Explore the most popular mountain biking 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.

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.

Great trail, beautiful views! Would put this towards more moderate but well worth it. We got there early, 8.30am Saturday morning and were only a couple of other people around. Got a lot busier on the way back around 11am.

One of my favorite hikes in L.A. if you want to make this hike more challenging, there is an alternate route that will turn this into a 5 mile loop. From the main entrance on los liones, go left and down to cross the concrete. Follow the trail and about 50 meters in you will see another trail on your left that goes up the steep hillside. From there it is 1.4 miles to parker mesa overlook but be warned it is quite steep. You will gain 1300 feet in 1.4 miles, expect to cover this distance in 45 minutes to an hour depending on how many breaks you take. Shoes with good traction are recommended. I take this way up and the regular easy way down to make it a loop, going back this way is not recommended as it is quite steep.

A moderate hike, mostly uphill. Try to start in the afternoon after the fog is lifted otherwise you won't get much of a view.

Beautiful views, I would do this trail again.

2 months ago

Amazing hike, great views, and fun.

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.

2 months ago

One of my favorite LA hikes; nice views and a good workout.

this hike was so beautiful! the ocean views are spectacular. have yet to do the full loop but am working up to it

More of a road than a trail when you start

Ran here a week after the rains and trail was pretty torn up. There was a “trail closed” sign 8 miles in that I ignored. Lots of rocks, hard on the feet. Most of the elevation gain was at the last 5 mile stretch. The best trail I never want to run again!

Not well maintained, trail difficult to follow

Not a great trail but not bad. There was tons of dog poop on the trail and very little shade. We went at 10am in January and it was still too hot in the sun for my dog. It’s 2 stars for dogs but 3 stars for people. You can hear the traffic from the 405 freeway and you can look right into peoples’ (multi-million) backyard. We went out only 2 miles so I think the city landscape lessens. But I like trails where you immediately feel hundreds of miles away from LA.

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

Nice moderate hiking terrain. mostly not shaded so bring extra water and hike during colder months. No dogs allowed on the trail.

The views are fantastic!! Good calorie burner too

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.

This is a moderately difficult hike. Steep up hill and down. Beautiful views are your reward.

If only there were better signs...

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!!!

Beautiful scenery

Very nice loop, a good workout. Some shade on the west side of loop. Lots of bikes in the beginning.

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.


decent hike alot of it is uphill thus u will be getting alot of leg work and work that booty out. be prepared 4 bugs since it is dry area.

8 months ago

Beautiful scenery, lots of greens and shades. Great exercise! Really enjoyed the hike.

8 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.

Easy trail open spaces and you are not too exposed.

Great hike loved the views...

Great hike loved the views...

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