Sunday, January 23, 2011

#151: Red Rock Canyon Hike

As I mentioned in my Govinda's post (#135), I get obsessed with things. See if you can find a theme in the latest books I've read:

The people in these biographies/autobiographies are in nature fighting to survive. Their intense stories highlight the courage of the human spirit and inspire me to explore the outdoors (which explains all the recent hiking posts!).

Last weekend we set off on one of my favorite hikes so far. The Red Rock Canyon hike is nested in Topanga just off Old Topanga State Road. It's a 4 mile out-and-back hike with a "moderate" difficulty level. You can reach there either from the 101 or from PCH. We took the PCH route, turned right on Topanga Road, turned left on Old Topanga Road (by the Inn of the Seventh Ray) and left on Red Rock Canyon Road. Continue up the windy dirt path until you see the $5 parking post. Deposit your $5, then keep going until you reach the parking lot at the end of the road.

The rock caves toward the beginning of the hike

Our friends Mike, Michelle, Dan and Liz came with us on the hike. Dan and Liz knew the terrain well and showed us all the cool rock formations. As you're walking along the main dirt path, you will see some rock caves on the left. There is a small path leading up to them, and you can scramble up the rocks to an even higher vantage point. We went up there, took a look around, then came back down and returned to the main path.

This is to the left of the caves. Go up here for a nice view.

Here's your nice view.

Soon after that, we saw another narrow dirt path to the right that led across a stream. We took that path and continued up toward more beautiful rock formations.

Starting the hike upward

When we reached a sign post (see pic below), we took a break and relaxed on the large boulders. Dan said that you can keep going past the sign post, but the trail eventually peters out and you have to turn back.

This is the post that signals that you're coming near the end of the trail. You can keep going, but it peters out eventually.

This is one of the most beautiful hikes I have been on in L.A.. There were several points on the trail where I just stopped and stared in awe at the majesty of the surroundings. There were hardly any people there, it was semi-shady, and it took about 2 hours with the detours.

Our resting point before we turned back

One warning: If you come here with dogs, be sure to keep them on a leash at all times. As we were heading back, there was a ranger waiting at the gate. Our friends had a dog off leash and he gave them an expensive ticket for it. :(

One more thing: Dan said that a good place to go star gazing at night is at the end of Old Topanga Road. I can't wait to check it out!

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