Calabasas Peak from Old Topanga Canyon Road


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Looking west from Calabasas Peak
Looking west from Calabasas Peak
Geology on the Calabasas Peak Motorway
Geology on the Calabasas Peak Motorway

Calabasas Peak from Old Topanga Canyon Road

    • Location: Eastern Santa Monica Mountains between Topanga and Calabasas.  From Pacific Coast Highway, take Topanga Canyon Blvd. (Highway 27) north for 4.3 miles.  Turn left on Old Topanga Canyon Road and drive 4.1 miles to an intersection with the Calabasas Peak Motorway and Summit to Summit Motorway.  Park in a dirt turnout on the left side of the road. From Highway 101, take the Topanga Canyon Blvd. exit and head south for 1.4 miles.  Turn right on Mulholland Drive and go 0.5 miles to Mulholland Highway.  Turn left and go 1.7 miles to Old Topanga Canyon Blvd.  Turn left and drive a total of 1.6 miles to the intersection with the Calabasas Peak and Summit to Summit motorways and park in a dirt turnout on the left side of the road.
    • Agency:  Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
    • Distance: 4.2 miles
    • Elevation gain:  850 feet
    • Difficulty Rating: PG
    • Suggested time:  2 hours
    • Best season: October – June
    • USGS topo map: Calabasas; Malibu Beach
    • Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat
    • Recommended guidebook: Day Hikes In the Santa Monica Mountains
    • More information: Area map here; Everytrail report here; Strava page here (route goes all the way to Stunt Road)
    • Rating: 7

Calabasas Peak can be reached from the south starting at Stunt Road or from the west via the Secret Trail.  In this post, we’ll look at a third approach from the northwest, starting from Old Topanga Canyon Road.  This approach is probably the easiest of the three, although it still provides a good workout.  In addition to the 360-degree view from the summit, highlights of this hike include nice views of the San Gabriel Valley, the Topa Topa mountains north of Ojai and the San Gabriels.

0:00 - Start of the hike, Old Topanga Canyon Road (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)
0:00 – Start of the hike, Old Topanga Canyon Road (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)

From Old Topanga Canyon Road, head up the driveway, bearing left at a fork, and look for the trail branching off to the right.  You climb around the side of a ridge, soon reaching a fire road.  You make your way along the Calabasas Peak Motorway, noticing the summit itself in the distance to the south.  Also in your line of sight is the ocean, the western Santa Monicas including Ladyface, Castro Peak and the Boney/Sandstone complex, and the western San Fernando Valley.

0:06 - View from the start of the fire road (times are approximate)
0:06 – View from the start of the fire road (times are approximate)

A short but steep ascent brings you to the top of a knoll, about a mile from the start. The trail begins a descent, soon meeting with the Calabasas Cold Creek Trail (aka the Secret Trail) 1.3 miles from the start. This is a nice place to stop; there are some interesting sandstone formations to see and the view of the ocean to the south are great.

Continuing south along the motorway, you make your ascent a saddle just below the peak. At 2 miles, take a hairpin right turn and follow the ridge toward the summit.

0:36 - Outcrops at the junction with the Secret Trail
0:36 – Outcrops at the junction with the Secret Trail

After enjoying what can be one of the best views in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains, retrace your steps. This hike can also work well as a point-to-point by leaving another car at either the Stunt or Secret trailheads.

0:54 - Hard right on the ridge to the summit
0:54 – Hard right on the ridge to the summit

Text and photography copyright 2013 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.

1:00 - Looking north from Calabasas Peak
1:00 – Looking north from Calabasas Peak
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