Discoveries in a New City: Hiking the Santa Monica Mountains

When moving to Los Angeles just a year ago, I had several doubts and concerns, all forced to be buried with the acceptance of a prime time job offer.  I had done the LA thing in a previous life and can’t say that I fell hard for the city of glitz, glamour and traffic.  Yet I was young, my priorities different and my location not as central.  Today it’s a different story — I am shocked by the way my opinion and feelings toward this city have changed.  I see it as opportunity, stocked full of a million things to do, experience and eat.  Sure the traffic is still awful, the paparazzi still stalk the street corners, and everyone still asks, “have you seen/met anyone famous?”  But I have come to recognize the little things that make the heart of this city beat.  The beauty of Topanga Canyon, the community of Santa Monica, the hole in the wall secrets, the food, and the never-ending possibilities of events to attend and culture to experience.

Who would have imagined that 20 minutes outside LA you would be able to experience pure “practically” untouched beauty.  Prime time real estate in California that is protected by the state from any development whats so ever leaves us with the breath-taking Topanga Canyon State Park.  The park preserves acres of land mainly used by day hikers and picnickers, featuring over 36 miles of hiking trails through open grasslands and live oaks, with constant views of the sprawling Pacific Ocean.

Topanga Canyon State Park - Eagle Rock
Topanga State Park Trail Map


  • Eagle Rock – To Eagle Rock via Eagle Rock/Eagle Springs Loop is 6.5 miles round-trip with 800-foot elevation gain
  • Rogers Trail – Will Rogers SHP via Eagle Rock, Fire Road 30, and Rogers Road is 10.5 miles one way with a 1,800-foot loss

Directions to trailhead: From Topanga Canyon Boulevard, turn east on Entrada Road; that’s to the right if you’re coming from Pacific Coast Highway. Follow Entrada Road by turning left at every opportunity until you arrive at Topanga State Park. The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot.

Eagle Rock
Eagle Rock Trail

What are your favorite LA County Day Hikes?

One thought on “Discoveries in a New City: Hiking the Santa Monica Mountains

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  1. I moved to Los Angeles a few months ago and, while on the whole, the traffic has really done of a lot to keep me from enjoying my time here, I have been amazed by how beautiful some of the hikes in the area are and that’s quickly become my favorite part of living here.

    I’m glad to find your blog, I’ll keep an eye out for suggestions that might help the city grow on me a bit more.

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