peter Hoey: Click to view larger image

With 36 miles of trails on 11,000 acres, Topanga State Park is the country’s largest state park within the borders of a major city. Start at the oak grove just east of the Nature Center at Trippet Ranch and proceed to East Topanga Fire Road. Be prepared for some moderately difficult grades, which are steep but not treacherous, as you make your way along the ridgeline. Keep to the right and take Eagle Springs Fire Road for about three miles until you arrive at Hub Junction, which has views of Cathedral Rock to the south. Loop onto the west end of the East Topanga Fire Road and park yourself on the bench at the Eagle Rock, a sandstone outcropping that juts over a chaparral-covered valley. (That’s Catalina Island peeking through the clouds.) There are crags and small caves for spelunking as well, but be careful if you’re wearing bike shoes. Back on East Topanga Fire Road you’ll soon enter the home stretch. If you have the energy (and enough water—it gets hot out here), keep pedaling along the wide-open East Topanga Fire Road past Trippet Ranch for the three-mile trip to Parker Mesa Overlook. From that vantage point, which is more than 1,500 feet above sea level, the cerulean waters of Santa Monica Bay look positively tropical.

The Basics: From Topanga Canyon Boulevard turn south on Entrada Road. Follow the signs to Trippet Ranch/Topanga State Park. Restrooms, water, and a picnic area are at the trailhead.

Share the Trail: Whether you cross paths with a startled fawn or a Westside couple walking their Lab, you won’t be alone. Avoid the hikers by always riding on the right-hand side.