Natoma Trail (Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park)
- Location: Natoma Avenue, Woodland Hills. From the east, take Highway 101 to Winnetka Ave. (exit 25). Turn left and follow Winnetka for 0.7 mile to Wells Drive. Turn right and follow Wells f0r 0.7 mile to Natoma Ave. Turn left and follow Natoma 0.7 mile to its ending and park in a small dirt lot on the right side of the road. Alternately, from the west, take Highway 101 to the DeSoto exit (26). Turn right and follow DeSoto, which becomes Serrania Ave. after crossing Ventura Blvd., for 0.5 mile where it makes a sharp left and turns into Wells Drive. Follow Wells 0.6 mile and turn right on Natoma. Follow Natoma 0.7 mile to the end and park on the right.
- Agency: Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority
- Distance: 1.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 400 feet
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Best season: September – June
- USGS topo map: “Canoga Park”
- Recommended gear: sun hat
- More information: Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 5
Named for a former city councilman who was known for his conservation efforts on behalf of the Santa Monica Mountains, Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park sits between the residential communities of the south San Fernando Valley, Topanga State Park and the “Big Wild” west of the Sepulveda Pass. The 1,500 acre park is often used as an access point for longer hikes in Topanga State Park and also contains the entirety of several shorter routes such as the Winnetka Ridge Trail, Corbin Canyon and this loop featuring the Natoma Trail. Unlike trips into Topanga State Park, these shorter hikes are dog friendly. The route described here can easily be extended in either direction on Dirt Mulholland, but for those short on time it makes for a quick convenient workout with good city and mountain views.
From the end of Natoma Avenue, follow the dirt road into the park. Almost immediately you come to an unsigned but obvious junction. The loop can be done in either direction but by staying straight and climbing through the canyon, the ascent is more moderate. The trail is overgrown eroded in spots so be careful as you make your way uphill. Other than a few scattered oaks and willows, there is virtually no shade. The trail curves around the southwestern wall of the canyon, soon leaving the street noise behind.
At 0.7 mile, you reach the unpaved stretch of Mulholland Highway. Turn left and climb gradually for 0.2 mile to an unsigned but obvious junction. This is the return route. Turn left and begin a steep descent along a ridge, enjoying views of the San Fernando Valley and the Santa Susana Mountains beyond. After climbing briefly, the trail makes a hard left and drops back into the canyon, now a fire road. Follow it to the bottom where it rejoins the Natoma Trail, completing the loop and retrace your steps back to the end of the street.
Text and photography copyright 2016 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.