Trailer Canyon Fire Road
- Location: Pacific Palisades, south of Topanga State Park. From the western end of I-10 in Santa Monica, continue on Pacific Coast Highway for 4.4 miles to Sunset Blvd. Turn right on Sunset, go 0.5 miles and turn left on Palisades. Go 2.4 miles and turn left on Vereda de la Montura. Take an immediate right on Michael Lane and drive 0.5 miles to a junction with the fire road. Park on the street and follow the fire road to the signed Trailer Canyon trailhead.
- Agency: Topanga State Park
- Distance: 4.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,000 feet
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Best season: Year round (Hot during the summer)
- USGS topo map: “Topanga”
- Recommended gear: sun hat; hiking poles; sunblock
- More information: here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 6
The Trailer Canyon Fire Road is one of several access points in the southern end of Topanga State Park. The hike to the junction with the Temescal Ridge Fire Road, described here, is a nice, moderately challenging trip where hikers are rewarded with panoramic views of the ocean and canyons. Those with time and energy can extend the hike in either direction.
From Michael Lane, the trail ascends steadily, soon providing nice views of the canyon and its unique geology, including famous Eagle Rock. The grade is fairly consistent throughout, gaining a manageable 450 feet per mile. There is no shade, although with an early start, the hillside will probably block the sun.
After three quarters of a mile, you officially enter Topanga State Park. Shortly afterward, the trail curves south, providing views of the ocean, Catalina Island and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. After doubling back to the north, the road continues its climb. At the Temescal Fire Road, take a left and walk briefly to a flat spot where you can get a good aerial view of the canyon. On clear days, you can see Santa Barbara Island and even distant San Nicolas, appearing like a flat pancake on the ocean.
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.