West Mulholland Trails

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  • Location: At the western end of the dirt section of Mulholland Drive, western San Fernando Valley. From the west, take Highway 101 to the Valley Circle/Mulholland exit (29). Turn left onto Calabasas Road and make a quick right onto Mulholland. Go 2.7 miles to Canoga Avenue, make a quick right and an immediate left onto the unpaved continuation of Mulholland. The trail head will be on the right on 0.3 mile. From the eastern San Fernando Valley, take Highway 101 to Canoga Avenue (exit 26B). Turn left and head south on Canoga Avenue for 1.8 miles. Turn left and make an immediate left onto Mulholland and follow it 0.3 mile to the trail head. Park where available, noting posted restrictions.
  • Agency: Topanga State Park
  • Distance: 1.6 miles
  • Elevation gain: 650 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1 hour
  • Best season: September – June
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles sun hat
  • Dogs: Not allowed
  • Cell phone reception: Good
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping/backpacking: None (nearest is at Topanga State Park)
  • More information: Map My Hike report here
  • Rating: 5

This hike explores two short but steep trails in a remote northwestern corner of Topanga State Park, accessed by the currently undeveloped West Mulholland Trailhead. Though the trails are unsigned and overgrown in some spots, they are both fairly easy to follow and appear to get regular use. Together, they offer a good workout and a pleasantly rugged hike considering their proximity to suburbia.

From the sign on Dirt Mulholland, follow the trail into a meadow and almost immediately arrive at a split. Turn right and almost immediately turn right again and follow the trail up a ridge where you’ll notice the ruins of a building. Turn left and begin a steep climb, gaining 400 feet in less than half a mile. A few clusters of scrub oaks provide some shade during the ascent. Ignore two other trails on the right that head downhill before reaching the top of the ridge. From a small bump, you can enjoy views of the San Fernando Valley extending to the Simi Hills to the north and the Santa Monica Mountains to the south.

After retracing your steps and exercising caution on the loose terrain, rejoin the path in the meadow and follow it southeast. After a gentle 0.1 mile or so, your work begins again when the trail bends left and makes a steep climb up an overgrown ridge. Just before the top, look for an unsigned trail on the left.  It bends northwest, briefly climbing before following the ridge, providing more impressive views of the Valley. You then drop sharply back into the meadow, completing the loop. Retrace your steps to Dirt Mulholland.

West Mulholland Trail, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Beginning the loop through the meadow (route to the ridge is on the right)
West Mulholland Trails, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Scrub oaks on the trail en route to the ridge
West Mulholland Trails, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Oaks just below the high point on the ridge
West Mulholland Trails, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Descending the eastern ridge back toward the trail head

Text and photography copyright 2017 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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