Week 229: Santa Ynez Canyon Topanga State Park

January 17, 2021

 Walking Los Angeles—Santa Ynez Canyon Trail, 2.5 miles in-and-out. 

Waterfall hikes are always fun, and it's rare to find one near the coast. When Barbara and I came across John McKinney's "ramble" to a waterfall in Santa Ynez Canyon in Topanga State Park, we set out to the Palisades to explore. Santa Ynez Canyon was a popular weekend destination in the 1920s, so much so, that summer cabins once dotted the sides of the creek and surrounding hills. Today we drove through the tony Palisades Highland development to find the trailhead at the end of Verenda De La Montura off Palisades Drive. A black iron fence opens to a railroad tie staircase leading down to the trail. Hikers tipped us off early that the seasonal waterfall was currently dry. Didn't matter. The trail was awesome. It started easy enough, a dirt path under pretty canopies of sycamore and oaks. A hop and a skip over concrete stepping stones crossing a (dry) runoff channel, and then a short sidebar to investigate a small cave before we entered the quiet, lovely canyon. A half mile in, a trail marker points the way to the falls. The mostly flat, rocky trail zigzags from side to side of Santa Ynez Creek. We were grateful the creek was basically dry, because rock hopping over a dry bed is a lot less tricky than navigating slippery stones across water. The trail is high, the creek bed below, so more than once we spidered down over rocks and dirt to cross sides, then climbed back up to the trail using tree limbs for monkey bars. Fun! A lone toad croaked a welcome as we neared the boulders forming the waterfall, our turnaround point at 1.5 miles. We followed the rocky creek on the way back for variety.  A terrific, popular trail with lots to offer—just keep away from the poison oak and watch your step. Great for kids, but no dogs allowed. 






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