Topanga Lookout Loop, Plus Saddle Peak

High point along Topanga Lookout Ridge
A section of Topanga Lookout Ridge. A use trail follows along or near the crest of the ridge. It can be combined with a segment of the Backbone Trail and Stunt High Trail to create an 8 mile loop.
Google Earth view of Topanga Lookout Ridge. The mile and a half long ridge extends from near the junction of Calabasas Peak Motorway and Red Rock Road to the Topanga Lookout, gaining about 1200' in elevation along the way.
The ascent of Topanga Lookout Ridge starts near the junction of the Calabasas Peak Mtwy (fire road) and Red Rock Trail. The bottom of the ridge is on the far right of this photo of Calabasas Peak.
A section of the trail along the ridge. The ridge is associated with the Red Rock/Calabasas Peak Fault.
Ladyface peak in Agoura. Kanan Road runs along its base.
Rocks and boulders along the crest of the ridge. The path along the ridge isn't always on its crest.
Smoke from the Thomas Fire. This flare-up appeared to be along the coast. December 9. 2017.
View from a high point on the ridge, northwest to the summit of Calabasas Peak.
Smoke and high clouds over Santa Monica and the South Bay from near Topanga Lookout.
Smoke from a flare-up of the Thomas Fire burning west of Topa Topa Bluff. From near the summit of Saddle Peak. December 9. 2017.
Castro Peak and Boney Mountain from the Backbone Trail near Saddle Peak. Smoke from the Thomas Fire can be seen in the distance.
Christmas berries (Toyon) along the Stunt High Trail. There has been a bumper crop of Toyon berries this fall.
Remarkably, there was still water in Cold Creek!

A run doesn’t have to be long or difficult to be interesting. I’d done the Ray Miller 50K the week before, so was looking to do something not too long or strenuous. That didn’t mean it couldn’t be a run with an adventurous edge. After considering several options, I finally settled on the Topanga Lookout Ridge Loop, plus a short side trip to the summit of Saddle Peak.

This 8.5 mile route combines a fun run, hike and scramble up a mile and a half long ridge to the Topanga Lookout with a scenic run on a segment of the Backbone Trail. The return to the Cold Canyon trailhead on Stunt Road is accomplished by descending the Stunt High Trail from its junction with the Backbone Trail.

The Backbone Trail climbs to its second highest point near Saddle Peak and it takes only a few minutes to run over to the summit of the peak. Despite rumors to the contrary the West peak (with all the antennae) is the higher peak. That’s where the benchmark is, and 1/9th arc-sec DEM data puts its elevation about 18′ higher than the East peak.

Click/tap the arrows or swipe image to see additional photos.

Related post: Topanga Lookout Ridge Loop

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