Summary: An adventurous loop hike on poorly marked trails through one of the most rugged areas of the Santa Monica Mountains. The hike starts out south along a densely wooded creek running into Rustic Canyon, that is quite lovely after recent rains. A side trip will take you to the blue gorge, a 6 foot wide, 20 foot high slot cut into the granite by the stream. Our loop then heads west along Bay Tree trail, named after a Bay tree with a small spring bubbling out of its roots.
As the trail begins to move northwest, stop and have lunch at Cathedral Rock, near the junction of the Backbone and Temescal trails. A fun spot to climb on the rocks. The trail then double backs northeast along the Garaptio trail back to the car, with lovely mountain views along the way.
Take a compass, a good map, and the directions from the guide book referenced for this hike. It's a full day outing, so bring water and food. Thanks to Eric Altizer for showing me this great hike!
Trailhead: From the San Fernando Valley, take Reseda Blvd south to where it dead ends into Mulholland Drive. Walk a short distance up Reseda Blvd, then turn left on Mulholland. About a half mile up Mulholland, go a few hundred feet past the trail head to Timescale Ridge Trail, and bear right on a trail paralleling Mulholland. A short distance along this trail, you will see an unmarked, but distinct trail on your right dropping down into Rustic Canyon. This is the start of the adventure! (Lat:34.12914 Lon:-118.55326)
Trail Guides for Upper Rustic - Garapito Loop:
Afoot & Afield In Los Angeles
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Topanga State Park 310 455 2465
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by JLE on 4/6/2012
I did a 10-mile loop today commencing from Trippet Ranch, Topanga State Park, starting off on single track Musch Trail to Eagle Rock, connecting with the Garapito Canyon Trail which connected to the Temescal Fire Road and then back to Trippet Ranch. A gorgeous spring day with compelling views to the ocean! I couldn't believe how green all the meadows were even with 1/3 the normal rainfall this winter. Ceanothus, purple night shade, larkspur, sticky monkey flower and many other plants/shrubs in bloom. Single track trails in great shape. I'm going to return to mountain bike the fire roads as they are in terrific shape as well.
Reviewed by Dean on 12/31/2011
Did the loop today but started on the Temescal side and came up the Upper Rustic trail to Mulholland. I took the old trail down to Bay Tree instead of going around to Rogers Road connector. I did not do the Garapito trail and the hike was still 9.8 miles. Did the obligatory detour to the Blue Gorge. Good rugged hike. Its a slow one so clear your day. It would definitely be a challenge after a good rain and the creek beds are full. If you would like to go, join my hiking group at http://www.theweekdayhikers.com
Reviewed by jon on 5/7/2011
initial trail was impassable. took a loop to hub junction and eagle rock instead, returning via garapito.
Reviewed by mp on 1/29/2011
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Reviewed by Carol on 12/6/2010
omg i went on this trail today n it tottally kiked my ass, it rained lastnight so i guess the ticks drownded because i did not get bit by any bugs. i ran back home w my friend cuz she had to go to work and we were completely exhausted, so much so that if someone had a gun to my head and made me turn back & go on the hike again i wouldve taken the bullet instead. bring lotsa water cuz i ran out of my big fiji water n was starting to get dehydrated & lose hope, hehe. If youre clumsy, this trail is not for you. as we were running back i was constantly whipped in the face by tree branches & there is alot of ducking involved so bring some scissors. I felt like an adolescent all over again!! very fun! i give it 5 stars for rekindling memories...
Reviewed by SRV on 4/27/2010
If I look at this area on google maps it looks NOTHING like it does on the map from this website. Could someone look at this - http://maps.google.com/maps?q=34.12948,-118.553317 - and tell me where ANY of those trails are? Was planning on going to this one Friday but right now pretty confused. Thanks!
Reviewed by Scott on 2/7/2010
I am reposting my review as it gave me an arror prompt the last time. I must have used one of the invalid characters. :) I found the trail from dirt Mulholland down into Rustic Canyon, and followed it no problem to the west fork. I went beyond the west fork to find the Blue Gorge, but eventually the canyon just narrowed and became enclosed by brambles, so I turned back. Tried to find the Bay Tree Trail from the west fork, but was unsuccessful. Watch out for ticks coming down from dirt Mulholland.
Reviewed by Jan L. on 1/11/2010
I loved this hike. A group of hearty souls trekked down into Rustic Canyon from Mulholland Dr. We easily found the turn toward the Bay Tree Trail as someone had marked it with a light orange/pink ribbon. We continued to follow the creekbed and found another ribbon marking the Bay Tree Trail. A false start up the hill to the left was a fun climb, but soon realized we hadn't gone far enough to the portion of Bay Tree that climbs out of the canyon. We rolled back down the mountain and then proceeded to follow the creekbed until we found the trail to the left that leads you out of the canyon. Easy to find once you know where you're going. I love this trail and will go back. Looking for the Blue Gorge next time.
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