Proper hiking in the city limits of Los Angeles can be difficult to come by. The hustle and bustle of life in the city can really get to a person sometimes. It is always nice to have a place that is close by and offers good trails, clean air, peace and quiet. This is why Temescal Canyon is one of the most popular hiking destinations in the Los Angeles Area. The hike is in Pacific Palisades at the end of Temescal Canyon Rd. on Sunset Blvd. The trail head for this hike starts in Temescal Gateway Park, 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles. To get there head west to PCH, take a right on Temescal Canyon Rd. until it ends. You can also take Sunset Blvd. West until Temescal Canyon Rd. and make a right into the park. There is a fairly large parking lot. Parking is $7.00 and enforced by the ranger. Street parking is available on Temescal Canyon Rd. The park is very popular so on the weekends its best to get their early to beat some of the crowds.
This is a great hike for everyone. It is used by many local fitness junkies that push themselves hard up the Ridge Trail for the first two miles and coast back as a cool down. The park allows dogs on a leash but about a quarter mile in you reach Topanga State Park property and dogs are not permitted. We did the hike as a loop, starting on the Temescal Canyon Trail to the Temescal Ridge Trail with a side trip to Skull Rock and we recommend this way so you can see everything. However, you can do the hike just on the canyon trail. This is the better scenario if you bring small kids, elderly people or someone not in the best condition. The Canyon Trail is well groomed, shaded, next to the creek and finishes at the waterfall. You can then turn around and head back the same way you came. If you are trying to get a workout it is recommended that you start on the Ridge Trail. This will take you up 1000’ of elevation in around two miles on the west ridge of the Canyon.
This write up will follow the video and be told as we did it. At the start of the hike you travel through the park. You pass all the residences and community buildings the park offers. You cross over the creek and head north where the trail was chained off to vehicles. After passing a challenging team building coarse and beautiful grove of trees you cross into Topanga State Park. This stretch takes you along the Temescal Creek. Here you see trees, boulders, flowers, birds. It’s green and full of life. At the end of this section of the trail you reach a small, cascading waterfall. This is a good opportunity to get close to the water, climb around on the rocks and take some pictures. If you scramble down by the waterfall and climb up next to it you can keep going and explore more, larger falls. When you have cooled down and had your waterfall fix, continue across the bridge and start up the canyon. After a short climb you will reach a trail junction. Keep left to continue on the ridge trail. Head right for a short side trip to the rock formation called Skull Rock. Hike about .5 miles and you will see it in the distance. The rock has a remarkable resemblance of the side profile of a human skull. It is really cool. Get closer and climb up to get some of the best views of the Santa Monica Bay around. Head back down and meet back up with the Temescal Ridge Trail. Along this trail you will be delighted with ocean views all along the ridge with a wonderful lookout point where you can see Malibu, Catalina Island, the bay, all the way to downtown on a clear day.
This Los Angeles hike is highly recommended. It is close to everything and really offers a fun, challenging, picturesque, satisfying hike that’s not going to take all day. This is a good hike for kids or even a date. If you are sick of Los Angeles Traffic and just need to get away but don’t have a lot of time, this is the hike for you. We here at Hikes You Can do strive to bring you all the information you need when looking for a hike in the Los Angeles area. We hope this has inspired you to go out and check out the Temescal Canyon Loop Hike in Pacific Palisades in the Santa Monica Mts.
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