Summer Hiking in LA – Temescel Canyon Park


I often write about hikes I’ve done on my travels, and realized I should discuss local hikes for anyone traveling here. If you visit LA this summer, you must hike. Our weather and landscape require it. Temescel Canyon, Portuguese Bend, and Runyon Canyon are some of my favorites, all of which offer beautiful views and a decent workout.

I will start with a discussion of my recent go-to, Temescel Canyon. Located at the intersection of Sunset Boulevard and Temescel Canyon Road, this hike sits conveniently in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood. Should you arrive via car, you may park either on the street (for free) or in the parking lot of the park (for $10).

Wherever you come from, head into the park and walk through the parking lots. Hang left. At the end of the last parking lot, as you stay to the left, you will see the trailhead on the left. You will face stairs to the right and to the left: go right. You will then see signs and a fork. Take the path on the left and start climbing.

If you make it this summer, you will notice flowers and shrubs intruding on the trail and evidencing the fact that we received rain this past winter (for the first time in years).

It is probably impossible to get lost. When you’re going on your way up, simply continue going up. Once you have reached the summit, you will know — you will see an unobstructed panoramic view of the ocean, hills, city, and houses below.

If you are spent, you can absolutely turn around and go straight down. However, if you have it in you, continue onward. Rather than going back down the way you came, continue up the trail (directly opposite the ocean) and the trail will loop you back to the parking lot. Signs on the ground will periodically show you the way. Although the way up may get you sweating, offering a steady incline and near constant sunshine, the loop is only a few miles, and the second half contains some shade.

Again, during a sunny summer day, this trail gets hot; bring water. Should you feel like making a day of it, the park contains a number of picnic tables and grassy areas (in the shade) that are perfect for a picnic.

Look out for future posts on Portuguese Bend and Runyon Canyon, located in the South Bay and Hollywood Hills neighborhoods, respectively.