Ferns along the Garapito Trail, Topanga State Park.
Chaparral has been described as an elfin forest, and there is probably no better trail in the Santa Monica Mountains to see why, than the Garapito Trail. From the fire road near Eagle Rock, the trail seemingly dives into a tunnel of chaparral, and doesn’t emerge until it ends at Temescal Fire Road, some 2.5 miles away.
This day I ran a 12 mile figure-eight course from the end of Reseda to Trippet Ranch via the Hub, and then returned via the Musch, Garapito, and Bent Arrow trails. Fire roads out– trails back. A shorter option goes directly to the Garapito Trail via the Hub, and then returns via the Bent Arrow trail. This is about 7.5 miles. A longer option tacks on an out and back to Parker Mesa at Trippet Ranch.
Updated May 3, 2008.
Whether it’s raining, 100 degrees, or snowing (!) you’re likely to see someone hiking, mountain-biking, or running Rocky Peak road in Rocky Peak Park. Switchbacking up from the 118 freeway, the fire road climbs along the spine of the Santa Susana mountains. It’s proximity to the San Fernando and Simi Valleys, and array of route variations, make it the choice of many for a morning or afternoon workout.
It’s not because it’s easy — the route is steep from the start, gaining 500 ft. in the first three-quarters of a mile, and 1200 ft. in just over 2 miles.
Following are some approximate one-way distances and elevation gains.
Hummingbird Trail: 0.8 miles 500 ft.
High point at turnoff to peak: 2.4 miles 1200 ft.
Johnson Motorway: 3.2 miles 1350 ft.
Chumash Trail: 3.8 miles 1390 ft.
Fossils: 4.8 miles 1800 ft.
Las Llajas Loop turnoff: 5.5 miles 1950 ft.
End of Rocky Peak Rd at Las Llajas Cyn Rd.: 6.3 2070 ft.
Related posts: Chumash Trail Snow, Oat Mountain Snow, Sunset Snow Shower.
Google search: $g(Rocky Peak), $g(Hummingbird Trail), $g(Chumash Trail)
Star Lily (Zigadenus fremontii) at Sage Ranch. This species appears to be a “fire follower.” In recent weeks it has been very common in some parts of the Topanga Fire area.
Since its acquisition by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in late 2003, Ahmanson Ranch is referred to as the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve. Just six months ago, this area was burned in the Topanga Fire.
Clouds and showers over the San Fernando Valley from the abandoned Topanga fire lookout site.
Snow highlights skeletal fingers of chaparral burned in the 2003 Simi Fire. From the Chumash Trail in the eastern Simi Valley. More info and a couple of additional photos can be found in my Coyote Oak Journal entry Chaparral Snow.