Posts tagged hike
Inspiration Point - Pacific Palisades, CA

I’m going to admit something that’s a little embarrassing not only as a local hiker but also a 6-year strong Angeleno - I had never been to Will Rogers State Historic park until I finally decided to conquer the hike to Inspiration Point. The park is rich with history plus a polo field, a ranch house, and a beautiful picnic area. Oh, and did I mention the lovely 2.5-mile loop hike to Inspiration Point? It’s a great place to spend an entire day.

I will say, the one downfall of this area is the steep price you have to pay for parking! The fee is $12, so if you are going check this area out, it’s definitely worth it to pack a picnic and spend some time there.

From the parking lot just beyond the park entrance, you’ll find the trailhead meandering up the hillside just to the left of the fenced in tennis courts. The single track here switches back and forth for a short tenth of a mile before you come to a service road, which is the Inspiration Point Loop Trail. Across the way, there is a single track that continues to wind it’s way up, while the service road gradually makes its way up the mountainside with views of the Santa Monica bay. If you choose to take the single track, it will cut your distance and time in half. Otherwise, continue along the service road.


As you make your way to the left, you’ll find two benches along the road, offering beautiful vistas of the surrounding area. One looks south over the polo field and Santa Monica. The other rests at the western end of the loop and has a great view of the Pacific Ocean.

Follow a bend in the trail to the northeast. Just past the top of the aforementioned single track, you will come to another split with a trail breaking off to the right. You’ll see arrows and signs for Inspiration Point in both directions! You have two options. You can take the road another quarter mile up Inspiration Point Loop Trail to the overlook, or you can turn down this single track, which crosses a chaparral-covered depression to reach the point after 0.4 miles. We took the single track, which was a fun little detour. Both routes lead to your destination of Inspiration Point. 

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If you followed the road, you’ll get more lovely views of the taller mountains off to the north until you eventually come to a split. Take a right up along a spur trail that wraps around a short rise to reach Inspiration Point.

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To the southwest, you’ll find an amazing view as the Pacific Ocean curls it’s way around Santa Monica Bay. To the north, you’ll find wonderful views as well. Looking out to the Santa Monica Mountains you’ll find the 2,126 ft. high Temescal Peak.

To close the trail loop, head back down to the trail split. A couple hundred feet to the north is a trail map. The Backbone Trail (which is roughly 65miles long and crosses the Santa Monica mountains all the way to Point Mugu) breaks off to the left, while the descent from Inspiration Point continues on to the right. Hike straight through a junction with a service road heading down to Will Rogers Ranch and continue to the eastern edge of the loop. Along the way you’ll spot mansions at the top of Sullivan Ridge to the east as you make your way to a line of eucalyptus bordering the trail.

This is one of the only shaded areas along the loop, which provides a charming canopy for the remainder of the hike. Continue another 0.4 miles down the hillside to the bottom of the trail. Here, you can take a peek around the ranch or say hello to the horses! You’ll pick the trail back up as it runs next to a large green lawn. This is the perfect place for a picnic or to enjoy a good book under the sun. Follow the trail along the top of the field and behind the Will Rogers House to complete the loop and return to the parking lot.

Note: Dogs are not allowed on the park trails, however, you may have your leashed pups on the lawn.

As mentioned before, there is a $12 fee for parking. You can also find (limited) free roadside parking outside of the main entrance. 

How to get there: Follow Sunset Boulevard to Will Rogers State Park Road, located 4.5 miles west of the 405 and 3 miles east of the PCH. At the traffic light, turn north on Will Rogers State Park Road. Go about 3/4 of a mile up the mountainside to the park entrance. Pull past the gate and park in the lot on the left.

Address: 1501 Will Rogers State Park Road, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Escondido Falls - Malibu, CA

This rainy weather we're experiencing in Southern California right now has inspired me to FINALLY get my post up about our hike to Escondido Falls. I can only imagine after a long weekend of steady rainfall the waterfalls will sure to be flowing!

The hike to Escondido Falls is about 4 miles of fairly easy terrain. The waterfall has three tiers. The lower tier is about 50 feet high and the easiest of the three to reach. The upper tier, which you can imagine is more difficult to reach, is around 150-feet tall. From what I hear, it's incredibly stunning when the water is flowing in full force. Unfortunately, the day we made our journey was after a few weeks of dry weather, so we didn't attempt to climb to the upper falls.

The hike begins with 0.75 miles uphill along Winding Way, a paved road, just off the PCH that is lined with incredible homes Spanish and Mid-century modern style homes. Quite honestly, this was the toughest climb (and least exciting) of the day. Don't let this small part of your trip scare you off - you'll reach the trail in no time and the waterfall, even at low-flow, is well worth it. You'll gain about 200 feet on this paved climb, then the road will begin to head downhill and drop you at a wooded public park entrance.

The dirt path just past the park sign will take you down through a field of fennel and mustard and on into the woods where a small creek flows. Cross over the creek, and make a left turn headed upstream into the canyon. From here on out the trail is fairly level as it wanders through the forest and field. Thanks to our Spring season timing, we were lucky enough to enjoy a trail lined with beautiful wildflowers along the way. You will need to cross the creek bed a few more times, which I'm sure is a bit more daunting after a good rain, but it should still be easy enough terrain for anyone to navigate. 

What I loved most about this hike were all the serene little pockets along the trail you could sneak off to grab a snack or just sit and listen to the creek flow. We popped off the trail to sit by a tiny little waterfall amidst the creek to snacked on some Three Jerk's Jerky and just take it all in.

After you've been on the dirt trail for about a mile the trail will begin to ascend about 150 feet from a low spot below the road and then you will arrive at Lower Escondido Falls! The beauty of these falls without much water is simply stunning, I can only imagine what it is like on a real flowing day. There are lots of large rocks at the base of the falls where you can set up, take it all in or enjoy a little picnic. Some people complain of a natural sulfuric smell, but that isn't something we noticed. For us, the lower tier of the falls was a far as our journey took us.

There were many other hikers setting off to explore the upper falls. There is a steep trail to the right of the falls lined with tree roots and ropes to help guide your way. If you choose to go this route, make sure you have the proper footwear and attire and hike at your own risk! 

When you're done relaxing by the falls, simply follow the trail back the way you came!

How to get there: Take the PCH to Winding Way in Malibu. Winding Way is a small street about 4.5 miles west of Malibu Canyon Road on the north side of the PCH. There is a free parking lot for the trail on the left at the bottom of Winding Way. Overflow parking can be found along the PCH.

Address: 27807 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Eaton Canyon Falls - Pasadena, CA

Eaton Canyon is nestled in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains, just hop, skip and a jump from Los Angeles, on the north-eastern side of Pasadena and Altadena. There are a number of hiking trails meandering there way through these hills, but the one I particularly want to feature in this post is the trail that leads to Eaton Canyon Falls. 

The magnificent forty-foot falls lie at the top of Eaton Canyon Trail, cascading into a beautiful, vast pool below. In the summertime, while it can be extremely busy, I can imagine this pool would be incredibly refreshing to wade or lie in - you could even pack a picnic and relax amongst the large boulders scattered throughout. The trail to Eaton Canyon Falls is fairly straight forward and can be easily be summed up through about 1 miles of wide flat dirt trail, followed by 0.65 miles of single track, rocky creek bed that makes it's way up the slender canyon that is a whole lot of fun to navigate. In total, this trail is about 3.5 - 4 miles (depending how much exploring you do) out and back with a slight elevation gain of about 580 feet (again this depends on your exploration). 

The hike begins at the Eaton Canyon Nature Center which is situated inside the gates amongst the parking lot. Between the picnic areas, nature center and flat terrain this specific location is a hot spot for dog walkers, baby strollers and families with young children. If you are in search of a serene, quiet experience in nature, I definitely recommend exploring this area on a weekday as opposed to a weekend. We went on a cooler, overcast day in February and still there was rarely a moment that we were alone on the trail or at the falls.

There is a large sign marking the start of the trail, you can't miss it! Follow the trail along a usually dry creek bed, Eaton Wash. You'll find yourself amongst a few shaded areas and some little tree hideouts as you make your way up the trail.

The trail crosses over Eaton Wash after about 0.2 miles into your hike. At this point you will make a left, heading northwest under a canopy of trees. Around 0.55 miles in from your start, you will find yourself at a junction with the Horse Trail (you will notice signs). Continue to the left to stay on the Eaton Canyon Trail. 

At just about the 1.1 mile mark in your hike, you will reach another junction which is just in sight of a concrete bridge up ahead in the distance. Here, head left again following an arrow for the waterfall, and pass below the bridge to enter the San Gabriel Mountains.

Passing under the bridge turns your hike into a whole different experience. Suddenly you will be traversing much more rugged terrain, boulder hopping, and creek crossing as you make your way through the dense canyon. While this section is quite fun, it can also be unassumingly dangerous - make sure you watch your footing and keep an eye out for falling rocks from above the steep walls of the canyon. Eaton Canyon is infamous for it's helicopter rescues due to careless hiking.

After just about 0.6 miles you will find yourself coming upon the falls. You might have to do a bit of scrambling to get up close, but the views are certainly worth it! If you're lucky you might get a moment to yourself at the falls. We were not so lucky, but still happy to be face to face with a flowing waterfall. It's a rare sight these days due to the common droughts, but thankfully, these last few weeks we've had some decent rainfall.

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While the heavy traffic can be daunting, it's a must see trail nonetheless. With it's close proximity to the city, large parking area, easy to navigate trails and a rewarding ending, you really have no reason NOT to check this trail out!

When you're done taking in the views, simply head back the way you came!

How to get there: Take the Altadena exit off the 210 Freeway in Pasadena. Head north on Altadena Drive. The Eaton Canyon Nature Area is a couple miles up the road on the right. Pull into the park past the gates, and leave your vehicle in the lot by the nature center. WARNING: The parking lot gate closes at 5pm (a little early if you ask me!) so if you plan on hiking past 5pm, make sure you park your car on the outside street and use the trails to get inside.

Address: 1750 North Altadena Drive, Pasadena, CA 91107

Glendale Peak - Griffith Park, Los Angeles, Ca

Between the holidays, a trip to Mexico, an unforgiving work schedule and my current state of sickness I haven't had a whole lot of time to dedicate to hikeology. Thankfully, we are in the middle of a much needed long weekend which finally gives me the opportunity to finally catch up!

To kick off the end of this dry spell, I want to share a wonderful moderate 3.5 mile out and back hike through Griffith Park up to Glendale Peak. I love this trail because it's easily accessible, offers some spectacular views and is low on foot traffic compared to a lot of the other hikes through Griffith Park. 

The trailhead begins on a fire road just opposite Greek Theatre on Vermont Canyon Road. Parking is easy to find as there are many spots lining the right side of the street right in front of the trail. You will jump right into a noticeable incline, but after about 0.2 miles the trail plateaus where you will gain great views of downtown LA to the south and the Greek Theater just below you. Being a regular patron to the Greek Theater, I really enjoy this different vantage point where you get the chance to look out over the little amphitheater tucked away in the trees.  

From here you will continue to follow the fire road until you descend upon a three way junction. To your right, there is a firewood that delves deeper into the canyon and to your right, another trail that leads you past the golf course and tennis court. Ignore these trails on either side of you can continue straight to the trail that quickly ascends up the side of the mountain.

You will follow this fire road until you reach the 1.3 mile point in your hike. Here you will find the trail intersecting with Vista de Valle Drive which is a paved road. You will also notice a green building on your left hand side, make a hard left at the building and continue your climb along the fire road.

As you make your way up the fire road your views of the Griffith Park Observatory will begin to open up and soon you will find yourself upon a small wooden footbridge to your left and a little blue sign (that has unfortunately been graffitied) to your right. 

While the footbridge is intriguing, ignore that (for now - it's a great place for photos when you're doubling back down) and follow the inconspicuous Henry's Trail to your right. This trail is dedicated to Henry Shamma, who was a Sierra Club member and avid writer who spent many years leading hikes up to Glendale Peak and tirelessly maintaining other trails throughout Griffith Park.

You will immediately notice a difference in the terrain. This single trail trail is a bit more rugged than the rest of your hike, but it doesn't last very long so don't be dissuaded by the awkwardly eroding staircase before you. 

While you continue to follow the single track trail to the top of Glendale Peak you will find the views only continue to get better and better. Once at the peak, you will have access to full 360º views spanning from downtown LA, to the Pacific, the San Grabriels and the Valley below.

I found this spot to be incredibly calming. With the lack of foot traffic, you're likely to have the views to yourself, which is a rare thing in Griffith Park. We sat for a long while up there in silence, simply enjoying the scenery and the serenity of it all. Once you're done taking it all in, simply follow the trail back the way you came.

How to get there: Head north on Vermont Avenue into Griffith Park. As you continue north through the park you will pass the Greek Theater on your left and notice parking along the right side. The trailhead will be on the east side of Vermont just past the theater.

Address2715 N Vermont Canyon Rd, Los Angeles, CA 90027

Zuma Ridge Trail - Malibu, CA
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Zuma Ridge Trail or the Zuma Ridge Motorway is a fairly wide dirt service road that meanders it's way up the western ridge of Zuma Canyon. This easy to follow trail is roughly 5.7 miles out and back and as you continue to climb the views open up looking out over Point Dume, Zuma Beach and Malibu High School.

From the small parking lot head north-west to the Zuma Ridge Trailhead (there is a large sign - you can't miss it). 

The trail is incredibly easy to follow, you will simply follow the dirt service road, ignoring any smaller off shoot trails. If you're hiking on a weekend, don't be surprised if you hear some cheering from down below - it's most likely a sporting event at Malibu High School. You also might have the pleasure of passing by some friendly horseback riding groups.

Around 2.75 miles into your hike you will come to a junction - take the trail that ascends to the right (north-east). This is the last push to the top where you will find yourself with some spectacular views out over Zuma Canyon and the Pacific Ocean. 

If you're feeling especially adventurous you can follow Zuma Edison Rd. trail to Kanan Edison Rd and then on to Ocean View Trail to greatly extend your mileage - if not, simply turn back and came back the way you came. Doubling back will leave you with a solid 5.7 mile hike - which, on a hot day with little coverage from the sun was enough for me!

How to get there: Take the PCH out to Malibu and make a right on Busch Drive (a mile west of Kanan Dune Road and just before Zuma Beach). Head north on Busch Drive, stay right at the second intersection in order to remain on Busch Drive. You will dead end at the dirt parking lot at the end of the road.

Address: Zuma Ridge Motorway & Busch Drive, Malibu, CA 90265