The Big Wild
A uniquely rugged and wild area, is one of three large California State Parks which are located in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The park is roughly 11,500 acres in size and has more than 36 miles of hiking trails, including 17 miles of the Backbone Trail which links Point Mugu State Park and Will Rogers State Historic Park. Most of Topanga State Park is within the city limits of Los Angeles so is often characterized as “the world’s largest wildland within the boundaries of a major city.”
This park is home to a remarkably diverse group of animals and plants and provides an opportunity to view them in their natural habitat, much as they might have been before European exploration. It is possible to see deer, coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and possibly a mountain lion. A dozen species of raptors nest in the park, and two dozen species of reptiles and amphibians might be found. Chaparral shrubs, live oak, walnut, and sycamore trees line the trails of the park, and wildflowers are plentiful in the spring. This park features a variety of geologic formations, including earthquake faults, marine fossils, and volcanic intrusions, as well as a variety of sedimentary rocks. Most of the trails give you panoramic mountain, valley, or ocean views.
Topanga State Park also has a rich and varied cultural history going back thousands of years. More recent history can be seen in the gentleman’s ranch buildings of the Trippet Ranch portion of the park.
Free guided nature walk Sundays at 10:00 am from January 1 through June 30
This program takes you on a two hour, easy nature walk in Topanga State Park with a docent who knows the trails and the plants and animals. Several trails are available – the Nature Trail, the Musch Trail, the Parker Mesa Overlook Trail, the Dead Horse Trail. Each has different features. These walks are scheduled every Sunday between January 1 and June 30 at 10:00 am. Meet your docent at the bulletin board in the corner of the parking lot. Of course, if it rains or the park is closed because of fire danger we’ll all stay home.
There’s a parking fee at the Trippet Ranch lot, or buy an annual pass from California State Parks. Bring your family and friends, wear long pants and sensible shoes. There are restrooms with running water next to the parking lot, and picnic tables, so you can come early and bring lunch. You can read more about the park history and view some nice photos below.
Also bring all your questions about wildflowers, birds, snakes, geology, plant uses, insects, land grants and native Americans. Our docents are knowledgeable friendly, trained volunteers. The park is beautiful, and on a clear day you can see Catalina Island. If you’ve never visited, you may want to print out our map and directions and our site map. These are in PDF format, so you’ll need Adobe Reader®. You can download Adobe Reader® here.
Check the Santa Monica Mountain Fund calendar for current Sunday themed hikes.