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La Tuna Foot Trail

This hike begins just off La Tuna Canyon and is very enjoyable. There are a couple of different trails that you can access from this area, but, this one in particular is called the La Tuna Foot Trail(specifically for hiking and not biking). To access this specific trail, you will exit on La Tuna Canyon on the 210 West and make a left, you will see a pullout to park right away under the overpass, but, this is not the trailhead for this hike, keep driving West and in about a mile, you will see a small dirt pullout on your left(keep in mind that if you drive an additional .4 miles, you will see another dirt pullout on the left with a trailhead, but that will not be the La Tuna Foot Trail, so make sure you park in the first dirt pullout you see which will be about a mile from the 21o, like I said. Park here and take the dirt pathway down into a stream and you will see the trail begin towards the left. This is a good moderate hike because you will reach the top of the Verdugo Mountains in about 2 miles and you will gain about 1500 feet in elevation. The trail starts of very steep and is consistently ascending with some sections being very, very steep. This a great trail because even though you will be off La Tuna Canyon, as you ascend the trail becomes very isolated and makes you feel like you are in the middle of nowhere. You will start to get some nice views of the Verdugo Mountains, along with a nice aeriel view of the 210 on the left, as well as Mt. Lukens as you ascend. Some sections are very rocky so just be aware and proceed with caution. The first part of the trail is a little overgrown, but you should have no problem at all. As you start to climb, the trail becomes a little more more rocky but it is well maintained for the majority.

Nice view of the sky and towards Mt. Lukens.

I will call this a moderate hike, but, if this trek added another mile or so with a gain of about another 1000 feet in elevation, I would then call this a strenuous hike. The intensity is very similar to the Icehouse Canyon Trail up to the Icehouse Canyon Saddle in the Cucamonga Wilderness(which is 3.6 miles to the saddle and a 2600 foot elevation gain). Keep in mind that the La Tuna Canyon Foot Trail has several sections that ascend and descend that are steep. The final ascent to the top of the Verdugo Mountain is very steep. Please use caution as you are ascending, and, then as you head back down. When you reach the top of the Verdugo Mountain(which stands at about 2800 feet in elevation), you will see a big oak tree with a couple benches right underneath. This will be a great place to relax in the shade and enjoy a snack after a real good workout. You will also have a nice view towards the East of Mt. Lukens(which stands at just over 5000 feet in elevation and is the highest point of any mountain in the LA basin), and you will have some nice views of the San Fernando Valley towards the West. When you decide to leave, head back down the same way you came and remember to use caution on some of the sections that are very steep that go up and go down.

Top of the Verdgo Mountain where couple benches lie under the tree.

La Tuna Foot Trail Statistics:

  • Elevation Gain – 1500 feet
  • Round Trip – 4.4 miles
  • Suggested Time – 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Best Season – Any Season

Nice view of the woods off the trail.

The La Tuna Foot Trail is in the Verdugo Mountains. From the 210 West, exit La Tuna Canyon and make a left(West). You will head West for about a mile and you will see a small dirt pullout on the left. Park here. You will not need an Adventure Pass because this is not in National Forest ground.

If you have any questions about this hike, feel free to leave a comment here and/or email at 412cobrapower@gmail.com

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Chumash Trail to Rocky Peak

This is a great moderate hike with excellent views on a clear day. The juntion to Rocky Peak is 2.6 miles from the Trailhead and the entire hike is an ascencion on a ridge. The views on this ridge are towards the Pacific Ocean in Oxnard, the Santa Monica Mountains, the Los Padres Mountains, and the San Fernando Valley(Angeles Forest) as well. The trail is in a great shape and it is very rocky in some areas, but, very well maintained. You will also see some great rock formations and boulders as well that have very interesting geology. You have the option to take the Chumash Trail to the Rocky Peak Fire Road and come back, or take it all the way to Rocky Peak as well. This hike is moderately steep and you will get a pretty good workout. This is nothing compared to a strenuous hike like Cucamonga Peak or Mt. Baldy, but it is a good hike to do if you would like to condition yourself for the big summit hikes. The Chumash Trail is out on the open, so, on a hot day, make sure you bring the essentials; water, sunblock, and a hat.

Rock formation near Rocky Peak.

From the Trailhead, head North and you will have the option to go straight(which is the regular trail), or take a right(shortcut) that is quite steep if you want to cut a little time off the hike. The rest of the trail is very easy to follow, and the mileage is shown by a lot of rocks piled up together that are marked. Once you reach the junction with the Rocky Peak fire road at 2.6 miles, take a right(South), and there is an additional 1.3 miles to reach Rocky Peak, but, it will all be on the fire road, as I said. You also have the option to go left at that junction if you would like to explore the surrounding area. There is about an extra 350 feet or so of gain from the junction to Rocky Peak. Once you reach Rocky Peak, there are a few rocks that you can sit on to enjoy the views and take a little rest. Come back the same way you came up, or you have the option to stay on the trail and head down to the parking lot off the Rocky Peak exit. This could be a good option if you come with two cars; park one at the Rocky Peak exit off the 118 West, and then take the other car to the Chumash Trail Trailhead. However you plan this hike, it will be a great trek that will offer great views, interesting rock formations/geology, and provide a pretty good workout.

Danilo & Gyorgyi on a boulder off the Chumash Trail.

Chumash Trail to Rocky Peak Statistics:

  • Elevation Gain – 1350 feet
  • Round Trip – 7.8 miles
  • Suggested Time – 4 hours
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Best Season – Any

Gyorgyi with a view of Simi Valley and Beyond from Rocky Peak.

Chumash Trail is in Simi Valley; From Highway 118 West/Simi Valley Freeway in Simi Valley, exit on Yosemite Avenue and make a right(North), and drive 0.4 miles to Flanagan Drive and then turn right. Continue 0.8 miles to the Trailhead at the end of the road. Parking is free.

If you have any questions about this hike, feel free to leave a comment here and/or email me at 412cobrapower@gmail.com

Saddle Peak via Backbone Trail(from Piuma Road)

Saddle Peak is the second highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains next to Sandstone Peak. This is a great hike as you climb a ridge and get great views as you are ascending. I picked up the Backbone Trail from Piuma Road, and to get to SaddlePeak, it is about 4.4 miles with an elevation gain of about 1750 feet; thus making the round trip about 8.8 miles. The views from Saddle Peak are just as nice, if not, nicer than Sandstone Peak. You get a 360 degree view towards the Pacific Ocean, Ventura County, Downtown LA, and the San Fernando Valley. I was also able to see Mt. Baldy as well. This is a good moderate hike and it will give you a workout, so, make sure you wear a hat, sunblock and have enough water if you do this on a hot day as the first part of this hike is the switchback ascension with exposure to the Sun. You will, though, cross a very shaded creek(Cold Creek), prior to the switchbacks.

View from Saddle Peak towards the Pacific Ocean covered by clouds.

Once you reach the top of the switchbacks, it will be come very flat and you will go through a saddle; then, the trail gradually ascends and will take you to a shaded area with brush and chaparral; this section will give you the feeling that you are in the woods with a sense of isolation. This whole area, beginning from the flat section is a great area to take pictures, and, you will begin to see Saddle Peak from there; take notice of the rocky formations at the distance from the peak. Continue hiking further and you will then come to a junction; if you go straight it will take to you to Stunt Road in 0.3 miles; to get to Saddle Peak, though, take a right at the junction and head up 1.3 miles via switchbacks to the peak. This last part will also be a nice little climb. Once you get to the peak, you will be greeted by a canyon wall(where I saw some people rappelling); and you will notice some caves and big holes in the rocks with different shapes; this is a very interesting rock formation and geology; as I said. You can continue going a bit further on an incline and that will take you to the highest point where you will get dramatic views in any direction. This will be a great area to relax and enjoy your surroundings. Go back the same way you came to Piuma Road, and that will complete the 8.8 mile round trip.

Danilo standing on a rock formation at Saddle Peak.

Saddle Peak(Backbone Trail via Piuma Road) Statistics:

  • Elevation Gain- 1750 feet
  • Round Trip – 8.8 miles
  • Suggested Time – 4 hours
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Best Season – Any

Nice view towards the sky from Saddle Peak.

Backbone Trail to Saddle Peak is on Piuma Road, near Malibu Creek State Park.  From Pacific Coast Highway, you can take Malibu Canyon Road North for about 4.6 miles, and then take a right on Piuma. In about 1.2 miles, at a sharp turn in the road, look for a small dirt turnout on the left (next to a driveway at the address 25575 Piuma Road.) I parked just before this address at a dirt pullout on the right, and then took the trailhead that started on the left just before the left dirt pullout. From Highway 101, drive South on Las Virgenes for about five miles and turn left on Piuma, and follow the same directions from listed above.

If you have any questions about this hike, feel free to leave a comment here and/or email me at 412cobrapower@gmail.com

Tar Creek Falls

Tar Creek Falls is a very interesting Trek with many deep pools and waterfalls; including a very intriguing one, but, to get to the bottom of it, you will need Special equipment: 190ft rope, 190ft recovery cord, rappelling equipment, 40ft webbing, 2 rappel rings and rock descending and ascending skills. I am just writing about the hike to the end of the line where the only way to go further is to rappel. There are no signs to trailhead, so, it is not the easiest to find, but, I will list directions at the end of this post that will hopefully get you there without getting lost. The actual trailhead is not marked either, but, you will see a wired metal gate just past the trailhead, and that wil indicate that you are going the right way. As you pass the gate, just a little bit further up, you will reach a junction where you will make a left and start a descent to a creek about 2.5 miles down. The very last part of this will be a very steep descent to the creek. Once you reach the creek, head left, but the trail is pretty much gone after that as you will be boulder hopping to reach a few deep pools that you can jump into if you wish. If you do, please do so at your own risk. If you wish to reach the canyon with the main waterfall, continue forward scaling down/up canyon walls and boulders for another mile or so to reach the very end. This part of the trek is very adventurous, and if there is a big rain beforehand, you will probably be swimming. Please use caution and please do this at your own risk and remember that you will have to return the same way you came, so, try to conserve your energy by pacing yourself. The only way from here to get to the bottom of the waterfall is to rappel(which I did not do on this trek, the hike alone was fine for me).

One of the pools in Tar Creek.

I do not recommend this hike during the Summer or when it is very hot. If you do do this on a hot day, make sure you wear a hat, sunblock and bring plenty of water. This is about a 10 mile round trip and just about all of the elevation gain will be hiking back up to the parking lot. This is a great place if you want to take a dip in the pool and do a little backpacking as the creek is very nice, and, like I said, after a good rain, this is a place that you need to see. The only thing about this hike is that once you get to the creek from the trailhead, the trail is pretty much done and it is just a matter of boulder hopping from there on out, so, it is not a type of hike that you will be on a trail the whole time, but, that does not mean that this will not be one heck of an adventure. I really enjoyed it and I plan to go back again after there is more rain. Enjoy Tar Creek, be safe and watch your steps when you begin boulder hopping.

Gyorgyi with a nice view in the background.

Tar Creek Falls Statistics:

  • Elevation Gain – 1800 feet
  • Round Trip – 10 miles
  • Suggested Time – 5 hours
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Best Season – Fall to Spring

Danilo and Gyorgyi with Sespe Creek in the background.

Tar Creek Falls is located in the Los Padres National Forest. From the town of Fillmore in Ventura County, take A Street about a mile North to Goodenough Road. Turn right and continue 2.7 miles to Squaw Flat Road on the right (its marked as the Dough Flat Turnoff). Turn right and drive 4.8 miles up the winding mostly dirt mountain road to the unsigned parking pullout on the left. It’s located 1.5 miles beyond the Oak Flat Guard Station. Park in the pullout, display your adventure pass, and take the wide path to the northwest through the metal gate to begin the hike.

If you have any questions about this hike, please feel free to leave a comment here and/or email me at 412cobrapower@gmail.com

Sandstone Peak via Mishe Mokwa Trail

The Sandstone Peak hike via the Mishe Mokwa Trail is another intriguing trek with great views and interesting rock formations(Balance Rock and Split Rock). This is a 6 mile loop with an elevation gain of about 1400 feet. The trail is in good condition and offers quite a bit of shade and great places to take pictures and to just relax(Split Rock). Sandstone Peak is the tallest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains at an elevation of 3,111 feet. The peak has an excellent 360 degree view towards the Pacific Ocean, Ventura County, the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles area. This is a very popular spot so parking can be a little difficult and the drive up there is not easy as the road does twist and turn a lot and can get very narrow in certain parts. Once you get to the Trailhead, the signs are very clear and it is very easy to follow the trail to the peak. There is another way to get to Sandstone Peak via the Sandstone Peak Trail, but, that is only about a 1.3 miles to the top and steeper. My recommendation for the best experience to the Sandstone Peak is to take the Mishe Mokwa Trail.

Danilo and Gyorgyi in the Split Rock.

When you begin your hike on the Mishe Mokwa Trail, you will come to a junction about half a mile into it; stay straight on the trail, do not turn left. In 1.3 miles, you will reach Split Rock, this is a very shaded area with picnic tables where you can enjoy snacks and/or drinks with a very peaceful sense. The trail from Split Rock picks up, and at the point, you have 2.4 miles to get to the Sandstone Peak. Once you proceed on the trail, you will reach a junction, turn left. If you go straight, you can reach Balance Rock, but it is not a maintained trail. After you turn left, you will ascend quite a bit more and then it will level out. You will then reach a sign that lists a trail to the Tri-Peaks towards the right, if you wish to go that way. If you do not wish to go towards the Tri-Peaks, then continue on the trail and you will reach a sign that lists the Sandstone Peak at .9 miles away. You will then ascend more and reach a sign to Inspiration Point, which is a great area to relax and get great views. After stopping at Inspiration Point, head back down and continue towards Sandstone Peak; which at this point is about half a mile away, but you will gain about 300 feet in elevation to reach the top. The last part is pretty steep. Once you get to the top, you will have the greatest views in the Santa Monica Mountains, and just like Inspiration Point, there is plaque there as well. There is also a register that you can sign in the plaque. To finish the loop, descend from the peak and connect to the trail. Make a right and go about 2 miles back to the parking lot.

Danilo and the Plaque at the Sandstone Peak.

Sandstone Peak Statistics:

  • Elevation Gain – 1400 feet
  • Round Trip – 6 miles
  • Suggested Time – 3 hours
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Best Season – Any Season

View from Sandstone Peak.

Sandstone Peak is in the Santa Monica Mountains. From Westlake Village, exit Westlake Blvd from the 101 North, and make a left(23 South) for several miles as it merges with Mulholland Highway. Contine on the 23 South and then head West(right on Mulholland Highway). Do not go straight to Decker Road. Continue for a about a mile or so on Mulholland Highway and turn right onto Little Sycamore Canyon and it will become Yerba Buena Road as you cross the county line. Continue on Yerba Buena Road for about 4 miles to Trailhead (about a mile before you hit the Circle X Ranch Ranger Station).

If you have any questions about this hike, please leave a comment on this page and/or email me at 412cobrapower@gmail.com

Trail Canyon Falls

I have done this hike several times before the 2009 fire and I guess back then I would just not care too much about waterfalls because I did not remember passing it. I would take this trail to the Tom Lucas Camp, but, when I really got into waterfalls(I have seen a lot of them this past year), I wanted to come back and check this one out AND it was AMAZING! Though, it is prohibited to take this trail because of the 2009 fire damage, I did it anyway. The gate to the parking lot (Trail Canyon Road) is closed, so, I had to park about a 1/4 mile down the road (before you reach Trail Canyon Road) in a picnic sort of area with a bunch of trees. So, I walked back up the 1/4 mile  to the (Trail Canyon Road) and I went right through the (STOP – DO NOT ENTER SIGN). I got to the trail head and started to hike. Before 2009 this trail was well paved, but, now some parts of the trail are completely washed out and gone. I was able to make it to the waterfall because I knew which way the trail went, and though I had to hike over bushes and burnt down tree branches, I was able to see the trail again as it ascends on the left up a really nice canyon. The trail is still there on the canyon ascencion, but the weeds have pretty much grown over it, though, it is still visible as a trail. Take that all the way to the top of the canyon and then as you start veering to the left, you will see the waterfall at a distance. But to get right next to the waterfall, you have to descend down the side of the canyon on a pretty steep grade, it is manageable and doable, but, you just got to be very careful. Well, I finally got to the bottom, walked left up the creek a little bit and got to the waterfall. There was A LOT of water coming down and there is actually two waterfalls running parallel to each other about 5 feet apart. I went by myself and there was not a single soul on this trek, but, I got some great pictures. This waterfall by itself makes this hike worth it, this is one of the nicest waterfalls I have seen in this area. Just know that you will need to ascend back up on the canyon to get back to the trail, and if you are not an experienced hiker, it may be tough to climb back up. You can still see the waterfall from the trail and you can also get to the top part of the waterfall as well if you choose not to go down into the creek and get next to it. I give this waterfall 5 stars, but the trail is in pretty bad shape now(which is a shame), so, that is why I give the overall hike a 4. I did this hike on 10/29/2011.

View From Above Trail Canyon Falls.

The Trail Canyon Falls Trail does go to the Tom Lucas Camp, and, all the way to Condor Peak. The round trip to Tom Lucas Camp is about a 7 miles and about 1400 feet in elavation gain. If this trail is taken all the way up to Condor Peak, then the round trip would be about 16 miles, with an approximate elevation gain of 3800 feet. As I mentioned before, several sections of this trail are now gone and/or washed out, but as long as you keep following the stream and keep looking to your left, you will see the trail ascending the canyon that will take you to the waterfall. Also, there is poison oak, so you will have to watch out for that. As I mentioned, this trail is closed off to the public, so, please enter at your own risk, and if you do, wear long sleeves and long pants to avoid scratches and to not come into direct contact with poison oak. You can also wait until this trail re-opens, but, it does not look like that will happen any time soon, and, it is a shame as I said before because this is one of the nicest waterfalls in the area.

Trail Canyon Falls.

Trail Canyon Falls Statistics:

  • Elevation Gain – 700 feet
  • Round Trip – 3 Miles
  • Suggested Time – 1.5 – 2 hours
  • Difficulty – Moderate
  • Best Season – Late Fall to Late Spring 

View Towards Mt. Lukens.

From the 210 freeway in Sunland, take the Sunland exit and head north east to Mt Gleason Avenue. Turn left and follow Mt Gleason to a T intersection with Big Tujunga Canyon. Turn right and follow Big Tujunga 4.5 miles to Trail Canyon Road on the left. Note that Trail Canyon is a fairly narrow dirt road, a bit bumpy, but passable. Follow the dirt road to the parking area/gate. Keep in mind that that road is closed so you would have to park in a turnout about 1/4 mile below. Please park there at own risk, I did not get a ticket, and you shouldn’t either, but you never know.

If you plan to do this hike and have any additional questions, please feel free to leave a comment here and/or email me at 412cobrapower@gmail.com