Goat Peak (Pacific Palisades)

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  • Location: Chautauqua Blvd, Pacific Palisades. From the end of the 10 Freeway, take Pacific Coast Highway 2 miles to Chautauqua Blvd. Take a right on Chautauqua Blvd (not a hard right onto Channel Drive) and follow Chautauqua one mile to Sunset Blvd. Turn left and make an immediate right on Hartzell St. Go 0.1 mile and turn right on Drummond St. Go 0.1 mile and turn left on Chautauqua. In 0.1 mile, bear right to stay on Chautauqua. Follow it one mile (exercise caution as the road is narrow with several blind turns). Just after the second junction with Berea Place, you reach the end of public access on Chautauqua Blvd. Park where available just below the “Y” junction with a service road. If you are coming from the 405 Freeway, take the Sunset Blvd. exit and head west for 5 miles. Turn right on Chautauqua Blvd. and follow it to its end as described above.
  • Agency: The peak is within the boundaries of Topanga State Park, but the trail is unofficial. The park will not take responsibility for injuries or inconveniences that may occur on the hike and neither will this website.
  • Distance: 3.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 1,150 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Steepness, terrain, elevation gain)
  • Suggested time: 2 hours
  • Best season: October – June
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat; sunscreen; insect repellent
  • Dogs: Not allowed
  • Cell phone reception: Good; weak to fair in some spots
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping/backpacking: None (nearest is at Musch Meadows, Topanga State Park)
  • More information: Trip description here; Gaia GPS page here
  • Rating: 6

Updated February 2019

Not to be confused with the Goat Buttes of Malibu Creek State Park, Goat Peak (elevation 1,729) is a prominent bump on a ridge between Temescal Canyon and Rivas Canyon in the eastern Santa Monica Mountains. The summit and use trail that climbs the south ridge from the end of Chautauqua Blvd. are not officially acknowledged but the trail receives regular maintenance and the peak regular visitation. That being said, it is a bit surprising that Goat Peak is not better known considering its proximity to civilization and the rigorous workout it offers.

This post describes the shortest approach to the summit, from the end of Chautauqua Blvd. Some hikers opt to start at either Temescal Gateway Park (west) or Will Rogers State Historic Park (east) and take the Rivas Canyon Trail. Begin by heading up Chautauqua and enter through an opening in the black metal fence on the right side of the road, bypassing the main gate to the reservoir. Just beyond the end of the pavement follow an unsigned but obvious trail a short distance uphill to a junction. Bear left and follow the Rivas Canyon Trail a few yards. The main trail continues west to Temescal Gateway Park. To get to Goat Peak, take a hard right and begin the first of several steep uphill climbs.

You soon reach a bump on the ridge where you get a good view of the ocean to the south and Goat Peak to the north. The use trail follows the ridge, dropping to a saddle. Here the trail splits; the left fork climbs a small bump while the right dips along the chaparral-covered side of the ridge. The two forks rejoin in about 0.1 mile.

From here, simply continue north along the ridge, passing two more bumps before making a final ascent of about 300 feet. This section begins with a short scramble that is somewhere between class II and III. At the top of the scramble, the trail continues a short distance to the summit.

Here you can enjoy a view of the ocean, downtown Los Angeles and the surrounding peaks and canyons of the Santa Monicas. After taking in the scenery and resting up for the steep descent, simply retrace your steps. It is also possible to make a loop by continuing north to the Backbone Trail and following it back to Will Rogers State Historic Park, then completing the loop on the Rivas Canyon Trail. For more information about that route, click here.

Hike to Goat Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Entering the gate at the end of Chautauqua Blvd
Trail to Goat Peak, Pacific Palisades, CA
Start of the trail at the end of Chautauqua Blvd
Trail to Goat Peak, Santa Monica Mountains
Leaving the Rivas Canyon Trail (ignore the arrow)
Goat Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
One of several ascents along the ridge
Goat Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
View of Goat Peak from about half a mile away
Goat Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Scramble at the base of the summit
Goat Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Looking west from the summit
Goat Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Looking south from the summit

Text and photography copyright 2019 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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