Difficulty PG Distance 2.1 to 5 miles General information: Dogs allowed General information: Hikes with free parking Rating: 4-6 Santa Monica Mountains (East) Season: All year

Viewridge Trail


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Viewridge Trail, Topanga Canyon, CA
View from the picnic area south of Santa Maria Road
Bridge on the Viewridge Trail, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Footbridge on the Viewridge Trail

Viewridge Trail

  • Location: Off of Topanga Blvd. in Topanga Canyon.  From Highway 101, drive south on route 27 (Topanga Canyon Blvd.) for 3.7 miles.  Turn left on Viewridge and drive 0.5 miles to the end of the road. Park by the signed trail head.  From Pacific Coast Highway, head north on Topanga Canyon Blvd. for 9 miles and turn right on Viewridge.
  • Agency: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
  • Distance: 2.5 miles (out and back with short loop)
  • Elevation gain: 300 feet
  • Suggested time: 1.5 hours
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Best season: Year round
  • USGS topo maps: Canoga Park; Topanga
  • Recommended guidebook: Day Hikes In the Santa Monica Mountains
  • More information: Edelman Park homepage here; video of the hike here
  • Rating: 6

Known also as the Santa Maria Canyon Trail, the Viewridge Trail is located in the eastern end of Summit Valley/Edmund D. Edelman Park, in Topanga Canyon.  This is the type of trail that’s great to keep in mind for a quick little getaway into nature before or after work.  It’s short, but offers a nice variety of canyon and ocean scenery, and is not as well traveled as some of the other trails in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains.

From Viewridge, look for the signed trail and begin your descent. (The lower end of the hike, Santa Maria Road, is private, so you must start up here and do it as a “reverse” hike.) You get nice views into Topanga Canyon, espeically at dusk, and the area is pleasantly quiet, with the hills blocking out much of the street noise. Stay left at a “Y” junction and follow the trail into an oak woodland, where you cross the canyon on a wooden footbridge.

Just under a mile from the start, you’ll reach Santa Maria Road. If you’re short on time, this is a good turnaround point but to explore further, head right and pick up the next leg of the trail a little ways downhill. Stay left at a junction (the right fork leads straight into a meadow for views that are pleasant but no better than from the upcoming overlook.) At another junction soon after, bear right on a somewhat overgrown trail that leads down into a clearing. Here, either at a picnic table or atop a sandstone outcrop, you can enjoy excellent views of Topanga Canyon’s trademark geology and of Santa Maria Creek.

After retracing your steps, the trail reaches another split. The “official” trail heads left, although with a short detour on the right fork, you can arrive at another spot with great views. Follow the trail uphill to another junction with Santa Maria Road. Turn left and follow it steeply downhill back to the first leg of the trail. Turn right and retrace your steps back uphill to your starting point.

Text and photography copyright 2015 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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