Monday, September 7, 2020

TEMESCAL CANYON HIKE: Nature at the Edge of the City, Los Angeles, CA

Trail to waterfall from Temescal Gateway Park, Pacific Palisades, CA
On a recent weekday afternoon, we set off for Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles for a hike in Temescal Gateway Park and from there into Topanga State Park (part of the Santa Monica Mountains.)
A kiosk at the entrance of the park displays a helpful diagram of the park on one side and a map with hiking trails on the other. Temescal Gateway Park encompasses a large grassy area and a wooded complex used as a conference center. (Due to the pandemic, the conference center is closed and few people were around.)
A map provides a guide to several trails that branch off from the park.

After parking in the large lot just off Sunset Boulevard, we followed the road through the conference center to the Temescal Waterfall trail head. (A parallel path follows the creek bed.)

Nasturtiums have gone wild along the shady forest floor.

The park was first developed in the early 20th century and has been preserved as a natural area ever since. The trees are enormous, growing tall to reach the light from the bottom of the canyon. They also provided shade for most of our walk, making this a pleasant excursion on a warm summer day.

Giant pines, oaks, and eucalyptus tower over the path.

Elderberries and other plants along the path. Chapparal covers the upper slopes of the canyon.

After walking along under an archway of ancient trees and  passing a shaded picnic area, the path narrowed and began to climb, opening up to provide a view of the top of the canyon. A variety of summer flowers were in bloom and elderberries were ripening in the sun. A red-tail hawk soared overhead.
The history of Temescal Canyon goes back to the early days of Pacific Palisades.

We were running out of time so stopped just short of the waterfall–which in summer is barely a trickle–and retraced our steps back to the parking lot. Had we continued, we would have crossed a small bridge and returned to the beginning of the trail on the other side of the creek. Next time we’ll start earlier, and do the full loop! Or, perhaps, try one of the other trails into the park.
The branches of a California live oak are thick with age.

For directions and a description of the hiking options in Temescal Canyon click HERE.


Cathy Bonnell said...

You always find somewhere interesting to walk & hike—thanks for sharing!

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