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Parker Mesa Overlook from Trippet Ranch

Parker Mesa Overlook Panorama

The Parker Mesa Overlook is perched high above Malibu in Topanga State Park, with expansive views of the coast as well as the LA basin. This out-and-back route clocks in just under seven miles, mostly along a well-graded fire road. The trail is popular with trail runners, hikers and mountain bikers, who enjoy the ocean breezes and the panoramic vistas.

Trail Details
Distance: 6.8 miles
Time: 60-80 min.
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation gain: 1,921 ft
Dogs: No
When to go: Year-round
The trail begins at the headquarters of Topanga State Park — historic Trippet Ranch — and meanders up and down towards the coast. We hiked this on a clear day, and could see the islands off the coast, a clear view of the skyscrapers in West LA as well as downtown, and the coastline out to Palos Verde. It was a beautiful hike, and because of the wide, well-graded trail could be perfect for catching the sunset, then hiking back with headlamps.

Getting to the Trailhead

This trail to the Parker Mesa Overlook begins at Trippet Ranch in Topanga State Park. This ranch was originally homesteaded by the Robinson family back in the 1890s, and sold to Federal court judge Oscar Trippet in 1917. Today, it is the headquarters of Topanga State Park.

Trippet Ranch is located at 20825 Entrada Road, Topanga CA 90290. Click here to generate your own driving directions to the trailhead on Google Maps. The park is open from 8am to sunset, and charges $10 for day use parking. I prefer to pay for parking and support the park system, but you can park outside of the park on Entrada Road. Fair warning: there are signs explicitly stating that you must park off the pavement. I have seen cars partially hanging out on the pavement being ticketed, and I’m sure they ended up paying much more than  the $10 parking fee.

Trail Overview

At the parking lot there are restrooms and in the corner, this sign marks the beginning of the trail. We start out hiking through 100-year old native oak trees with the early morning sunlight filtering through.

At the first junction (about 0.25 miles), we turned right — there’s a sign pointing the direction to the Parker Mesa Overlook — and followed this dirt fire road.

Soon the trail begins to climb steadily. As the trail approaches a bend, you’re treated with a bench and your first view of the Pacific Ocean. On this day, we could even see Catalina Island in the distance.

From here the trail snakes along the ridge line like a roller coaster.  There isn’t much tree coverage, so depending on the time of day and weather you’ll get a lot of sun.

Along the way there are distinctive geological formations of sandstone common in the Santa Monica Mountains.

At the 2.9 mile mark, we reached a junction with a trail that climbs from Pacific Palisades and a broad single track trail that heads the last 0.5 miles to Parker Mesa Overlook. Look for the trail marker, or simply head towards the coast and you’ll find your way.

The Parker Mesa Overlook has several benches with sweeping views of the LA basin and the coastline. We stopped here for a light lunch and appreciated how clear it was today. This would be an amazing spot to watch the sunset!

Imagine what this view would look like when the San Gabriel Mountains are covered in snow!

After satisfying our appetite for these beautiful views, we retraced our steps back to the trailhead at Trippet Ranch.

This 6.8 mile out-and-back route follows a well-maintained fire road. We shared the trail with mountain bikers and trail runners, but it never felt crowded or even really busy. We’re looking forward to hiking this trail again to watch the sunset.

Parker Mesa Overlook Trail Map

Download file: trippet-ranch-to-parker-mesa-overlook.gpx

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