Nestled away off old Topanga Canyon road in the heart of the Santa Monica mountains, lies the quaint and picturesque hidden park, Red Rock Canyon. This park is truly off the beaten path and is a little tricky to find, but if you are looking for an escape from the hustle of Los Angeles without going to far out, this is the place to visit for a hike. It's so pretty and desolate that you don't even feel like you are in LA!
Length: 4.5 miles out and back | Level: Moderate | Duration: 2-3 hours | Elevation: 900 | Dogs: Yes on leash Parking fee: $5
Directions to the park can be found here.
There are a couple of trail options at the park, the main one being the actual Red Rock Canyon trail (2.5miles RT) itself which takes you to the first view of the red rock sandstone. Great write-up on that specific trail here. I chose the second option to take the trail up to Calabasas Peak, but if you have the time and the energy you can definitely fit both in. Calabasas Peak also connects to several other trails in the mountains here which you will see along the way, and it's the highest point on this trail providing a great workout with amazing views!
Begin at the trailhead of Red Rock Motorway, which is right off the parking lot where you pay a small fee of $5 (cash or card is fine) This hike isn't typically a high trafficked one, so there should be plenty of spaces to park. Otherwise, there are some areas to street park, but as this is a very quaint and quiet neighborhood I would try to avoid that.
Quick Trail Tips:
This hike is steep, has little to no shade, and is hot in the summer months. Come prepared with water, sunscreen and a hat
Wear sturdy hiking shoes as the trail is rocky and with the ascent those will help going up and down
Pack a lunch or snacks. The peak at the top makes for a nice relaxing picnic spot
Morning or evening is best to do this hike to avoid the afternoon sun
Upon the first quarter of a mile, on your right you have the trailhead to the Red Rock Canyon peak which is super easy to miss, and on your left a cave. If you want to fit in the Red Rock peak, take a right at this small sign marker across from the cave. If not, continue up toward Calabasas Peak.
At the 1.1 mile mark, you reach what's called the T-Junction. This is where the Red Rock Motorway and Calabasas Motorway meet which also branch off to other trails here as mentioned. If you take the path to the left from here, it will take you down to the Stunt Road entrance to this trail. To the right continues upwards, and there's a bench here to rest and get ready for the hardest part up to Calabasas Peak!
As you make your way up from T-Junction, there's a really picturesque spot here on the sandstone. This is about the halfway point-- a little bit less than a mile to the top of Calabasas Peak. Moving right along the trail gets steeper and steeper, but the scenery gets better and better so it's definitely worth stopping off here to get some amazing shots!
As you continue upwards toward Calabasas Peak, it will get hotter and steeper! But, looking back as you near the top you can see the progression of the trail through the mountains. This trail is also biker friendly, so you'll be impressed with all the hard-core bikers who will pass you on this trek as well.
Finally as you make your way through the last turns of the trail, you've arrived at Calabasas Peak. It took us about an hour to get to the top, and the last stretch to this point is quite steep. It's very gratifying knowing the trip back is all downhill! The descent took us about 40 minutes, and with our rest and snack at the top of the peak, it put the day at around 2 hours.
The top provides a perfect 360 view of the canyons here, including Red Rock Peak which you can see in the distance, and this nice picturesque photo spot to celebrate the hill you've conquered! This hike is perfect to do with friends and at any time of day when the weather is cool in CA. Great workout, views, and it's hardly ever crowded so that makes it even better!
Address to Red Rock Canyon Park: 23601 W. Red Rock Road, Topanga, CA 90290
Directions to the park can be found here.
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