Summary: This hike has an amazing variety of sites and smells including strange geologic formations, frothy streambeds, tar pits and many different plant communities. The Tataviam Indians used the naturally occurring asphalt for healing purposes and to seal their basketry. At about the 0.9 mile you will encounter a slot like canyon called the Narrows which contains layers of nearly vertical rock formations. After the passage through the narrows stay left, then after another 200 yards stay left again and climb the switchbacks to the left that is called the Towsley Canyon Loop Trail. Topping out at 2450 feet, the trail begins a steep winding descent and includes breathtaking views of lush hillsides and canyons as it heads into Wiley Canyon. Joining a dirt road turn left and head down the canyon. After almost a mile of hiking take the Canyon View Loop Trail to the left which traverses over a summit and takes you back down to Ed Davis Park by the ranger station.
Trailhead: Take the Calgrove exit from the Golden State Freeway (Interstate 5). Turn west back under the freeway and take the Old Road south to Ed Davis Park at Towsley Canyon. Drive 0.6 mile west on the graded entrance road to reach the picnic area and nature center. Park your car in the dirt lot to the right and then proceed up the graded road towards the floodplain of Towsley Canyon. (Lat:34.35685 Lon:-118.55792)
Trail Guides for Towsley Canyon View Loop Trail:
Afoot and Afield in Los Angeles
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers, Bikes,
Ranger Contact: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (805) 370-2301
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Eric Altizer, who has posted 13 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 9 Submit your own review
Reviewed by NLG on 2/4/2013
Correction pls. In the review I posted recently, I said we climbed the trail counterclockwise when I really meant clockwise.
Reviewed by NLG on 2/4/2013
I hiked this trail for the first time Feb 2nd with my son, an ex-marine. We unintentionally did it counter-clockwise which turned out to be the harder approach because it was a continuous ascent most of the way to the top. It was well-worth as it gave my 64-yr old ticker a good cardio workout. We did the loop in about 1 hr,40 mins. I will definitely be back and will still do it the hard way - counterclockwise. Oh and the scenery makes the hike very interesting.
Reviewed by MPS on 6/17/2012
I've been doing this hike a lot lately (counter clockwise). Its a good workout for local SCV hikers. Its about a 5.5 miles loop car to car with about a 1100 foot climb. I do it in 2 hours with rests along the way. The first 2 miles are fairly flat (only a 200 foot climb). Then it climbs steeply another 900 feet maxing altitude at about the 3.25 mile point. There are several shady spots here to get a breather. Then it drops steeply down to a bench (which is a good rest stop) and then a moderate descent to the end. There is almost no shade between the top of the hike and the bench which is why its easier to go counter clockwise.
Reviewed by Kris on 5/3/2012
Townsley is beautiful nice trail a few different ways to go easy and a little more intense. we walked it today about 5pm super nice day and we saw a huge bear footprint down by the stream bed. so beware, there are bears up there. Great hike been many times. 5/3/12
Reviewed by Jeff on 4/23/2012
This is a nice hike best done in the spring when the temperature is still cool, the grass is green, and the wildflowers are out. One word of caution: If you have a dog, beware of the tar seepage that crosses the trail about 3/4 of the way through the hike (assuming you do the loop clockwise). If your dog steps in the tar, you may have a major dog and car upholstery cleaning job when you get home!!! Suggestion: carry the dog across this spot. If the dog is too heavy, plastic grocery bags around each leg or finding a path around the seepage might work.
Reviewed by SRF on 3/9/2012
Was only able to spend a few minutes, but I could soon tell that it's a promising place for a nature walk (although don't go here to get away from people). Seems popular for biles too. It's a dry sunny breezy day. The winter has been very very dry yet the creek still has a trickle. Lots of the usual weeds at the trailhead (mustard, brome, milkweed), but there is ongoing restoration work. Was surprised by how many cottonwood trees were here, with what looks like healthy regeneration. Many birds, including turkey vulture, redtailed hawk, redwing blackbird, mountain chickadee, bushtit, California and Spotted Towhees.
Reviewed by RK on 7/2/2011
Hiked today at 5:30 AM, thinking I will have it all for myself. Oh boy, was I wrong. Lot of people today, guess they must have been here to kick start the july 4th long weekend. Love the counter clock better than the clockwise because of the steady increase in incline.. Great view's and the green shrubs are still there. Think there won't be much green left after another month of summer heat. Finished it in 1.40 hours, got out just before the heat started.
Reviewed by jesse on 6/28/2011
Hiked this trail (counter clockwise) which took me two hours due to the steep 2 mile climb and tired me out. Great for biking though, counter clockwise of course. Will do again but avoid summertime. Too hot.
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