Winnetka Ridge Trail
- Location: Woodland Hills. From Highway 101, take the Winnetka Ave. exit and head south (left if you’re coming from L.A., right if you’re coming from Ventura). Follow Winnetka Ave. 1.7 miles to its ending and park where available.
- Agency: Topanga State Park
- Distance: 1.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 150 feet
- Suggested time: 45 minutes
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Best season: Year round
- USGS topo map: “Canoga Park”
- Recommended guidebook: Day Hikes In the Santa Monica Mountains
- More information: Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 4
This short trail links the south end of Winnetka Avenue with “Dirt” Mulholland, providing either a quick and convenient workout or serving as a gateway to a longer hike in the upper reaches of Topanga State Park. Though much of the trail is exposed, it’s short enough that it can be done during the summer, especially with an early or late evening start. The latter is advantageous in that several parts of the trail follow an eastern facing slope and there’s a decent amount of vegetation on the west side of the trail, blocking out afternoon and evening sun. Sunsets here are attractive as well. The Winnetka Ridge Trail could be described as a shorter, easier version of the nearby Serrania Ridge Trail.
From the end of Winnetka Avenue, climb over the fence and begin hiking uphill into Topanga State Park territory (dogs are allowed in this part of the park). Unfortunately, the litter is bad at the beginning of the trail but it soon thins out as you leave Winnetka Ave. behind.
After a few minutes, the trail makes a sudden, rather steep drop to a saddle; while most of the hike is very easy, parents with small kids might want to exercise some extra caution on this descent. The trail continues south, providing nice views of Natoma Canyon on the right and Corbin Canyon on the left. You’ll also see the outline of Mulholland in the distance and in 0.8 miles, you reach it.
From here, you can sit and enjoy panoramic views of the western San Fernando Valley with the Santa Susana Mountains beyond and the San Gabriels far to the northeast. If you have time, explore Mulholland in either direction. A popular option is to head west on Mulholland to the Natoma Ridge Trail and return via that route and several residential streets for a loop of 3 miles.
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.