Tuesday, August 16, 2011

#205: Rivas Canyon Trail

Don't let summer's heat put a damper on hiking; there's a fantastic shady hike right in Temescal Canyon Park. Most visitors to this Pacific Palisades park are there to go to Skull Rock (#112), but the absence of shade on that trail means that it's pretty grueling during the summer months. Instead, Mike and I took the lesser traveled and very shady Rivas Canyon Trail.

The Rivas Canyon trail is a 2 mile trail that connects Temescal Canyon Park with Will Rogers Park. We did it as an out and back hike, making it about 4 miles. The hike starts with a moderate ascent up and over the ridge, with most of the uphill being in the shade. Along the way, you'll catch this great view of Santa Monica:

All of the junctions on this trail are marked, with the exception of one near the ridge top. If you go to the right at the unmarked junction, in a few minutes you will find yourself next to the concrete platform in the above picture. Take the trail on the left if you don't want to pause at this detour.

Once over the ridge, you descend into the canyon and the scenery changes dramatically. Everything is covered in ivy, and tall trees tower over you. You'll pass this cool cave made of ivy as you descend:

Along the way, we walked through a fragrant fennel forest:

And we turned back when we reached this wall:

If you choose to continue past the wall, you'll soon find yourself at Will Rogers Park.

Tips for your visit:

  • Park on Sunset for free if you don't want to pay the $7 parking fee
  • As you walk from the parking lots toward the park, you will see this sign. Follow the arrow to the right to Rivas Canyon.

  • Soon you will see this sign on your right. That's your trail:

  • Most of the hike is shady, but it's still a good idea to be prepared for heat and protect yourself from the sun.
  • Be careful to stop at the stop signs in the park. There are hidden cameras and you will get a ticket if you don't stop!

Have you been on the Rivas Canyon Trail? What did you think of it? Leave me a comment below!

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