Week 286: "Dirt Mulholland," Topanga State Park Tarzana

April 16, 2023

 AllTrails Greenbriar Trail, 3.25 miles out-and-back.

In 1924 Mulholland Drive opened at Cahuenga Pass, moving E–W across the top of the Santa Monica Mountains with Hollywood to the S and the SF Valley to the N, and the road soon became one of the best known streets in the US. However, few know that a few miles west of the 405 at the intersection of Encino Hills Drive, LA's iconic street becomes "Dirt Mulholland" for about 8 miles, an unpaved road closed to motor vehicles. I didn't know, and when Barbara and I studied the map of this hike I said, "Today's trail is the center of Mulholland Drive?" She assured me that this Mulholland was "Dirt Mulholland." Greenbriar is a popular trail and we hit heavy traffic, but in the form of dog walkers and they're happy companions, and we spent a lot of time jumping out of the path of speeding mountain cyclists. We didn't care. The day was gorgeous, the mountains and canyons were covered in green and mustard-plant yellow, and the trail was easy enough for us to make it more of a "conversational" hike than a "watch-your-feet" adventure. An LA City Open Space with 36 miles of trails through open grassland, the CA Dept. of Parks & Rec calls Topanga State Park  "the world's largest woodland within the boundaries of a major city." Spring was absolutely the right time for this particular hike—not one spot of shade in the three+ miles we covered. Our starting point, the trailhead at Greenbriar Drive south of Tampa Avenue in Tarzana, connected us to Dirt Mulholland. We followed Mulholland east to the Rita Walters Trail named for the trailblazing teacher, civil rights advocate, and the first black woman elected to the LA City Council (1991–2001.) The Walters Trail curved down for about a quarter mile to our turnaround point, a Topanga State Park trailhead at the border of the Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park (another section of Topanga State Park for another day.) Time for snacks before we tackled the climb back up to Dirt Mulholland and the walk back. An easy hike for a pretty Spring day. 



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