Summary: This is a very popular hiking spot with great views of the ocean on clear days, a seasonal waterfall, and a densely wooded canyon. The loop starts out on Temescal Ridge Trail, climbing almost 1,000 feet in the first mile. At the intersection with Temescal Canyon Trail, you can either take a half mile side trip to Skull Rock (staying on the ridge trail) or head down into the deep Temescal Canyon. At the bottom of the canyon, you will cross a bridge with a lovely waterfall. If you are careful, you can do some rock scrambling upstream to see some additional small waterfalls. After crossing the bridge, the trail drops through the canyon at a mild pace, through a pleasantly dense wooded area.
If you skipped the ridge trail, and just walked up the canyon and back, this would be a great easy 2 mile family hike. Note that my rating of this hike was a bit low compared to other guide books.
Trailhead: From Santa Monica, drive north on Pacific Coast Highway (1) for 2.6 mile to Temescal Canyon Road and turn right. Drive to the end of Temescal Canyon Road and park at the entrance to the Presbyterian Conference Center. The trial head is at the far end of the parking lot on the left. (Lat:34.05312 Lon:-118.5286)
Trail Guides for Temescal Canyon Loop:
Day Hikes Around Los Angeles
by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books, Inc.)
Afoot & Afield In Los Angeles
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown (Foghorn Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers
Ranger Contact: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (310) 589-3200
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 17 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Samantha on 9/29/2012
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Reviewed by Kcs on 4/20/2012
We looped from the right and started off on a lovely shaded somewhat rocky trail. Coming down on the left required constant attention because of the steep terrain and loose rocks but the view was worth it. Definitely would do the hike again even though I was disappointed that the waterfall was just a trickle!!!
Reviewed by JLF on 4/19/2012
Great hike...crowded at times. Best to go earlier in the day. Please keep your dogs at home. Some people don't read the signs! Have to keep your eyes on the trail when you're going downhill...some rocks and narrow crevice from rain runoff.
Reviewed by Hatter on 4/2/2011
Nice hike, We took TCT and some other smaller trails that where around to the waterfalls. The waterfalls where nice, and the steam was flowing nicely. Good for first time hikers or people who don't mind an over crowded trail....
Reviewed by Christopher on 1/7/2011
Nice hike with options to do more up/down elevation trails or to limit the amount of elevation gain. In the area you can see the very nice "falls", with the very dense vegetation nearby. This brings up one caveat: wear a hat. The branches are low in lots of spots on the trail and you will likely get stuff in your hair or, if you are "hair challenged" like me, you will get a scratch on your scalp! Generally beautiful views of the ocean and nearby Santa Monica and Century City if you go up the Trailer Cyn trail up to "Skull Rock".
Reviewed by Kate on 12/29/2010
12/24/2010 With all the rain the creek was running full and the waterfall was terrific. There are a couple of places where you have to cross the creek so make sure you have waterproof boots. The trail is in really good condition considering but careful of loose rocks, particularly on the way back down the waterfall trail.
Reviewed by Diane on 11/27/2010
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Reviewed by Richard on 10/4/2010
Just an FYI: There is also a $7.00 parking fee and there are no dogs allowed on this trail.
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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