I was not able to go hiking in the Los Angeles area the weekend of May 5, 2012 as I was out of town on business during the week and took a side trip to visit family. While I was in North Carolina I took a trip to the Guilford Courthouse to “hike” around the park. It was more a walk than a hike but there are some nice hills and woods to go through.
Guilford Courthouse is the site of one of the Revolutionary War’s most fierce battles. According to the National Park Service’s website, “This backwoods county seat of Guilford Courthouse, North Carolina, was the site of a pivotal battle in the Revolutionary War’s decisive Southern Campaign. The engagement set the stage for the region’s liberation from enemy occupation and impelled British general Lord Charles Cornwallis to take the ill-fated road that led him to final defeat at Yorktown, Virginia, seven months later.”
Today we went hiking at Paramount Ranch; a former movie ranch producing those great old westerns my Dad grew up loving. The ranch is really easy to find and not one you would realize is located just a couple of miles off the 101 in Agoura Hills. The main drawback for the area is noise; there is a high amount of traffic on the roads around the ranch and the noise carries quite well. Which is interesting considering at one time there was a racetrack on the site, Paramount Racetrack.
We wanted to make sure we got a good hike in and there are ample opportunities in this park. We started going around the Medea Creek Trail which is about a one mile loop. We the ventured through “Western Town which is the old movie set; however, to keep the pace moving we did not stop to enjoy the town. Instead we headed toward “Coyote Canyon Trail” which turns into a loop as you go to the picnic area which sits on top of a hill. The disappointing thing about the picnic area is there is no view. After the picnic area we headed around the overlook toward the Hacienda Trail which meanders into Witches Wood. We then started to take a trip on Backdrop Trail but decided we were ready to head back into the town via part of Medicine Woman Trail.
Today we hiked the Grotto Trail which is located in the Circle X Ranch located next to the Point Magu State Park. Circle X Ranch is a former Boy Scout Camp sitting in the Santa Monica Mountains South of Thousand Oaks, CA near Malibu. This is a great hike for those looking for a non-fire road type of hike. The hike is considered a moderate hike and the elevation gain is around 650 feet.
One of the complaints I have of the local hiking spots is most are fire roads that allow for hiking. Grotto Trail is a true path winding through the hills and woods in this 1655 acre park. The hike is around 3.5 miles but if you park a bit further you can easily turn it into a four mile hike.
On your trip you will encounter a meadow, dash in the woods, fording a stream, and over some rather large rocks. Your trip starts by going down a nice shady path just past the camping area. After going downhill a bit you start to climb and come out looking over some impressive valley view’s where you can see some rather impressive boulder formations.
Since we did not hike on Saturday, we decided to challenge ourselves a bit with a 6 mile hike that gives you an 800 foot elevation. For today’s hike, we picked Parker Mesa Overlook located in Topanga State Park. Hiking this moderate trail you get breath taking views of the surrounding valleys and at one point downtown LA.
When you start the hike, there is a nice climb up to a split in the path. If you turn left there are at least four other trails to follow but if you want the overlook as we did you will turn right. You find yourself going up and down the hills through the canyon at time there are some steep points but not awfully bad. Be warned…there are bikes on this path and even though bikes are supposed to yield to hikers they are at times going pretty fast so, get out of their way.
At the trails end there are breath taking views of the ocean, Santa Monica, and from what I have read Catalina Island.
The return trip is just as good as the trip up. At times you find yourself going downhill and other going back up hill all while taking advantage of great views. There is not a lot of shade on this rail so make sure you wear sun screen. Also, take plenty of water…especially if it is in the 80s or higher.
After the hiking yesterday at Fryman Park, we decided to make this a two hike weekend. Today we head north of Los Angeles to Red Rock Canyon. This is not to be confused with Red Rock Canyon in the Las Vegas area – even though that is a spectacular park as well.
Getting to this park is a bit confusing as there are two entrances. The main entrance, of which we were unaware, is off of Topanga Canyon Road and is an easier hike than the one we picked. So if you are using the book Day Hikes Around Los Angeles or a great site called Local Hikes they give detailed directions to the one we picked.
After a winding trip through some pretty scenic view we find ourselves at a pull off on Stunt Road. We parked and I saw the hill…I was like are you kidding me. This hike takes you between 700 to 800 feet elevation immediately. I was astounded! The weather was a bit better than the day before no rain but still a bit chilly with the wind blowing.