Explore the most popular forest trails in Topanga State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Great moderate hike. I am 45 and fit but I def felt it the next day. I live in Tarzana right below the trail head at Marvin Braude Gateway. I left the house on sat 7:30am and it was buzzing with bikes and hikers on the valley side. The middle stretch I had mostly to myself with the occasional random human being every 30 mins. It was very busy on the Temescal Trail portion. Took me 3.5 hours to reach the beach at Will Rogers. Beautiful trails. Mostly fire roads on the valley side that change to goat paths along the ridges and canyons of Topanga / Temescal. The worst part was walking Temescal Canyon Road to get to the beach.

I don’t know why it says dogs on leash are okay..:when you get to the end of the trail at Temescal Canyon Rd, there are signs that say no dogs allowed. The trail was nice until the last 3 miles where it was all down hill. What goes up must come down, I guess!

Nice wooded trail, the walk was very enjoyable with the sound of birds along the way, I did this hike on May 19 and the weather was perfect.

We did this hike on April 12th. The front side of the hike is great, easy assent and beautiful views. The back side is a different story. After you reach the top you will wind your way around to a small trail that switchbacks down the slope, this trail is nice and easily navigable. At the bottom you will find some of the abandoned structures that are shown in the photos above. After this point the hike becomes rapidly less enjoyable. The trail is not maintained and you are essentially hoping back and forth from on side to the other of a creek. This annoyance was compounded by the large amounts of poison oak, if we hadn't both had long pants and sleeves we wouldn't have made it out without having some rashes. We are both seasoned hikers and enjoy difficult and technical hiking, but the backside of this trail is just pointlessly frustrating. My suggestion is to make it an out and back to the top.

loved this hike! Don't stop at the waterfall, crawl up on the side and go explore :) it is a pretty short hike but fun for people who don't like to hike straight on a nice path as it is full of stones to climb on.

PARKING: the gates to the parking lot opens at 8AM with a fee. I got there by 7AM and decided to park on the dirt road outside the park for free 99. limited spots on the dirt road, though, so if you're looking for that free adventure - go early, otherwise, support your state parks and pay the parking fee.

THE HIKE: the hike itself is well maintained. you know when you have automatic flushing toilets you got yourself a bougie hike. they even had rolls of toilet paper ready for you. this is probably the Marriot of hikes. LOL. anyway, the hike is pretty straight forward - be sure to follow the signs (not that hard). you'll be taking the fire road for the majority of the hike and its a gradual incline till you get to your destination.

bring insect repellent cause you'll be coming by a lot of flies and gnats. annoying buggers. ALSO - no cause for alarm but i saw a snake on the way back so definitely stay away from the edge of the trail. Try to stick close to the middle as possible. you'll also see a bunch of the local birds on the trail. also lizards. they creep me out. sometimes they look like twigs and i accidentally stepped on one until it started scurrying away. it had me afrightened. LOL.

TRAFFIC: human traffic is generally pretty low in the early mornings. you got a few bikers, runners, and fellow hikers. everyone didn't really carry much, which made me the weird one taking my day pack. meh, better prepared. got to the trail head around 7AM and didn't start till 7:15AM (took advantage of the boujie toilets). It wasn't till i was descending back that i started seeing more humans.

Overall, a pretty nice hike with gorgeous views. definitely would do it again.

trail running
2 months ago

Challenging but runnable climb, maybe not quite as exciting for hiking but I would still hike it. Part of the the backbone trail that runs across all the SM mountains so I’m glad I know it. Also be sure to continue at least to the fire overlook by making a right at the top of Hondo, behind the old radar tower, it’s a beautiful view.

Nice time out doors, lots of greenery. Don’t expect a waterfall, there was only murky dirty water. I would assume it’d be beautiful after it rains. Had lots of fun stepping over stones and climbing a few.

Im a big fan of this hike and of Topanga State park! The whole area is neat, but Eagle rock is the crowned jewel with it's caves and panaramic views. I prefer taking the Fire road (best views) to eagle rock, but Musch trail is nice too, and a good change of scenery.

Kind of a boring hike until the ravine at the end, and some trickling water if you're lucky! Might be a better hike after some heavy rains.
I'd recommend just staying on the path to Eagle rock though, and not detouring to this waterfall.

This is really a local hike. I wouldn't drive out of the way to see it. There hasn't been very much water in many years. When there was, there was a running creek, and it was much harder to get there. The trail has zero bathroom/water facilities and I often find hikers allover the area (sometimes miles away) who either can't find their way to the nonexistent waterfall or can't find their way back from it! There's also a lot of poison oak, so good to have pants and sleeves if you go anyway. Rangers have been known to write tickets to people with dogs.

Loved this trail for 4 out of 4.8 miles(going clockwise) BUT as many reviews (and park ranger will tell you) it just vanishes in the lowland swampy area. You can do it but give yourself plenty of time, light and phone battery because it’s not maintained at all.

Otherwise, this hike is fantastic, great elevation, beautiful vistas, lots of cool canyons and mountains back there.

Watch out for poison oak on the back side (going clockwise) it’s EVERYWHERE.

There was very very little water. However, my four kids (ages 9-13) had a great time climbing over rocks and boulders to get to the trickle of a waterfall. My 40+ chubby self even made it! I imagine that with significant rainfall....this hike could be pretty tough to navigate boulder climbing while it the stream.

Great trail and beautiful views. Part of it was closed so we couldn't do the full loop.

Not well maintained, trail difficult to follow

Really hard to find the trailhead (our GPS was off), but the loop was nice once we got going. We trekked clockwise, so there were great views for the first third, followed by a steep decline into the canyon (watch out for loose rocks), ending with a pretty technical ~1.5 mile stretch through the riverbed. Decent outing for sure, but you absolutely MUST check yourself for ticks afterwards.

Great hike but I only did one half of the loop because I got a little lost. I started at the inspiration point around 3pm. I missed the trail that leads to the creek(maybe because of the overgrown land?). But then it felt like I was getting no where and there aren’t many signs, only the “backbone trail” one. I got service and realized I just kept walking straight and I was already about 2 miles away from the rustic loop trail. Can be pretty adventurous and spooky at 6pm. So make sure you go with enough day light, or just don’t get lost like I did hah

Pretty boring. Goes through a lot a shaded scrub. Go to Trippet Ranch right nearby instead

Some gorgeous views from along the ridge, although at the moment the trail portion along the creek going out from Will Rodgers is overgrown and not easily passable. Can be a cool setting but it is tough going along the creek.

Beautiful views! And you can have lunch in the cave at the top!

The trail was very soft on the footing and very shady causing the temperature drop. Not much water at the top of the waterfall but it’s a nice walk and ending at a water hole with water dripping.

Great hike. Bring lots of water on hot days.

Actually hiked this last week -loved it!! Started at end of polo field - counterclockwise. Once you get to the creek, you will be crossing back and forth. Someone has used red paint to try and help people stay on the trail, but it's easier to see if you are heading clockwise. You start on the west side of the creek, but pretty quickly cross to the east side. As soon as you cross keep looking on the opposite side for the trail to pick up. You will be going back and forth far awhile! When you get to the waterfall, and you don't feel like using a rope to climb up the wall near the waterfall - approx .05 - .1 miles before the waterfall, look on the opposite of the creek and you will see stairs going up. At the top of the stairs, very quickly, you will see a path on your right which will take you to the top of the waterfall. From there, just scramble up the hill and continue with the loop! Recommend wearing shoes with a lot of tread so you can get traction crawling over the boulders in the creek and scrambling up the hills (at times I was grabbing the roots of various bushes to help pull myself up!) Challenging, but incredibly fun!!!

Nice hike. Slow steady climb. The higher you get the nicer the scenery. Take the extra .7 mile to the overlook for some nice ocean views. Some overgrown areas so long pants might be a good idea.

This is a hard trail in the sense that when you get to the creek the path deteriorates fast. There are a few ribbons and graffiti along the way to let you know you're ok. If you follow the water down you will eventually get to a sign that says Trail End. And then you go right (another sign saying Will Rogers).

Do this hike when there is no rain. The riverbed will fill up a lot and cause slippery and water hazard conditions. Also, wear pants and throw on some bug spray for good measure.

It's awesome and fun.


Gruesome. Super overgrown and pathway covered in green slime over concrete. No way I was going to walk that. Looked like something from an abandoned city. I turned right around and went to another trail.

9 months ago

If you’re bringing children, a dog, or anybody afraid to descend rock faces, don't do the whole loop. If you aren’t taking any of those things and want to do the whole loop, go clockwise. The eastern half of the loop, along Rustic Creek, is poorly defined and dangerously steep in some places. Seriously, there are one or two sections where you have to ascend/descend 25 feet up a near vertical rock face and sometimes the only apparent route forward is to walk in the creek. Stay near the creek, as getting lost is very easy. The brush is overgrown. Avoid the poison oak.

That said, the challenge of this section made hiking it a rewarding experience. But it's definitely not for everybody.

In contrast, the western half of the loop, up the backbone trail, is beautiful. It is well maintained and the views are great. It wasn’t crowded even on a Sunday and suitable for any hiker or dog.

This is a great trail offering a good workout. Other reviews say it's not steep, but that's only if starting at the top. If you start at the Old Topanga Canyon trailhead, be ready for a steady climb to the top, easy in some parts, but moderately steep in other parts. Overall it's a fun, fun hike and quite secluded for the most part. The exceptions/cons I would list are that from some spots you can see houses across the canyon and at least a couple of times I've had airplane noise overhead for almost the entire hike (like someone flying small planes over the area).

Really disappointing - may have once been a worthwhile hike, but trail hasn't been maintained and is in terrible shape - and now-dry riverbed is filled with what appears to be toilet paper/sewage. There are tons of great hikes in the area - this is not one of them.

Great hike loved the views...

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