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Temescal Ridge Trail



4.8 mile 7.7 kilometer point to point
84% Runnable


Ascent: 1,852' 565 m
Descent: -136' -42 m
High: 2,101' 640 m
Low: 385' 117 m


Avg Grade: 8% (5°)
Max Grade: 30% (17°)


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Run this ridge line from Temescal Gateway Park to Temescal Peak.

John McKinney

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Starting from Temescal Gateway Park, as an off-shoot to the left of the Temescal Canyon Trail, the Temescal Ridge Trail quickly and steeply ascends up the hillside.

After switchbacking a few times, the trail straightens out for the most part and continues to gain elevation. Along this stretch of the trail, you have great views of the nearby coastline, islands, and downtown L.A. Be sure to avoid taking the diverging Leacock Memorial Trail and stay on the Temescal Ridge Trail during this section. You'll eventually reach a junction with two other trails, the Bienveneda Trail and the Temescal Canyon Trail. Continue straight on the Temescal Ridge Trail and keep climbing up the mountainside.

After about 1/2 of a mile of climbing, you'll reach the interestingly shaped Skull Rock, another great place to take in the views. Continue along the Temescal Ridge Trail as it heads north. About 1/2 mile north of Skull Rock, a connecting trail coming from the west leads down to a trailhead (called Temescal Rdge Connector or Split Rock Trailhead, depending on which map you're using) accessed from the 1600 block of Chastain Parkway in the Palisades Highlands neighborhood. Beyond the junction with this connector, Temescal Ridge Trail becomes a recently widened 20' width fire road, lacking its former ambiance as a narrow, highly scenic trail, but providing needed fire safety. Continue north 2.6 miles to the small Dean Spur Trail, connecting from the east. If you choose to catch the views from the top of Temescal Peak, make a sharp right turn here, walk about 200 yards to an often overgrown entrance on the north to a short bushy climb to the top of the peak.

Returning to Temescal Ridge Trail, you can continue north a very short distance to a junction with the Backbone Trail and a bit further to a junction with the Temescal Ridge Fire Road.

Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store.

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Land Manager: NPS - Topanga State Park

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in California


46 Views Last Month
1,044 Since Jul 25, 2017



View of Catalina Island
Aug 20, 2015 near Topanga, CA
While there's plenty of urban sprawl below, up here, you feel like you're on a different world.
Mar 17, 2017 near Santa M…, CA
View of the Pacific Ocean
Aug 20, 2015 near Topanga, CA
The Temescal Ridge Trail quickly gains altitude, offering you gorgeous views of Santa Monica and the Pacific Ocean.
Mar 17, 2017 near Santa M…, CA


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