Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hiking in Temescal

I had a bit of a leg injury this summer that prevented me from going exploring in the Santa Monica Mountains all Summer.
 Since my leg is feeling better I thought I would start off with an easy trail to get 
me in back motion. I always hiked the Paseo Miramar Trail which is really challenging. I always felt like
an Olympian champion when I made it to the top.  The hike at Temescal is much easier and great for beginners.
Here are some photos of my weekend adventure.


Weeping Willows

An Oak Tree

Eucalyptus Trees

Secret trails 

Wooden Steps

Lush Green Landscapes

Old Gnarled Trees



Dried River Beds 

Paths filled with Stones


I attached some additional info that I copy and pasted about Temescal Canyon.

Temescal Canyon

Sunset, Temescal Canyon, Temescal Ridge Trails

Canyon loop is 4.4 miles round trip with 700-foot gain; to Skull Rock is 5.4 miles round trip.
Park agencies in the Santa Monica Mountains have combined forces to open a number of “gateways” to the mountains. For hikers (particularly those of us accustomed to beginning hikes at the end of dirt roads greeted by trail signs nailed to trees), these gateways are deluxe trail heads indeed: restrooms, picnic grounds, water fountains, native plant gardens and more.
I have a particular fondness for Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades. Not only does this park have it all, park pathways quickly leave it all behind.
Temescal Canyon is an ideal Santa Monica Mountains sampler. You get an oak- and sycamore-shaded canyon, a seasonal waterfall and terrific views from the ridge crest.
Temescal has long been a canyon that inspired nature lovers and enlightenment-seekers. During the 1920s and 1930s, the canyon hosted Chautauqua assemblies—large educational and recreational gatherings that features lectured, concerts and stage performances. The canyon was purchased by the Presbyterian Synod in 1943 and used as a retreat center until 1995 when the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy purchased the property.

Directions to trailhead: From Los Angeles, head west on the Santa Monica Freeway (10) to its end and continue up-coast on Pacific Coast Highway. Turn north (right) on Temescal Canyon Road and drive 1.1 miles. Just after the intersection with Sunset Boulevard, turn left into the parking area (fee) for Temescal Gateway Park.
(Sidewalks, picnic grounds, and an intermittent greenbelt along Temescal Canyon Road might tempt intrepid hikers to stride the mile from the beach to the trailhead.)
The hike: Walk up canyon on the landscaped path past the restrooms. The footpath takes on a wilder appearance and soon crosses a branch of Temescal Creek via a wooden footbridge.
At a signed junction, save Temescal Ridge Trail for your return route and continue through the canyon on Temescal Canyon Trail. Travel among graceful old oaks, maples and sycamores to the “doggie turnaround” (no dogs beyond this point) and enter Topanga State Park.
The path ascends moderately to another footbridge and a close-up view of the small waterfall, tumbling over some large boulders. Leaving the canyon behind, the path steepens and climbs westward up Temescal Ridge to a signed junction with Temescal Ridge Trail. 
I always enjoy heading uphill on this trail a half mile or so to distinctly shaped Skull Rock. The rock is a good place to rest, cool off, and admire the view.

temescal canyon trail map
As you return to the trail head down Temescal Ridge Trail, you’ll get excellent views of Santa Monica Bay, Palos Verdes Peninsula, Catalina Island, and downtown Los Angeles. The view to the southwest down at the housing developments isn’t too inspiring, but the view of the rough unaltered northern part of Temescal Canyon is.
After serving up fine views, the path descends rather steeply and tunnels into tall chaparral. Continue past junctions with Bienveneda and Leacock trails and follow the narrow ridgeline back to a junction with Temescal Canyon Trail. Retrace your steps on Sunset Trail back to the trail head.

Happy Hiking!!!


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