Trails of

Topanga State Park Area, including Mulholland Gateway Park, Sullivan Canyon and Westridge-Canyonback Park
 


Relaxing on Eagle Rock which overlooks much of Topanga State Park

Overview

This general area includes a number of parks and open spaces. The largest by far is Topanga State Park which includes Trippet Ranch and Will Rogers State Historic Park. There is also Mulholland Gateway Park to the north and west of Topanga State Park, Westridge-Canyonback Park is north-east, and Temescal Gateway Park is south-east. Each of these has miles of fireroad trails and some singletrack, as does Sullivan Ridge and Sullivan Canyon.

There are so many beautiful areas that it's hard to identify the highlights, but here are some of my favorite trails: Musch, Garapito, Eagle Rock, Rogers Road, Los Liones, Santa Ynez Canyon, and the best of all, Rustic Canyon. Mountain bikers who like to jump will appreciate the North Kenter Whoop-de-doos. The many wide fireroads with mostly gentle grades makes this a good area for beginner mountain bikers.

The Backbone Trail winds through Topanga State Park along the Musch Trail, Eagle Springs Fireroad, a section of Temescal Ridge Fireroad and Rogers Road before ending in Will Rogers State Historic Park at the east.

There are a number of access points from the San Fernando Valley in the north, Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica in the south, and from Trippet Ranch off of Topanga Canyon Rd in the west.

There are some trails that head north or south from Dirt Mulholland that have not been included in this map, particularly in Mulholland Gateway Park, because I haven't explored them yet.

Map Key

  Printable map (2.1 MB)

  Aerial View


Looking northward over Topanga State Park and adjacent areas. This view is from Google Earth

Official Websites

Trailheads

a. West end of Dirt Mulholland, near Canoga Ave.  Map and directions
b. South end of Greenbriar Dr. Map and directions
c. South end of Reseda Blvd. Parking on the street - pay parking nearby; free a little further away. Map and directions
d. Reseda Blvd, North end of Caballero Cyn Trail. Free parking on the street. Map and directions
e. On Dirt Mulholland, north end of Upper East Mandeville Fireroad. Free parking in dirt lot or at the side of the road. Map and directions
f. East end of Dirt Mulholland, at Encino Hills Dr. Free parking at side of road. Map and directions
g. Garden Land Rd, Near Mandeville Cyn Rd, at east end of DWP Pole Rd. Map and directions
h. Mandeville Cyn Rd, at west end of Hollyhock Trail. Map and directions
i. Entrada Rd, near Topanga Cyn Rd, at the west end of Dead Horse Trail. There is a fee to park here. Map and directions
j. Trippet Ranch at the top of Entrada Rd. There is a fee to park here. Map and directions
k. North end of Westridge Rd, at the south end of West Mandeville Fireroad. Free parking on the street. Map and directions
l. North end of N. Kenter Ave, at the south end of Lower East Mandeville Fireroad. Map and directions
m. Michael Lane, at the south end of Trailer Cyn Fireroad. Parking on the street. Map and directions
n. Los Liones Dr, at the south end of Los Liones Trail. There is a large, free parking lot here. Map and directions
o. North end of Paseo Miramar, at the south end of East Topanga Fireroad. There is no parking here. Map and directions
p. Temescal Gateway Park at the north end of Temescal Cyn Rd. There is a fee to park here. Map and directions
q. Will Rogers State Historic Park. There is a fee for parking here. Map and directions
r. Queensferry Rd near Bayliss Rd. There is parking on the street about a block away. Map and directions

Geocaches

Trails

[z] Hub Junction

Description: Hub Junction ("The Hub") is where four roads converge: Fire Road 30, Temescal Ridge Trail, Eagle Rock Fireroad and Eagle Springs Fireroad. There is a port-a-pottie here.

[y] Eagle Junction

Description: Eagle Junction is where the west end of Eagle Rock Fireroad and the top of Musch Trail meet Eagle Springs Fireroad.

[1] Dirt Mulholland
[1a] Top of Reseda

Description Most of the roads and trails in this area run generally north-south, aligned with the ridges and canyons. Dirt Mulholland is an exception, running east-west along the north end of the other trails, providing an easy connection between them. This is a dirt road that has occasional vehicular traffic.

The "Top of Reseda" is a very short fireroad (Fireroad Twenty-Nine) that connects the south end of Reseda Blvd with Dirt Mulholland. A singletrack runs alongside the fireroad on the west side. There is lots of parking at the side of Reseda Blvd with a fee to park closest to the trailhead, but downhill of the broad white line on the road, parking is free.

There are a number of trails and dirt roads, particularly near the west end of Dirt Mulholland in Mulholland Gateway Park, that have not been mapped out here.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T1

 Length (miles)

 7.7

Climb (feet)

 It depends where you start and end

Descent (feet)

 Ditto

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 [2] Caballero Canyon

Description The Caballero Canyon Trail is one of the favorite access points to the area from the north. For mountain bikers, it is a quite short but very fun singletrack. Some sections are a bit rocky and most of it is a good climb, so novices and even some intermediate riders will find it to be quite a challenge. The trailhead starts on the east side of Reseda Blvd, a couple of miles south of the 101 Freeway, almost directly across the street from the Braemar Country Club. There is quite a bit of parking on both sides of the street.

The Caballero Canyon Trail is the most popular entrance to this section of trails so there is a lot of traffic on it, both bikers and hikers, so please slow down, be careful and be courteous to other people on the trail! Even though it is a singletrack, it is quite wide along most of its length because of the amount of use it gets.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T4

 Length (miles)

 1.6

Climb (feet)

 600

Descent (feet)

 50

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[3] Upper Bent Arrow (AKA Farmer Trail)

Description This is a 1.0 mile long singletrack that roughly parallels Dirt Mulholland. It is generally quite loose, often very steep and and/or very narrow with a steep cliff on the downhill side and overgrowth on the uphill side. It drops about 350 feet from the east to the west end, the recommended direction for riding. This trail is not recommended for novices bicyclists!

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T4

 Length (miles)

 1.0

Climb (feet)

 50 (east to west)

Descent (feet)

 350

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[4] Bent Arrow

Description This short singletrack trail connects Dirt Mulholland to Fire Road 30 where it comes out almost directly across from the Garapito Trail.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T2.5

 Length (miles)

 0.5

Climb (feet)

 250 (north-east to south-west)

Descent (feet)

 120

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[5] Garapito Trail

Description This vaguely U-shaped trail starts at Fire Road 30 across from the Bent Arrow Trail, heads down a hill with a moderate slope, turns around in a gradual bend to turn uphill, ending on Eagle Rock Fireroad, not far from the top of Cheney Ranch Trail. The trail is very pretty, but underutilized, probably because it is so far from any convenient trailheads. There are some grassy areas, but also a lot of shade from the tall chaparral and a few oak trees. If you can hike the distance to get here, you really should!

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T2.5

 Length (miles)

 2.9

Climb (feet)

 800 (north-east to south-west)

Descent (feet)

 600

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[6] Fire Road 30

Description This fireroad connects Dirt Mulholland, about 0.3 miles west of the Top of Reseda, to the Hub Junction. From there you can continue to Eagle Rock, Eagle Springs, or along the Temescal Ridge Trail to Rogers Road or to Temescal Gateway Park.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T1

 Length (miles)

 2.0

Climb (feet)

 500 (Dirt Mulholland to the Hub)

Descent (feet)

 250

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[7] Eagle Springs Fireroad T1
[7a] Eagle Rock Fireroad (AKA Eagle Springs Fireroad)
T2.5

Description This pair of fire roads head west towards Trippet Ranch from The Hub. Eagle Springs FR starts from The Hub by dropping down to Eagle Springs below Eagle Rock, and then climbing back up again before dropping to Trippet Ranch. Eagle Rock FR starts by climbing from The Hub, passes by Eagle Rock itself, then ends up dropping to join Eagle Springs FR. Eagle Springs FR is kept in good condition for vehicle traffic, hence it's technical rating of T1 , even though parts of it can be a little sandy. On the other hand, Eagle Rock FR is not maintained and has sections which are rutted and rocky, although generally firm and road width. Because of the ruts, it has a technical rating of T2.5 .

Eagle Rock gives you a view of Topanga State Park to the ocean and is well worth visiting (see the banner photo at the top of this page). Most people take the Eagle Rock FR from The Hub for this reason.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating Eagle Springs FR T1 ; Eagle Rock FR T2.5

 Length (miles)

 Eagle Springs: 2.8; Eagle Rock: 1.4

Climb (feet)

 Eagle Springs: 150; Eagle Rock: 200 (West from the Hub Junction)

Descent (feet)

 Eagle Springs: 950; Eagle Rock: 500

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[8] East Topanga Fireroad

Description This fireroad connects Trippet Ranch at the north end with Paseo Miramar in Pacific Palisades at the south, and provides access to Parker Mesa Overlook from both. For mountain bikers and trail runners, this road will give you a surprising workout because of the amount of climbing it has, even between Trippet Ranch and Parker Mesa Overlook Trail.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T1

 Length (miles)

 4.7 total; 2.6 from Trippet to PMOT*; 2.1 from Vista Pacifica to PMOT*

Climb (feet)

 600 from Trippet to PMOT*; 950 from Vista Pacifica to PMOT*

Descent (feet)

 450 from Trippet to PMOT*; 100 from Vista Pacifica to PMOT*

*PMOT = Parker Mesa Overlook Trail

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[9] Parker Mesa Overlook Trail

Description Parker Mesa Overlook is a very popular destination because of the view it provides of the Malibu coastline down below. There are benches where you can sit and have lunch, or just enjoy the view. This short trail gets you there from the East Topanga Fireroad.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T1

 Length (miles)

 0.5

Climb (feet)

 100 (north to south)

Descent (feet)

 65

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[10] Temescal Ridge Trail

Description This fireroad and trail connects The Hub to Temescal Gateway Park at the south end. Being a ridgeline trail, there are many spots with great views down into Santa Monica to the south-east and Pacific Palisades to the south-west. From The Hub, it is a true fireroad south to Trailer Canyon FR. From there to the access spur to Calle Deborah, it is narrower, but still wide enough for vehicles to drive. From there to the south end, it is a broad singletrack. The tread is generally firm, and over the fireroad sections is pretty smooth, T1 ; the section between the Leacock Memorial Trail and Temescal Canyon Trail is the steepest and probably the most rocky and rutted - T3.5 . Other than these sections, it is about T2.5  overall. When travelling south, there isn't much shade until you reach the Leacock Memorial Trail; below that the amount of shade increases as you descend.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T1 to T3.5

 Length (miles)

 5.7 from Hub Junction to Temescal Gateway Park trailhead

Climb (feet)

 200

Descent (feet)

 1800

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[11] Trailer Canyon Fireroad

Description This broad fireroad climbs from Michael Lane in Pacific Palisades to Temescal Ridge FR/Trail. The climb is moderate enough that it is popular with mountain bikers as well as hikers. The tread is mostly smooth and firm but there are some short sections with small ruts and rocks. It provides good views down to Pacific Palisades and up to East Topanga Ridge.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T1.5

 Length (miles)

 2.3

Climb (feet)

 1000

Descent (feet)

 zero

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[12] Rogers Road

Description This lovely singletrack trail leads from Temescal Ridge Fireroad at the top (not far from The Hub) down to Will Rogers State Historic Park. It is very popular and people attack it from both ends. From Will Rogers State Historic Park, it is just under a mile from parking to the bottom of the trail along the Inspiration Point Loop Trail. To the top, the closest trailhead is Top of Reseda, about 3.3 miles alway. It is slighly further to Trippet Ranch, and 3.7 miles to the bottom of the Trailer Canyon Fireroad. These are signifcant distances for hikers, but not for mountain bikers.

The trail is considered to be the best biking trail in the Santa Monica Mountains by a lot of people, and for good reason. A lot of it is smooth, but there are long sections that are a little rocky and a little rutted - just enough to add a bit of a challenge, or to bump up the fun factor, depending on your level of skill.

Along the trail, there are spots that have great views of the Santa Monica coastline or downtown Santa Monica with downtown LA in the distance. One significant landmark is the Lone Oak a little more than halfway down. The Lone Oak is one of the few places to find shade on a hot day and provides a convenient spot for having a snack. The trail is a little steeper downhill of the tree, so this is also a natural point to turn around for mountain bikers. You can see the new Getty Museum from there.

Just uphill of the Lone Oak is a section that often is overgrown, with poison oak impinging on the trail. Be careful through there!

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T4

 Length (miles)

 6.0

Climb (feet)

 500 (approximately, from the top)

Descent (feet)

 1800

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[13] Sullivan Fireroad T1 and Firebreak Trail T3.5 (AKA Sullivan Ridge)
[13a] Rustic Ridge Trail

Description This fireroad connects to Dirt Mulholland at the north with Pacific Palisades in the south. The sections shown here are dirt, but it continues south in Palisades as a paved road until San Onofre Dr. The fireroad is generally steeper than the nearby Sullivan Canyon and Westridge Fireroads, so is not as popular for mountain bikers. However, a singletrack trail runs through the ridgeline fuel break, and that singletrack is steeper (both up and down) and rockier than the fireroad. Every few years the fuel break is graded, wiping out the singletrack. It redevelops eventually, but not always along exactly the same route. Because of the fluidity of the singletrack, it is shown on the map but the GPS track and profile are not provided. Intermediate and advanced mountain bikers will find it a lot more fun to ride down than the fireroad. Also, it has better views, being closer to the ridgeline.

The Rustic Ridge Trail singletrack begins shortly south of the vehicle gate across the fireroad, where it becomes pavement. The singletrack is about 2/3 of a mile long and overlooks Rustic Canyon. It provides a very pleasant hike or ride and is rated T2 .

A Goat Track leads from the paved portion of Sullivan Fireroad, about 0.2 miles south of the vehicle gate, down to Sullivan Canyon Fireroad. This provides a convenient way to make a loop out of Sullivan Ridge and Sullivan Canyon.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating Sullivan Fireroad T1 ; Firebreak Trail T3.5

 Length (miles)

 3.5 (Sullivan Fireroad); 0.7 (Rustic Ridge Trail)

Climb (feet)

 900 (Sullivan Fireroad); 40 (Rustic Ridge Trail)

Descent (feet)

 zero (Sullivan Fireroad); 100 (Rustic Ridge Trail)

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 


Sullivan Canyon in the autumn

[14] Sullivan Canyon Fireroad and Sullivan Goat Track

Description It is a beautiful trip up Sullivan Canyon, shaded by the trees and with many stream crossings. Most of the year there is a small amount of water in the stream. This is a utility road and every few years the utility company grades it, but after the first few winter rains, it reverts to a single- or double-track, it's usual state. From the bottom, the trail climbs gently and almost impreceptibly until about a mile before the end where it becomes quite a bit steeper. At this point the road starts climbing the north end of the canyon, where it becomes extremely hot in warm weather because is faces the sun to the south. Less experienced riders will probably walk the last half mile up to Sullivan Ridge Fire Road. Despite the shade in the canyon itself, this climb out at the north end should be avoided during the hottest three months of the year.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T1 to T2.5 , depending on how long it's been since the road was graded

 Length (miles)

 4.2

Climb (feet)

 70

Descent (feet)

 1100

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[14a] Sullivan Goat Track

Description The Goat Track descends 250' from the paved section of Sullivan Fireroad to Sullivan Canyon Fireroad. It starts between the top and bottom of Rustic Ridge Trail and is very steep and rutted, but is just 0.2 miles long. We use it to complete a loop between Sullivan Fireroad and Sullivan Canyon Fireroad.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T4 (Steep, rutted and loose)

 Length (miles)

 0.2

Climb (feet)

 zero (from Sullivan Fireroad to Sullivan Canyon Fireroad)

Descent (feet)

 250

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 [15] West Mandeville Fireroad and Firebreak Trail (AKA Westridge Trail)

Description We generally refer to this as the Westridge Fire Road but the correct name is the West Mandeville Fire Road. Similar to Sullivan Fireroad, this fire road connects to Dirt Mulholland at the north with Los Angeles in the south where it runs into the paved Westridge Rd. There are two trails down the ridge - the fire road and a single track that runs mostly parallel but crosses it from time to time. The singletrack is quite a bit steeper in some places compared to the fire road, and has some sections of loose and rutted dirt. It also has some very steep climbs. The profile below shows the fire road. As with Sullivan Ridge, the singletrack goes along a fuel break which is graded every few years, destroying the singletrack. However, in a few months it is back, but probably in a slightly different location.

A few hundred yards from Dirt Mulholland at the top is an old Nike Missle tower. There are bathrooms and water fountains here. A few hundred yards downhill from the Nike site, the first singletrack starts on the left. The last descent on the single track is basically a dirt face that almost every mountain biker scrambles down, so once you learn where it is, you can skip the last section of the single track and stay on the fire road to the bottom. The pavement and Westridge Rd starts on the other side of the gate. To get to Sullivan Canyon and make a loop route, go down Westridge and turn right onto Bayliss Rd. Bayliss curves around to the left and then you make a very sharp right onto Queensferry Rd. Follow it to the end to get to the Sullivan Canyon Trail.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating West Mandeville Fireroad T1 ; Firebreak Trail T3.5

 Length (miles)

 3.7

Climb (feet)

 350

Descent (feet)

 1000

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[16] DWP Pole Road

Description This dirt road climbs from Mandeville Canyon to the West Mandeville Fireroad. It makes a good connection back to the ridge when having descended the Hollyhock Trail, or vice versa.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T1

 Length (miles)

 1.4

Climb (feet)

 500

Descent (feet)

 50

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[17a] Upper East Mandeville Fireroad and Firebreak Trail
[17b] Lower East Mandeville Fireroad
[18] Canyonback Road

Description The East Mandeville Fireroad travels from Dirt Mulholland to North Kenter Avenue in LA. In the middle is a paved section, Canyonback Road, that goes through a nice neighborhood. Like Sullivan Ridge and West Mandeville Fireroad, there are some fuel break singletracks, but not nearly as extensive as on those other roads.

The biggest attraction of the East Mandeville Fireroad, at least for mountain bikers, is that it provides access to the North Kenter Whoops Trail from Dirt Mulholland.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T1 (Fireroad)

 Length (miles)

 3.6

Climb (feet)

 400 (Dirt Mulholland to North Kenter)

Descent (feet)

 850

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[19] Hollyhock Trail

Description This is an old paved road that had been abandoned and has narrowed down to a singletrack for most of its length, although there are occasional spots where the old pavement is visible. The trail connects East Mandeville Fireroad with Mandeville Canyon. For mountain bikers, this is a fun ride down and the DWP Pole Road makes a convenient ride back up to the ridge.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T2

 Length (miles)

 0.75

Climb (feet)

 20

Descent (feet)

 450

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[20] North Kenter Whoops

Description This trail is heaven for mountain and BMX bikers who like to jump, or to for anyone who likes to watch them! The photo at right shows a few of the many jumps that have been built on this trail. For the less adventurous, there is ample room to go around the jumps. The trail is not steep and is easy to ride in either direction.

The best explantion of what this trail is like is to watch this video.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T2

 Length (miles)

 0.9

Climb (feet)

 50

Descent (feet)

 280

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 [21] Los Liones Trail

Description This is a very pretty and popular trail with ample free parking at the bottom. It climbs gently for 1.3 miles, ending near the bottom (south end) of the East Topanga Fireroad. It is heavily shaded by tall chaparral with lots of green to the point of being lush. The tread is mostly firm and smooth but there are occasional rocky spots.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T2 HO

 Length (miles)

 1.3

Climb (feet)

 620

Descent (feet)

 100

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[22] Bay Tree Trail

Description This pretty trail descends from near the start of Rogers Road to Rustic Canyon. The trail is not officially maintained, so you may find it overgrown or clear. If it's reasonably clear, it's well worth the hike down to Rustic Canyon. It's very pretty and, towards the bottom, very very shaded. On different occasions, the trail has been blocked by poison oak, or completely clear of it. Just keep an eye out for it.

The trail through rustic canyon is not clear, so consider this an out-and-back hike.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T2 HO

 Length (miles)

 1.4

Climb (feet)

 zero

Descent (feet)

 800

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

This page was last updated October 22, 2012

 

Thanks for looking at Steve's guide to trails in Ventura County, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) and other locations.