Topanga Canyon, Los Angeles
Topanga Canyon is an LA car destination, but totally worth getting the car and driving here. The largest wilderness inside a city IN THE WORLD. More than 12,000 mountainous acres. Visit one of the many ranches. Or stop in the village for food (Froggy's). Or catch some open-air Shakespeare in the summer at the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum. Combine this with a trip to the best So Cal beach, Zuma, and you'll have the perfect "storybook" California experience.
This is one of my favorite hikes because for 3 hours and just the right amount of elevation to give you a minor workout, you are rewarded with a beautiful view overlooking the canyon from atop Eagle Rock. You’re not likely to spot any eagles but may see hawks. I pack a picnic snack and rest at the top. There are also small caves at the top where past hikers have left native rock paintings.
Starting at Trippet Ranch in the Topanga State Park you can also do the Overlook trail or the Santa Ynez trail, also rewarding hikes for variety. The trails offer fantastic vistas, rugged peaks and small streambeds.
From Ventura Fwy (101) - take Topanga Canyon Blvd to Entrada Road on east (left) side of road. Turn east on Entrada Road and make two left turns to stay on Entrada Road to park entrance. Parking at Trippet is $5 or free along the side of the road.
From Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) - take Topanga Canyon Blvd and make a right on Entrada Road.
Take I-10 (Santa Monica Fwy) west, becomes Cal. 1 (Pacific Coast Hwy), ahead 8 miles, right on SR 27 (Topanga Canyon Blvd) to Fernwood Pacific Drive, or Malibu Canyon Blvd. to Piuma Rd. Drive up the windy mountain roads to the top (Saddle Peak). Here are the best views of LA. Sssh! Don't tell anybody! Bring a snack, for example from Chang's Country Natural Food Store (Topanga Canyon Blvd. & Fernwood Pacific Dr.)
The scenic mountain roads off of Topanga Canyon in Woodland Hills, and Sepulveda Blvd. I know of a few hidden parks in the Valley with access to horseback riding, day camping, and access to a small river (not for swimming of course). If you would like info just let me know.
Drive up one of the canyons in Pacific Palisades or Malibu. All of a sudden you are transferred to a rural wonderland just minutes from L.A.
Malibu Canyon is a suggestion along with Topanga Canyon.