Category Archives: trails

Running to the Temescal Canyon Cascade From the Top of Reseda (Two Ways)

Temescal Canyon Cascade

The Temescal Canyon “waterfall” is an immensely popular cascade, most often accessed from Temescal Gateway Park using the Temescal Canyon Trail. Judging from the number of people on the trail, a loop incorporating the Temescal Canyon and Temescal Ridge Trails is also very popular.

Even though many refer to it as a waterfall, it’s not a dramatic river-wide fall, such as Nevada Fall in Yosemite. Picture a Japanese garden with a gurgling little stream, cascading down through rocks into a pool, surrounded by an artistic arrangement of plants and trees. There’s even the requisite bridge to complete the composition. It would be meditative if it were not so popular.

Cloud-shrouded view northwest from Temescal Peak to the Cathedral Rocks/Hub area. (Thumbnail)
Cloud-shrouded view of the Cathedral Rocks/Hub area.

Over the past few weeks, I’ve run from the Top of Reseda (Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park) to the Temescal Canyon Cascade two ways — a 15-mile out-and-back and a 21-mile loop.

The out-and-back route from the Top of Reseda was one of those “I’ll just go a little bit farther” runs. It had rained the day before and the NWS forecast called for a chance of showers in the morning and then showers likely in the afternoon.

High Point (Goat Peak) from Temescal Ridge. (Thumbnail)
High Point (Goat Peak) from Temescal Ridge.

With the weather unsettled, I didn’t have a particular plan in mind. When I started the run, it looked like it might rain at any time, so I decided to run to Temescal Peak, and then play it by ear from there. Once on Temescal Peak, the weather seemed to be holding, so I continued to Temescal Lookout. From the Lookout, Green Peak was just a “little bit further,” and in a few minutes, I was standing on top.

I continued to be drawn down Temescal Ridge in this fashion, and before I knew it was at the junction of the Temescal Ridge and Temescal Canyon Trails. From there, it was only a half-mile down to the cascade.

Scrambling up Boney Mountain's Western Ridge (aka Mountaineer's Route) on an adventure run to Sandstone Peak. (Thumbnail)
Scrambling up Boney Mountain’s Western Ridge

Two weeks later, I was back at the Top of Reseda. It had rained an inch and a half in Downtown Los Angeles a couple of days before, and a well-advertised multi-day rain event was forecast to begin the following day.

The previous weekend, a friend and I had climbed/run to Sandstone Peak from Wendy Drive. Temps in the sun reached into the 80s, and maybe I talked too much and ate and drank too little. On the way back, I hit the wall near the turn onto the Upper Sycamore Trail.

Cootamundra wattle (Acacia baileyana) in Will Rogers State Historic Park. (Thumnbnail)
Cootamundra wattle at Will Rogers.

This morning, I had no idea how my legs were going to feel. My loosely defined plan was to run out the Rogers Road segment of the Backbone Trail from the Top of Reseda and see. If the legs held up, I’d continue to Will Rogers State Historic Park. If not, maybe I’d do Goat Peak or something else.

The temperature was in the 40s most of the way down to Will Rogers. With the cool weather, it seemed my running was back to normal. From Will Rogers, I headed over to Rivas Canyon, where I found Sierra Club volunteers hard at work on the Rivas Canyon Trail. This enjoyable trail links Will Rogers to Temescal Canyon and is a key part of the loop.

Cactus and agave along the Rivas Canyon Trail. (Thumbnail)
Cactus and agave along the Rivas Canyon Trail.

Once down in Temescal Canyon, there was a constant stream of hikers going up the Temescal Canyon Trail to the cascade. With the recent rain and good weather, the cascade had more water and more people than on the run in January. A large group rested near the bridge, and hikers hustled and bustled up and down the trail. The little cascade gurgled and burbled in the morning sun, glistening bubbles popping up beneath the plunging stream and then disappearing as they wandered downstream.

Soon, I was chugging up the trail toward its junction with the Temescal Ridge Trail, retracing my steps from two weeks before.

Some related posts:
Will Rogers – Rivas Canyon – Temescal Canyon Trail Run
Go Figure: An Extended Version of the Will Rogers – Temescal Canyon Loop
Sandstone Peak from Wendy Drive

Trippet Ranch Loop Plus Temescal Peak and Temescal Lookout

Eagle Rock, Clouds and Sun. Photography by Gary Valle'
Eagle Rock

There are many ways to extend the 12.5-mile Trippet Ranch Loop. A couple of my favorites are the Trippet Ranch Loop Plus Parker Mesa Overlook (18.6 miles) and Trailer Canyon – Santa Ynez Canyon – Trippet Ranch Loop (17.2 miles) trail runs.

Runners descending Cathedral Rocks in Topanga State Park (thumbnail)
Runners descending Cathedral Rocks, near the Hub

Lately, I’ve been doing another option — adding an out and back from the Hub to Temescal Peak and Temescal Lookout and then continuing on the Trippet Ranch Loop from the Hub.

This extends the run to about 16 miles, plus Temescal Peak and Temescal Lookout are excellent viewpoints (video).

That’s the run I did this morning, plus a quick stop at Cathedral Rocks (near the Hub) along the way.

Explore the scenery and terrain on the Trippet Ranch Loop Plus Temescal Peak and Temescal Lookout trail run using our high resolution,  interactive, 3D viewer. The imagery is so detailed, it’s almost like being there! To change the view, use the control on the upper right side of the screen, the CTRL key and your mouse, or touch gestures. Track and placename locations are approximate and subject to errors. Poor weather, and other conditions may make this route unsuitable for this activity.

Some related posts:
Seventh Wettest Water Year Results in Spring-Like Scenery Along L.A. Area Trails
Out and Back Trail Run from the Top of Reseda to Parker Mesa Overlook
Trailer Canyon – Santa Ynez Canyon Trail – Trippet Ranch Loop
Garapito Trail Runs
Popular Trails in Topanga State Park Damaged by Winter Storms

Chumash – Las Llajas Loop Plus

Coquina Mine Trail/Marr Ranch Trail Connector
Coquina Mine Trail/Marr Ranch Trail Connector

In this case the “Plus” is an alternate finish to the counterclockwise Chumash – Las Llajas Loop.

Working on the trail that connects the Coquina Mine Trail and Las Llajas Canyon to the Marr Ranch Trail. (Thumbnail)
Working on the trail that connects the Coquina Mine Trail (and Las Llajas Canyon) to the Marr Ranch Trail.

This variation bypasses the last couple of miles of Las Lajas Canyon by using a relatively new trail that splits off the Coquina Mine Trail and connects to the Marr Ranch Trail.

It adds about 1.5 miles and a few hundred feet of elevation gain to the Chumash – Las Llajas Loop but gets you up and out of the canyon and on a ridgeline with excellent views of the surrounding terrain.

I’ve always wondered who maintains the connector trail and happened upon that person on this morning’s run.

Some related posts:
Chumash-Las Llajas Loop
Not So Flat Las Llajas Canyon
Exploring Las Llajas

Back on the Old Boney and Serrano Valley Trails

Boney Mountain from the Serrano Valley Trail.
Boney Mountain from the Serrano Valley Trail.

Not all trails will have a smooth tread, good footing, trimmed vegetation, trail signs and other luxuries. What you see is what you get, and sometimes what you get is not perfect.

That was the case on last May’s run to the Serrano Valley from Wendy Drive. A long stretch of the Old Boney Trail was all but impassable. The trail was badly overgrown, the day foggy and gray, and everything was dripping wet.

Sycamore leaves scattered along the Serrano Canyon Trail (thumbnail)
Serrano Canyon Trail

But there is just something about immersing yourself in the good and not-so-good that nature offers. It’s part of what nature is. The splendid display of wildflowers seen on that run was a result of the rainy season that produced the overgrown trail.

Curious to see how that section of trail had changed in seven months, this morning I was back on the Old Boney Trail and on my way to Serrano Valley. It had rained around 4 inches during the week, and I expected the mud to be like glue and creek crossings wet.

Use of the trail had improved its condition. There were still some overgrown sections but most of the time I could see my feet, as well as the ruts and rocks on the trail. It was muddy in the usual places but the globs of mud on my shoes didn’t reach dinner plate proportions.

The Fireline Trail climbs out of Sycamore Canyon. Boney Mountain is in the distance.
Fireline Trail with Boney Mountain in the distance.

In the wake of the storm, the weather was exhilarating. Postcard clouds decorated the crest of Boney Mountain and a cool breeze filtered through the canyons. Despite all the rain, Serrano Creek was flowing at a modest level, and I emerged from Serrano Canyon with dry shoes.

It was a day for a longer run, and when I reached Sycamore Canyon fire road, I turned left (south) and continued down the canyon to the Fireline Trail. Going up the Fireline Trail to Overlook Fire Road extended the run and expanded the views. A right turn on Overlook Fire Road lead to the top of the Ray Miller Trail, and from there to the Hub. These junctions offer additional opportunities for extending the run.

Today, I ran down Hell Hill, over to the Two Foxes Trail via Wood Canyon Fire Road, then picked up Sycamore Canyon Fire Road near the Danielson Multi-Use Area and followed it to the Upper Sycamore Trail, Danielson Road, and Satwiwa. This interactive, 3D terrain view shows the route.

Some related posts:
A Really Overgrown Trail, Thirty Creek Crossings, and Thousands of Wildflowers
Old Boney to Serrano Valley, Plus Fireline and Overlook
Serrano Valley from Wendy Drive

Spring Wildflowers in December?

Paintbrush blooming in mid-December in Cheeseboro Canyon in Southern California near Los Angeles
Paintbrush blooming in mid-December in Cheeseboro Canyon

The paintbrush above, and the following Spring-blooming wildflowers were photographed on December 14,2023, on a trail run from the Victory Trailhead of Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve. With the exception of the black mustard, the wildflowers were found along a half-mile stretch of dirt road connecting upper Las Virgenes and Cheeseboro Canyons.

The false Spring was the result of rain from Tropical Storm Hilary in August, an extended period of wetter than normal weather, and somewhat warmer Fall temperatures. The Water Year that ended September 30, 2023 was the seventh wettest on record for Los Angeles and Calendar Year 2023 was the sixth wettest.

Some related posts:
– A Second Spring at Ahmanson Ranch
– Seventh Wettest Water Year in Los Angeles Results in Rarely Seen Trail Conditions
– Looking For Local Impacts of Tropical Storm Hilary

 

A Displaced Bridge, Exceptional Backbone Trail Views, and a Card Table Along the Bulldog Loop

Rock formation along the Backbone Trail. Photography by Gary Valle'

The photograph above was taken a few steps off the Backbone Trail, between the Corral Canyon Trailhead and Mesa Peak Motorway fire road. Also in the area was a set of table and chairs that might be used for an ocean-view card game or a lunch break.

These scenes were about halfway through a variation of the Bulldog Loop that starts/ends at the Cistern Trailhead on Mulholland Highway. The route follows the Cistern, Lookout, and Cage Creek Trails down to the Crags Road Trail, just east of where it crosses Malibu Creek.

A permanent bridge used to span the creek, but after being washed out several times in Winter floods, a “seasonal” bridge was put in place. The seasonal bridge is removed when there is a threat of flooding, such as during the rainy season.

This morning, the temperature in the canyon was in the mid-thirties. That was cool enough that I didn’t want to get wet, and I hoped the removal of the bridge had been delayed. But several days of rain were in the forecast, and as I neared the creek, I could see the bridge now lay alongside trail.

A log spanned the creek where the bridge once stood. Using a suitable stick as a hiking pole, it was easy to cross the log, stay dry, and continue the loop.

Some related posts:
Best Trailhead to Start the Bulldog Loop?
Bulldog Loop Plus the Phantom Loop
After the Woolsey Fire: Bulldog Loop