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Sullivan Canyon Trail

MODERATE 144 reviews
#1 of 4 trails in

Sullivan Canyon Trail is a 9.6 mile heavily trafficked out and back trail located near Pacific Palisades, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 9.6 miles Elevation Gain: 1,410 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

bird watching

views

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

scramble

Note: There is free street parking.

hiking
25 days ago

I recommend only for cyclists and walk to dogs.

hiking
26 days ago

Phone read 9.88m in 2:22:37 with 1226ft of gain. Elevation gain is so mild you can hardly tell you are going uphill until the final mile where steepness increases. Trail is an extremely docile fire road for the entire length. It is shaded for the vast majority of the trip with decent vegetation the whole way.

hiking
1 month ago

it was a beautiful canyon but has been severly bulldozed, unfortunately. there is a fire road that runs the length of the canyon. portions of the original singletrack have been preserved but not uninterrupted so it's a mix of fire road and singletrack. it's a tough workout for a trail run. I won't go back because I'm too disappointed they bulldozed the canyon.

hiking
1 month ago

Love doing this trail when I don't have a ton of energy but still want to get out. I see a ton of off-leash dogs here and haven't had a problem with my dog off-leash either. There's no formal trash can anywhere on or near the trail head though - the only problem I have with it.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a pretty easy trail but fun. On a Monday afternoon it had a few hikers and mountain bikers. Sort of dusty and last third has some rocks. I did see a snake which was on the trail going in and coming out. So keep your eye out.

not moderate hime its easy if your use to rough moderate hike. other wise beautiful.

mountain biking
4 months ago

Great (wide) single track trail; for its proximity to Santa Monica, and Los Angeles in general. Don’t tell everyone ;). I love this out and back, which ends up being about 9-miles, when ended at the Sullivan ridge fire road (there are many, many miles of fire road and single track accessible from the ridge). Getting there is a gradual climb though; that sort of gets steeper as you go. Enjoy the cooler shade of the canyon; and turn around whenever you burn out, or run out of time. Knowing that your return time will likely be 1/4 of your climb time (at least by bicycle); and may have considerably less light, as you return to the canyon floor tree cover, and possible lengthening shadows of the pm hours. There are several seasonal creek crossings to navigate (and consider for anyone concerned about mud and/or water); though minor, they help keep this trail exciting and dynamic. For a quick work out, I usually turn around as the trail tops out on the Ridge; and it’s all down hill from there baby! Just be cognizant and considerate of hikers, and their dogs; which should be, but aren’t always on a leash.

hiking
5 months ago

Great trail for nature lovers and is dog friendly. The trail starts off Queensferry road. You hike down a paved hill to the trail head. The trail consist of a flat fire road with an offshoot that will take you up to the Sullivan canyon ridge trail. If you miss the offshoot you have to hike to the end of the canyon trail which will take you uphill to Sullivan canyon ridge where you can access the backbone trail or Sullivan canyon ridge trail. On your way back you can either take the ridge or canyon trail. If you do take the ridge trail look for the offshoot that will bring you back down to the canyon trail once you hit the paved road. You don’t want to miss the offshoot or else’s it’s a LONG walk back to your car. You can see tons of wildlife on this trail like bobcats, coyotes, deer, owls, hawks, falcons, parrots, and the occasional golden eagle. After a fresh rain this trail turns into a river and it’s 100% worth checking out.

hiking
rocky
5 months ago

6 months ago

Pretty trail. I’ve only done the start but plan to dig in further.

mountain biking
6 months ago

Parking is sparse in neighborhood with lots of no parking signs. Trailhead is at big wooden gate; go around it on left side. Trail is a gradual, consistent uphill for first 3.75 miles (advanced beginner level). Then 0.5 miles of more steep trail to get to the fire road that leads to the ridge. Overall, lots of gravel makes the trail harder to pedal but is do-able. Canyon is woodsy and I was in shade at noon almost the whole time. This portion of trial: 4.25 miles, 950 ft elevation gain.

hiking
Saturday, June 30, 2018

There was a short, very steep elevation gain. After that, the rest of the trail has very little elevation. There were lots of bikers!!

mountain biking
Sunday, June 24, 2018

A solid climb to the top will make you work especially near the top. Keep an eye out for single track of the side or the road on the way down.

hiking
Saturday, April 14, 2018

We went on this trail around 11am .. nice and wide but not enough shade for furry friends. Lots of bugs and dog poop that irresponsible owners didn’t pick up after their dogs. Lots of gravel and speeding cyclists speeding down the hill. We did see a rattlesnake crossing the path .. Would I go back, prob not.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Nice flat trail (until the very end), good for trail running. Mostly gravel and very even. Lovely shade trees and some pretty wildflowers in April. Saw a small rattlesnake slither off sunny spot on path as I approached, so I’d keep dogs on leash. Entrance is pretty obvious, around wood gate (there is a path on left) and down the hill.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

No access through the directions, took us to a giant wooden gate. We took Old Ranch Road

hiking
Sunday, November 05, 2017

Interesting trail... a few years ago my dog found a deer leg here... yesterday we were hiking around 3pm and I spotted a mountain lion that was slightly bigger than my Weimaraner. Now I know who eats those deer....

mountain biking
Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Trail was nice but our poor dog picked up about 15 ticks :(

hiking
Sunday, April 23, 2017

so nice! nice shady trail with a small stream running next to it at times. took my dog on a Saturday and it wasn't busy at all!

hiking
Monday, April 17, 2017

I'd give Sullivan Canyon 3.5 stars. For being so close to Santa Monica / West LA, it's a great distance and easily accessible. Also a big plus that dogs are allowed, albeit they must be on leash (although this is not strictly enforced). The prettiest areas are closest to the South trailhead, and it's a nice, gradual climb. As other reviewers mentioned, it gets a bit boring after 2-3 miles. Lots of mountain bikers, and relatively shaded on and off.

hiking
Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Although there was some beautiful scenery and the trail offered a good moderate hike it got boring after 3 miles. The flies on this trail were extremely annoying. The minute we stopped a swarm of flies would surround us. To get to the parking lot was a bit difficult as you have to drive about a 1/4 mile down a dirt road with large potholes. I wouldn't do this hike it again.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Easy access from the west side.

mountain biking
Thursday, November 24, 2016

Great trail for mountain bikers with a beginner-level bike!

hiking
Monday, July 18, 2016

Great walk with my dog. Narrow road for all bikers. Love the shade from all the trees.

hiking
Sunday, June 19, 2016

A very straight forward trail and I do mean that literally as well as figuratively. It gets kinda boring because the first 3 or so miles in from the trailhead doesn't have much variation - you're walking on a gentle incline on a very straight and wide dirt/gravel path the whole time and it's not until right before the first 3 way junction to the Sullivan Ridge trail where the terrain and hiking becomes more interesting and challenging. The shade is nice but it's not so shady as say either of the Temescal Ridge, Rivas Canyon or Hondo Canyon trails. We added the walk up to Dirt Mulholland just to get some additional miles in - AllTrails says 10.1 miles out and back, where my Fitbit GPS says 10.49 instead. The smell of the clay/gravel and maybe the gas pipeline that follows you on the entire trail isn't particularly nice either - maybe it's just me but it kinda smelled metallic or dusty. Also lots of bugs which isn't a problem if you don't forget the insect repellant, but we did. Also as of today (June 2016) there was huge tree that had fallen down and landed right across the path. Mountain bikers and hikers alike had to stop and scramble over it whilst trying to avoid the poison oak and copious bugs. Also if mountain bikers aren't your thing, would suggest avoiding - this trail is so wide and relatively steady that it attracts bikers, some of whom obnoxiously tear down the path, leaving a wake of dust behind them even though there are bikers around. Maybe better for trail runners but as a hiker that enjoys varied terrain and different things to look at, this is one of the lesser trails to do. Glad I did it but don't feel the need to do it again anytime soon.

hiking
Sunday, May 01, 2016

Lovely easy and quiet afternoon walk - went by public transport and walked up Old Ranch Road taking little horse trail off to right of road near end to reach the Canyon path (if you get to big gate at end you have gone too far). Then back by Sullivan Fire Road and Capri to Sunset. Bus 2 both ways. 4 hours from Sunset.

hiking
Monday, February 01, 2016

It was a really nIce hIke, it was really exciting because I didn't, in a great day I check it with my phone by my phone got wet, so so I repair I will post some pictures, I thought I was the only one doing in the rain but there were a lot of people, it's quite nice trail.

hiking
Sunday, July 05, 2015

Very nice easy to moderate walk through a canyon. Pretty gentle . Parking is not great. The streets around the trailhead are residential and have various areas marked "No Parking 7am to 7pm" so you have to pay attention to the sigs. We crossed many more mountain bikers than hikers on the path. The hiking path is well defined and easy to follow.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Very cool view overlooking Santa Monica and the city on one side and Sherman oaks/the valley on the other. Easy to moderate hike.

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