Los Liones Canyon and East Topanga Fire Road

HARD 522 reviews
#2 of 40 trails in

Los Liones Canyon and East Topanga Fire Road is a 10.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Pacific Palisades, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November.

DISTANCE
10.7 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
2,483 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

A moderately difficult hike in Topanga Canyon State Park. Lush greens and beautiful views make this trail a hit! A 7+ mile hike from the Pacific Palisades to a popular overlook in Topanga State Park. The first part of this hike - the Los Liones Trail - is one of the most lush riparian canyons I've ever seen in the Santa Monica Mountains. It's gently graded, moderately shady, and definitely worth a look even if you have to fight crowds. Afterward, the trail meets up with the system of fire roads in Topanga State Park and makes a relentless ascent to Parker Mesa (1525ft). On a clear day, you'll get amazing views of the Santa Monica Bay, and often inland as far as the San Bernardino Mountains.

hiking
10 days ago

This hike is rated hard for a reason! I did the loop only which was clocked at 5.1 miles from the entrance gate. I went up counter clockwise, not sure if that was a good choice or a bad one. Either way is fairly brutal. If you go counter clockwise, you’ll start up the trail which is the most heavily trafficked (and also fairly well covered) right past the “trail” signs. This is a narrow trail which will take you up to the vista about 1.20 miles up. It’s an easy first segment and you can enjoy the awesome view at the top of the ocean and cityscape below. Then it’s on to leg burning time. Continue to head up the wide fire road (this is the right side of the trail on the map) - this is a long strenuous hike up, not extremely steep but it’s constant. Not many people venture this route, so it wasn’t heavily trafficked. I think I lost about 20 lbs in sweat during this segment. Keep going and eventually you will hit the mid point and can continue on straight to make this an “out & back” or go left past the bathrooms onto the “rabbit hole” trail (west side of loop). This trail is no joke, it’s super steep! I had to break off a stick (aka hiking pole) and at times get down on all fours just to get down some of the declines. This is a VERY narrow and very rocky trail, so slipping will occur, be careful. The trail is slightly overgrown so you do have some shade (watch out for snakes). Hike was a good heart pumping workout for sure, but the rabbit hole was a bit unpleasant so not sure I will do the loop again.
Parking is free - there is a small lot near the trail entrance and parking on the street - weekends get crowded.

hiking
23 days ago

Great place to hike. Go early in the morning because after 9am it gets packed.

hiking
24 days ago

great hike. have to say this is one of my favorite.. no dogs

hiking
25 days ago

Great spot for a hike with a view of the ocean! Easy, short hike up to a large view of the pacific coast from Malibu to marina Del Ray. View of downtown LA. Good for all people. I usually bring friends here when they come to visit. I haven’t checked it out at sunset, but it’s on my list to do. Must see!

hiking
26 days ago

Deliciously challenging inclines followed by breathtaking vistas repeated so many times it would be boring if it wasn’t beautiful.

hiking
1 month ago

I'm glad I followed others advice and took the loop clockwise. It's always much easier for me going up steep paths than trying to go down. It was steep!
Not a big fan of hiking fire roads, but the views almost all the way were magnificent. It was cloudy so I wasn't able to see too far, but nevertheless what I could see was beautiful.
There's a short single path loop at the end before you turn around and go back, and there were more lizards there than I've seen in one place before.

To start the loop going clockwise, turn left as you enter the gate and go over the cement drainage to catch the path on the other side. At one point not too far after starting the breaks up, but I found it again by continuing straight forward.

hiking
1 month ago

I really enjoyed this hike back when I did it. I wanted a hard hike and I was not disappointed. I started on the western half of the loop and agree that it is challenging. I chose it too because almost no one headed up that way and it made for a bit more solitude. However, I could not tell if the trail was overgrown because it used less or if it is more of a social trail. I hope it is not. Overall the view of the ocean, mountains and city are well worth the hike and effort. The eastern route is heavily traveled by hikers of all skill and variety.There is a pit toilet at the trail junction for the overlook a few miles into the hike.

hiking
1 month ago

This is my favorite hike! It is challenging, but rewarding when you get to the top. Oversees the ocean and lots of greenery. The first part of the hike has shade and has more trees and rocks. Once you get to the first view point, the view is beautiful. From there, you can continue up the dirt path. This part has a lot of uphill and very little shade. This is the most difficult part of the hike.

Amazing view on the bay once you get at the top. On your way up, which is non stop steep climbing and a great workout, beautiful view of downtown. One of the best hikes around LA, it’s kind of hard to beat it, indeed I’ve hiked it about 5 times already in the last two years. Not too crowded. Water is a must.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a beautiful hike with amazing views!Twice now I went the wrong way on the way down, but I figured out what I did and its fortunately only a small detour, if you take the wrong way you get off on paseo miramar entrance, which is kind of far from parking but after this last time I won't do it again haha! I'd rate this as moderate and there are benches along the way to stop at and enjoy the view of the coast :-)

1 month ago

Did the loop ... Went up the steep way ! Was quite the Climb ! If I do it again definitely going in reverse !!!

To find the trail walk down into the cement wash trail is all the way to the right

hiking
2 months ago

This trail is great for exercise and endurance, and accurately right around 11 miles if you do the out and back part plus the loop. Some of these reviews point out not being able to find the loop, and that is because the counter-clockwise loop back (left side if you're looking on the map) is AWFUL. Even my AllTrails map - which saved me from getting lost many times - wasn't much help. Once you find the tiny entrance to the downhill path from the two overlook benches, the trail is immediately 2 miles of under-maintained, steep, rocky descent. I crawled or slid down the whole way aside from the few moments of flat walking. Highly recommend just turning back and going the way you came. It'll still be 11 miles total if you do the out and back part.

hiking
2 months ago

This is a strenuous hike that starts out pretty narrow, so if a lot of people are out and about, it can get impacted. Great views at several points. Beginning is shaded, then exposed. We haven't found the "loop" yet, if it's there, it's a pretty steep downhill path...

hiking
2 months ago

Did the loop counterclockwise...I suggest going the other way, if at all. The main trail is wide and smooth, so pretty easy going, but the super steep section that connects the benches at the overlook back down to the trailhead is unmaintained, slippery, washed out and over grown. Be prepared to use all fours. I found a hiking stick that saved my hide. Also, warning, lots of bees this time of year. Several times I was forced to plow through a buzzing bush and just hope for no stings. That section would’ve been better going up than down, but I will probably skip entirely if I come back.

2 months ago

Amazing views and great workout route. Its less crowded if you start the hike early morning, like 6am. I have been on this trail several times in the past 5 years.

trail running
2 months ago

Very crowded. Felt like Runyon Canyon West with the crowd.

It’s a good hike none the less. I went counter-clock wise and the incline did become a little relentless as previously posted. Great cardio if your running and looking for that sort of thing. The descent was pretty steep - be careful! If I did this hike again I would try it clock-wise and go up the steep ascent (shadier as well) and down the less steep Route.

This hike IS a loop. (Not sure why so many people have trouble finding the descent.) Just bring your phone the first time and follow the AllTrais map with GPS.

trail running
3 months ago

FINALLY had a chance to visit this place! Conveniently located by Santa Monica, this trail is definitely very popular. No mountain driving required either! I arrived around 8:30 AM on a Sunday and the parking lot was pretty full already. However, there are a few small parking areas and street parking is available as well so finding parking shouldn't be too bad. It also seems like there are several trailheads that take you to the lookout: the Los Liones Canyon Trailhead; from Paseo Miramar; and lastly from Trippet Ranch. This review is specifically from the Los Liones Canyon trailhead. Parking is free and no pass/permit is required. Restrooms (Yes, non-pit, flowing water toilets!) are available by the parking lots. There was also another structure that kind of looked like a restroom around mile 3.5. Didn't go into it so not quite sure about that one.

Although I am a dog writing reviews (haha this account is under my dog's name), DOGS are NOT ALLOWED. It does mention near the parking lot that dogs must be kept on leash so they MAY be allowed in that area only. There is a sign at the trailhead that says dogs are NOT allowed. I have run across a few dogs and I'm not sure if they are service dogs but technically you can't hike with them here (don't know the restrictions for service dogs). Most state & national parks do not allow dogs and there are usually various reasons on why they're not allowed. It is a bummer for people who like to hike/run with their dogs, but at the same time there are PLENTY of trails nearby that welcome dogs. So no real reason to break the rules and bring fido to this one. Last thing you want is a ticket to ruin your hike/run!

Now on to the details of the trail. It is approximately 4 miles to the lookout and there is somewhat of a "mini" lookout at around mile 1.5. The first 1.5 miles is a nice single track with some shade and a gradual climb. Past that point, the trail is pretty much a wide fire road that overlooks the mountains. The climb also becomes steeper. Unfortunately, it was pretty cloudy today when I got to the lookout and the views were somewhat limited so this review probably needs to be updated when I get a chance to revisit on a clear day! After visiting the lookout, I did a quick detour towards Trippet Ranch. I only went around 1.5 miles down this trail but it was a lot more peaceful and definitely had way less people!!

Today was a trail run and with some detours and wrong turns, it ended up being a 11 mile run with 2,444 ft of elevation gain. Took about 2 hours roundtrip. The total hike/run should be around 8 miles or so if you go to the lookout and come back.

The amount of people was a bit too much for me but this could vary depending on the time and day of the week. I'd also love to revisit on a clear day to experience the wonderful views everyone is talking about!!

I also was not able to figure out how to do that loop as seen on the alltrails map.

3 months ago

It was a good trail with some elevation. Make sure you take plenty of water. We ended up doing 14.7 miles. Had problems with the recorder do this trail early gets pretty packed

hiking
3 months ago

Amazing hike.. make sure to stretch, this bad boy gets steep lol

4 months ago

Very nice 5 to 6 mile hike.

4 months ago

Great view at the end! I fell while on the way back down on a steep incline with loose dirt (use caution if you’re clumsy, like me).

hiking
4 months ago

We arrived shortly after 6:30 am on a Monday holiday (MLK Jr) and we were the 1st car in the parking lot closest to the main trailhead...I believe I saw 3 small lots on Los Liones Dr with street parking, however, when we finished at 9 am parking was crowded.

We did the loop counterclockwise and it was just under 4 miles to get to the Parker Mesa Overlook and even though we did this hike early in the morning we had clear views. Maybe half of the trail was a fire road There are two benches there to rest and eat some snacks. We had a bit of a difficult time finding the trail from there to finish the loop...it is located just to the left of the bench on the left. The trail back is about 1.5 miles on a narrow, steep downhill path with loose dirt and easy to los your footing so take it slow. It was about 5.5 miles and took us around 2.5 hrs to finish.

5 months ago

Amazng views.

hiking
5 months ago

5 months ago

Hiked to the view lookout this weekend and my boyfriend proposed! Was an intense hike with lots of inclines, but the view at the end and getting engaged was worth every sweat and ache. There are lots of friendly people on the hike. A guy also came over to us after my boyfriend proposed and offered to take pictures for us. Was so glad he was there so we didn’t have to take just selfies. Thank you guy! Wish we got your name.

hiking
5 months ago

Way too crowded.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike
We weren’t really sure where it was going to end so eventually we just turned around and never found the so called loop.
Lots of parking available leading up to the entrance of the trail.

hiking
5 months ago

Great hike! Awesome views as reward!

6 months ago

Great trail. Beautiful. Full of fog when we went. The only complaint is the app showed the trail as a loop in red. I didn't realize you have to go back the way you came until we were at the top lookout. It would be nice if it wasn't in red showing a loop. Other than that it was amazing and a lot of fun.

6 months ago

First time and loved it! No hiking shoes needed, running shoes are fine. Incline is slow and steady, great workout. Spectacular views of LA skyline and ocean. If I lived closer, I’d do this hike weekly!

Load More