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 2 of 17 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Richard on 10/4/2010
This is a very nice hike. I'm new to hiking and wanted a step up from the easy hikes. This was the one that kicked my butt a little. My girlfriend and I did this on a Sunday so it was a bit crowded in some spots and the trail is pretty narrow. I'm glad we took this hike and look forward to doing it again.
Reviewed by Randy on 10/3/2010
I loved this trail. Running it was about the only thing that kept me sane when I was living in Santa Monica. As an Alaskan in LA, I really needed this little escape from the city. I haven't been down south in 10 years, but will run it for old times sakes next time I'm in LA.
Reviewed by Chris on 9/29/2010
I take school groups on this hike, so watch out for huge groups of 25 to 50 kids on the trail. It is one of the best places to introduce kids to trail hiking. The trail is 100% suitable for first time hikers. It's easy and well maintained. The location is hardly remote being right on Sunset Bl. and across the street from a large public High School but it seems remote once you are there. It changes from urban to primitive quickly. About dogs. I have seen owners being written up and ticketed. It is an expensive gamble to take a dog, Lots of people get away with it but many don't.
Reviewed by Artieb on 8/28/2010
A great hike to get in shape for any mountain or hiking adventure for people who live in the area. Will not help that much with altitude but with a pack and boots will definitely get you into climbing shape. Do the loop back and forth to the car on Sunset, (that adds a flat mile) in 1hr 45 minutes and you feel it.
Reviewed by Asia on 8/15/2010
This is a crowded park, but the trail is a good workout. I hike here too much! Oh, some nice pictures on this site, got me into it... www.hikespeak.com/trails/temescal-canyon/
Reviewed by Robbie on 5/15/2010
Pretty fun and easy trail, the first part is all up hill, some nice views. The waterfall isn't much of a waterfall, but it's still a nice little resting point. Went Saturday morning at about 10AM, lots and lots of people, and I saw some dogs too, so I don't think they really enforce that rule. Finished in about an hour and 30 mins, quicker than I initially thought it would take. Anyways, good hike for beginners and people who just want to see some great scenery.
Reviewed by Jennifer on 4/29/2010
NO DOGS ALLOWED!! I arrived excited to hike with my dog, and had already paid to park my car. When you get to the start of the trail, you see many signs that say no dogs are allowed on any of the trails, only in the picnic area (near parking lot) and that if you're caught with a dog you will be fined. Very disappointing. Had to leave and find another hiking spot.
Reviewed by Zuma on 4/13/2010
This was a great hike. I did not rate it 5 stars because I have not hiked many trails. Hiking to the top the views are great. Amazing I have lived here my whole life and never explored this area. I hiked on early Wednesday morning and there were a few people out so I could see how this trail could get very busy on the weekend. Answering Scott's question it is $7.00 to park.
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