The first stop on our quest to track down the best Metro accessible hiking trails takes us to Temescal Gateway Park.
Located along Sunset Blvd. in the Pacific Palisades, the entrance is accessible via Metro bus lines 2 and 302 and the Santa Monica Big Blue Bus Line 9. If you’re traveling from the Eastside, the 2 and 302 to can be a bit of a slog, clocking in at over an hour from Union Station. Accordingly, if you’re up for making a transfer, I might recommend taking the Big Blue Bus 10 Express, which travels from downtown L.A. to Santa Monica via the 10 freeway, and then connecting to BBB #9.
Regardless of your level of hiking gusto, Temescal has something for everyone: “easy to moderate” hiking trails, picnic areas, and grassy fields for your family soccer match. As described by LAMountains.com, a great resource for all hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains, the park encompasses 141 acres of seasonal streams, shaded canyon paths and scenic ridge-top views. And for the intrepid set, from Temescal Canyon you can access Topanga State Park and hundreds of miles of trails in the “Big Wild,” a 20,000-acre expanse of urban wilderness in the Santa Monica Mountains that stretches from Sepulveda Pass to Ventura County.
Starting from the park entrance, my trusted hiking companion and I made our way up into the canyon. We proceeded under a rich tree canopy of sycamore, oaks, and fragrant eucalyptus, ambling along underbrush made green by this fall’s atypical rain showers. We picked up our trail after passing a series of low-slung bungalows, part of the park’s educational programming component. (For a list of family oriented events, see below.)
If you’re heading up Temescal’s trails for the first time, a nice place to shoot for is the waterfall, and accompanying footbridge, about one mile up from the park entrance. In the spring, the water is a great place to cool off your feet and search for tadpoles. The rest of the year, it’s more of a trickle, but it provides a nice and shaded place to cool off nonetheless.
Before you head out, I should mention a few quick advisories. Keep an eye out for poison oak and rattlesnakes. Watching your step and staying on the designated paths should ensure that you avoid both, but either one can easily ruin your hike month. Also, know that dogs are only allowed on leash in the lower part of the park, and not on the trails.
More Temescal visitor information is available here. As always, it’s a good idea to bring plenty of water and sturdy pair of tennis shoes. Bon voyage and stay tuned for upcoming Trailhead Hunters features.
Sat. December 11, 11 am Gathering People & History in Temescal
Temescal Canyon has a long history as a gathering place for people to share traditional stories and new ideas. Its unique history and natural beauty were instrumental in establishing the public park of today. Join us for a journey into the past and a view into the future. Meet at front parking lot. 2 hrs.
Tue. December 21, 7:30 pm Family Sing-a-long for the Holidays
Culture In the Canyon — Bundle up your winter spirit for our solstice celebration. We will be enjoying an evening of holiday songs, stories and lots of goodies. So pack up the kids, the visiting relatives from out of town, and your singing spirit. We’ll have a roaring fire in the fireplace with hot cider and more, ready for your enjoyment. Meet at Woodland Hall. 1.5 hrs