Bienvenida Loop (Topanga State Park)

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On the Bienvenida Trail, Topanga State Park
Hills on the Bienvenida Trail, Topanga State Park

Bienvenida Loop (Topanga State Park)

  • Location: Topanga State Park, between Malibu and Santa Monica.  From Santa Monica, take the Pacific Coast Highway and turn right on Temescal Canyon Road.  Go 1.1 miles to the end and turn left on Sunset.  Go 0.6 miles and turn right on Bienvenida.  Go for a mile and look for a signed entrance to Topanga State Park just before the gated community entrance.  Park on the corner of Floresta and Bienvenida and enter the park on the east side of Bienvenida.
  • Agency: Topanga State Park
  • Distance: 2.1 miles
  • Elevation gain: 550 feet
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Best season: Year round
  • USGS topo map: “Topanga”
  • More information:  trail map here; video here
  • Rating: 5

This easy to miss entrance to Topanga State Park allows access to a wide variety of trails.  The short but vigorous loop here makes a great after-work excursion, but it can easily be extended to include Skull Rock and other destinations in Temescal Gateway Park an Topanga State Park.

From Bienvenida, follow the trail along a path between two houses, and begin switchbacking up a steep slope.  Soon you arrive at a junction where you head right.  The trail climbs and descends (several side-trails branch off, but the main route sticks close to the side of the hill.)  You get nice ocean views as you make your way to the Temescal Ridge Trail.  Head left at the junction and continue to make a steep climb (this is part of the popular loop from the Temescal Gateway trailhead to Skull Rock.)  In half a mile, you arrive at a four-way split.  The right trail heads back down to the parking area; the straight-ahead trail leads to Skull Rock.  Your route takes a sharp left on the Bienvenida Trail.

The next three quarters of a mile are very enjoyable, as the trail weaves in and out of some small canyons, with good ocean views.  At the first junction you came to, head right and retrace your steps back to Bienvenida Avenue.

Text and photography copyright 2011 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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