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August 5, 2017 – Los Liones trail to Parker Mesa Overlook in Topanga S.P.

Distance: 7.3 miles

Gain: 1292 ft

Hiking Time: ~ 4 hours

Rating: Moderate

Description:  Parker Mesa is a popular overlook of the Pacific Coast in Topanga State Park. We have hiked it from the Park’s western entrance, at Trippit Ranch, before and the views and sea air were great. For a better look at the varied landscapes inside Topanga State Park, more of a single track experience and a more intense workout – the southern approach is a more interesting route.

The Los Liones Trail starts on Los Liones Drive in the Pacific Palisades at a clearly marked gate. The trail starts out inconspicuously enough, looking like just about any other coastal Southern California trail – but as the single-track route winds its way over several short hills and through the scrub, it gets shadier.

Meet your Leader:  Due to very limited parking at the trailhead, we encourage you to carpool.

Carpooling from Santa Clarita Valley:

Meet at Towsley Canyon (24255 The Old Road, Newhall, CA) outside the gate in the Parking lot at 6:15AM.       We will leave at 6:30AM sharp.

Alternatively, you can meet at the Los Liones trailhead gate (directions / photo below) for a 07:30 AM SHARP departure down the trail.

Please be respectful of your driver’s support by contributing something at the end of your carpool to help defray the cost of gas – THX

Directions to Towsley Carpool carpooling spot:   From Valencia, take the I-5 South to the Calgrove exit. Exit, turn right. Go through the signal and immediately turn right into the driveway for Towsley Canyon / Rivendale Park but park OUTSIDE the gate. Look for club members and leader here.

From LA direction, stay on the I-5 North until the Calgrove Blvd exit (first exit after the 5 and 14 FWY split).  Exit, turn left at end of ramp.  Go under FWY, through the signal and immediately turn right into the driveway for Towsley Canyon / Rivendale Park. Park OUTSIDE the gate and look for club members and leader here.

Directions to Los Liones Trailhead:  From Santa Clarita, take the I-5 South and merge right into the 405 South. Go ~16 miles south through the Sepulveda Pass. Exit the 405 at Sunset Blvd West (after the Getty). On the Sunset off ramp, make a left from right lane onto Church and an immediate right onto Sunset Blvd heading West. Take Sunset for 8 miles, and make a right onto Los Liones, until it deadends. You will see a clearly marked trailhead/ gate.

BRING: Hiking poles, if you have them, boots with good tread, lunch/snack, 3L liquids (2L water + 1L electrolytes/ Gatorade), a camera, hat and sunscreen.

Adventure Pass: Not required.

Dogs:  Sorry, NOT ALLOWED, as this is part of the Topanga State Park.

Rating: Easy++ / Moderate

Leader:  Steve i.


Saturday, August 12, 2017 – Local with an Early Start and Choices – Short or Long

Option 1: Mentryville and Pico Canyon

Option 2: Mentryville and Pico Canyon, then continue up from the back of the canyon to the Pico Peak for the view

Option 1:  Rating/ Distance (Round Trip)/ Total Gain:

Easy /~4 miles total (out and back) / 200ft Gain

Description:   The first 2 miles of the hike starts in the town of Mentryville, followed by a gradual climb on a paved road (no traffic though), until we reach Oil Well #4 at the back of the canyon.  The well was owned by California Star Oil, later to become Standard Oil of California.

Along the way we will talk as we go about Mentryville, the history of Pico Canyon and the early oil industry in Santa Clarita Valley.  This shorter hike ends after the 2 miles at the end of the canyon.  Anyone who does not wish to continue up to the Peak with Steve can return along the asphalt service road to the parking lot the same way.  This will give you a nice Easy 4 miles!

Option 2: Rating/ Distance (Round Trip)/ Total Gain:

Moderate + / ~7.5 miles total (out and back) / 1200ft Total Gain

Description:  After Well #4 at the back of the canyon, we start to climb the service road for another 2 miles, adding another 1000 ft. in gain giving us 1200 ft total gain getting to the peak.   At the top there is a picnic table where we can have lunch/snack, and relax for a bit. The views from here are some of the best in Santa Clarita Valley (see above)!

On our return, about 2/3 the way back, we will take a detour down a different and more challenging but shorter trail back to Pico Canyon.  We will pass interesting rock formations to arrive in Johnson Park.  We pass a mock- up of an oil well (see photo below), an old saloon bar, and a dancing / recreation area used by the oil workers in the 1930’s.   From there, we walk back down the canyon and return to our vehicles.

Meet:  Be at the parking area in Mentryville at 6:15 AM, for a 6:30 SHARP departure up the trail.  There is a restroom at the trailhead.


Lots of 3L of liquids (2L water and 1L Gatorade), snacks, a camera, a hat and sunscreen.  If going all the way to the top on the longer hike, you will need boots with good thread,  as the trail is sandy and the return hike is down a narrow, steep trail.  Poles are very helpful for this portion of the longer hike, if you have them.    BRING $5 CHANGE ($7 to be safe) FOR SELF-SERVE PARKING at the Trailhead!

Directions/ Parking:

From Los Angeles , drive North toward Santa Clarita on the 5 Highway.

From Antelope Valley, etc.  Follow the 14 Hwy South to where it intersects with Interstate 5. Be ready in right lane and turn North on the 5 (a big curve flyover), toward direction Santa Clarita/ Sacramento etc.

Both – A few miles North of the 5/14 interchange, look for lots of fast food/ gas etc. and exit on Lyons Avenue WEST ramp. Turn left and go over the 5 Highway.  Keep going West until it becomes Pico Canyon (maybe 2 miles).

Continue on Pico Canyon as it narrows and ends at a green gate in front of the old town of Mentryville.  Go over the bridge on the left and park close to the big pepper tree by the rest room, where we will meet.   You must pay the MRCA parking fee to park here.

If you wish to avoid the parking fee, there may still be space outside Mentryville (back at a “Y” / turnout that you pass about 3/4 mile up the road) at no charge.  You then have to walk in to meet us (extra hiking credit!).  NOTE:  If doing this, allow an additional 20 – 30 minutes for the walk in , we will leave Mentryville going West up the canyon road at 6:30 AM SHARP!!!

Leader:   Steve I.


August 19, 2017 – BEAT THE HEAT WITH MOUNTAIN AIR:  Cerro Noroeste (a.k.a Mt. Abel) to Grouse Mountain and on to Sawmill Mountain, and back

Distance:  ~ 8 miles, out and back style.

Gain: ~ 1000′

Rated: Moderate ++ (because of high altitude w/ thin air and good gain)

Time: Hike is about 4.5 hours, including a 20 minute lunch break. Expect to be back to SCV by ~ 3:00PM.

Description:  Escape the heat in SCV as we look for temperatures 20 degrees lower high in the Los Padres National Forest with this Alpine style hike. Lots of huge pines and awesome vistas on all sides. The 9 miles up the road to the Cerro Noroeste trailhead is a scenic drive in itself.

The first peak we will bag is a side-trip up a gradual slope to Grouse Mountain (8586 ft.), for a quick snack/ water break before we proceed on to Sawmill Mountain (8818 ft.).   There is plenty of gain in this hike, most of it summiting these two mountains but also on the return trip, getting back up to the cars on Cerro Noroeste Mountain road.

Bring:  3 L of liquids (2L water/ 1L elecrolytes – i.e. Gatorade, etc.).  Hiking poles are a definite plus, if you have them; lunch/ snacks, bug spray/bug net if you like, hat and sunscreen/ lip balm.  Expect spectacular views – bring your camera.

Adventure Pass:  Not required as we will not park at a serviced trail head.

NOTE: There are no bathrooms at the trailhead, so plan accordingly.

Directions (from Santa Clarita Valley) to Cerro Noroeste trailhead:  NOTE Allow 1  3/4 hours to get to the trailhead from Santa Clarita.

Take the I-5 North ~ 40 miles to  Exit 66, the Frazier Park off ramp. Exit, turn left (under highway). Go straight (West) on the Frazier Park Road for about 12 miles along the Cuddy Valley Road, passing Lockhart Valley Road (on the left) until you eventually see a brown sign on the right for Camp Bethany Pines.  Stay to the right at that fork and follow the road (Mil Portero Highway) to the town of Pine Mountain Club.  The highway twists and turns another 8.2 miles down to reach the town of Pine Mountain Club.  Pass through Pine Mountain Club, continuing West to the first major street sign on the left – Cerro Noroeste (a USFS fire station is on the left).  Turn LEFT on to Cerro Noroeste, continuing through an open chainlink fence/ gate (between two old boarded up USFS homes).  Drive 9 miles up this winding road until you see the viewpoint/ turnout at a bend on the right with the brown sign on the left, opposite the turnout. DO NOT GO TO THE TOP OF CERRO NOROESTE MOUNTAIN / the CAMP-O-ALTO lot!!

Carpooling from Santa Clarita:   (Recommended to share gas $). If you wish to carpool – meet the group at Towsley Canyon at 6.00AM to check in for a 6.15AM SHARP departure.  It is early due to extended distance to trailhead and to minimize potential for heat.  Please be respectful of your driver’s support by contributing something at the end of your carpool to help defray the cost of gas – THX.

Meet your leader at the trailhead:    Meet at the turnout/ trail head sign (see details above) on Cerro Noroeste Road at ~ 8:00AM.   Look along Cerro Noroeste for a group of hikers/ cars.  We plan to depart down the trail toward Sawmill Mountain at 8:15 AM SHARP (or whenever the SCV carpooler group, who have signed in, get there).

Leader:  Steve i.


Saturday, August 26, 2017 – Figure of 8 – from Topanga S.P. to Eagle Rock and Hub junction, then back by the Musch trail

Distance:  ~7 Miles total

Gain: ~ 1300′

Hiking Time:  ~3.5 hours

Rating: Moderate + – (due to periodic elevation gains and overall mileage)

Description: This weekend we hope to escape the August heat of the low desert by heading closer to the ocean.  We have been in this area before, however, this time we will start from Trippet Ranch and head by the meadows to get some elevation gain done early while it is cooler arriving at Eagle junction.  Then we head from Eagle Junction and up our biggest hill to Eagle Rock take in some views  before heading to the Hub where we should meet many more hikers and bikers.  Finally, we head back around to Eagle junction before finally heading to the parking lot via the shady and winding single track Musch trail.

Carpool from Santa Clarita Valley:   Meet at Towsley Canyon, outside the Towsley gate at 6.30 AM.  We will organize carpools and leave at 6:45AM SHARP, for the Trippet Ranch trailhead.

Please be respect­ful of your driver’s sup­port by con­tribut­ing some­thing at the end of your car­pool to help defray the cost of gas — THX.

Directions to Carpool meeting spot in Santa Clarita Valley: Exit the I-5 freeway in Santa Clarita Valley at Calgrove Blvd. Turn West and follow Calgrove around a curve and through one light on to The Old Road. You will now see the gate to Towsley Canyon on your right.  Park and look for a group of hikers/ leader.

Directions to the trailhead at Topanga State Park from Towsley Canyon, Santa Clarita Valley, (32 miles, ~45 mins):   Merge onto I-5 South. Keep right to continue on the I-405 S/​San Diego Fwy, following signs for Santa Monica.  After 9.0 miles, take the exit  to US101 N, towards Ventura , drive 8.2 miles on the 101 freeway, and exit at California 27 S/​Topanga Cyn Blvd.  Merge on to Topanga Cyn Blvd and drive 7.8 miles south on Topanga Canyon Blvd until you see Entrada Road on the left – this road is twisty, so be on the look out for it!  Turn East (left) into Entrada Road and drive up Entrada through the hilly neighborhood for 1 mile , following signs for Topanga State Park / Trippet Ranch, until you see cars parked on the left side of the road.  Park anywhere you can but Watch for No Parking signs and leave nothing showing in your car.  Continue up the road to the State Park parking lot.  We will meet by the bathrooms.

Meet the Hike Leader:   At Towsley Canyon to carpool (see details above) or at the Trippet Ranch Trailhead, by the parking lot bathrooms.

We plan to be at the trailhead by 7:15 AM so the group can start up the trail at 7:30 AM SHARP.  Note: Only if you have already checked in at Towsley Canyon, and are delayed in traffic, can we plan to wait for you.

Bring:  Plenty of liquids (3L), (2L water and 1L  electrolytes such as Gatorade), a snack, and shoes with good tread.  Poles would be helpful as trail is hilly and sandy in parts.

Hike portion is ~ 3.5 hours, so we should be back at Towsley by 1:30PM approx.

Dogs:  Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted on this trail by the park staff .

Adventure Pass: Not Required.

Leader: Steve I.

Car Camping Trip, September 2017: at Big Pine Creek. Get INFO Here