Temescal Canyon in the Pacific Palisades provides a beautiful setting for a short hike. Wooded canyon? Check. Great exercise with a challenging climb? Check. Beautiful panoramic views of the Pacific coastline? This hike has all of the above. We checked this trail out late on a Saturday afternoon and were able to enjoy the sunset from Temescal Ridge.
Getting to the Trailhead
This hiking trail begins and ends in Temescal Gateway Park, located at 15601 Sunset Blvd., Pacific Palisades (at the intersection of Temescal Canyon Road and Sunset Boulevard). You can either find free parking on Temescal Canyon Road or pay for parking in the park. When we visited, parking fee was $7 for the day. As you head into the canyon, you’ll reach a series of buildings that are part of a conference center. There are restrooms here, as well as an information kisok with details on the history of the canyon and a map. Note that the maps show only the trails in the Temescal Gateway Park, and not the adjacent Topanga State Park (which this trail travels through).
We headed into the Temescal Canyon, watching for the signs to the trailhead. Although you could hike this in either direction, we wanted to take the Temescal Ridge Trail up to catch the sun before it set. We knew it would be getting dark on our way back, so we brought along our headlamps.
The trail was easy to locate, and begins immediately climbing steeply up the side of the canyon.
As you enter Topanga State Park, you’re reminded that dogs are not allowed on the trail. The trails twists and turns to climb quickly out of the canyon, then settles to a more gradual incline when you reach the ridge. There are several places along the way with great views of the coastline, so take time to stop and enjoy them.
The mid-point of the loop is almost exactly at the 1.5 mile mark. We reached the junction with the Temescal Canyon Trail. We departed from the ridge and began our descent into the canyon.
The Temescal Canyon Trail is much more shaded, with trees and brush often creating a tunnel of foliage to hike through.
At 1.9 miles, we reached the bridge overlooking what at times is probably an wonderful waterfall. Sadly, we haven’t had any measurable rain in a long while, so the best it could muster was a trickle. We will definitely return in the spring after we’ve had some good rain.
The last mile gently slopes down the bottom of the tree-lined Temescal Canyon. At this point, it was dark enough that we needed to flip on our headlamps. The crowds that swarmed the park earlier had disappeared and we had the trail to ourselves.
Finally we reached the conference center, passing a series of buildings and making our way back to the parking lot.
This was a little hike, and I can see why it’s popular with local trail runners. I’ll be back again to visit the waterfall and creek after we’ve had some rain.
Temescal Canyon Trail Map
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Temescal Canyon Tips
- Pay for parking in Temescal Gateway Park, or find free parking outside of the park
More Temescal Canyon Resources
- Top Trails: Los Angeles by Jerry Schad
- Temescal Gateway Park – official website
- Temescal Canyon Trail Map – printable PDF
Temescal Canyon Weather Forecast
Tuesday 03/26 10%
Mostly cloudy. Lows overnight in the mid 50s.
Wednesday 03/27 10%
Cloudy skies early, then partly cloudy in the afternoon. High 67F. Winds WSW at 10 to 15 mph.
Thursday 03/28 10%
Some clouds in the morning will give way to mainly sunny skies for the afternoon. High 67F. Winds WSW at 10 to 20 mph.
Friday 03/29 0%
Sunny skies. High 73F. Winds NW at 10 to 15 mph.