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To the Top of Eagle Rock: Hiking in Los Angeles

by V (writer), Venice!, December 28, 2006

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And the angles sang, “Hallelujah! Hallelujah!” At least, sitting there atop Eagle Rock, under endless blue skies, the Pacific Ocean sparkling far off on the horizon, eagles soaring in an aerial acrobatics display – all seemingly just for me - I could have sworn they did. Communing with nature is vital to my well being. And you can commune with nature within half an hour’s drive from the City of Los Angeles.

The quiet of the wilderness is not necessarily everyone’s ideal, but I am sure that I am not alone in my need to escape city life from time to time for a dose of fresh air, peace, wildlife and all the flora Mother Earth can offer us in this beautiful corner of the world. The concrete jungle of the expensive City of Los Angeles, can take its toll on an urban population working hard to sustain, in a lifestyle accented by heavy commuting.

When I first arrived in the City of Angels, I was already aware that Southern California is flush with natural wonders. I did not realize however, that access to this wilderness was closer than you’d think. Now, despite working long hours, I manage a good two hour’s hike every week across land that would have you believe you are a million miles away from one of the biggest cities in the world.

There are myriad hiking trails surrounding the greater Los Angeles area. However, as with most good hiking trails, you need to be shown. Some knowledgeable and hospitable locals introduced me to my favorite hike thus far. This hike is quite a vigorous, two hour return journey, of quiet and remote, winding and often narrow and steep trails. There are other ways to access its summit of Eagle Rock, but this is the most scenic and interesting route.

There are no dogs or bicycles allowed on these tracks. Make sure you are at least moderately fit. Take water and a cell phone for safety. Be conscious of the time so you do not risk walking in the dark on an unfamiliar trail. Always be sure when hiking to tell someone where you are going and how long you expect to be. And most importantly, DO NOT leave any trash behind!

For the enjoyment of BrooWaha readers, I will share the knowledge so kindly shared with me, continuing local tradition. Here’s how to access this fantastic hiking trail, deep within Topanga Canyon, when heading North on the PCH toward Malibu from Venice/ Santa Monica.

. Admire the Pacific Ocean all along side you on the left as you pass the Getty Villa on the right.

. Turn right onto Topanga Canyon Blvd.

. Continue up into the Topanga township and pass through it.

. On the edge of the other side of the township, while still on Topanga Canyon Blvd., you will come to a set of traffic lights at the juncture of Topanga School Rd. Continue through the lights, being careful to stay on Topanga Canyon Blvd..

. On your left, you will come upon a seafood restaurant called, ‘Froggy’s.’ At this restaurant, turn right onto the very steep, narrow and winding,‘Hillside Drive.’ Beware of children playing in the street. Play close attention to staying on ‘Hillside Drive,’ as it can surreptitiously meander into other streets.

. ‘Hillside Drive’ is a no through road and will come to an end at a gate and dirt track. Park on the side of the road and access to the beginning of the walking trail is through the gate.

. After about five minutes of walking, you will come to a set of man made steps, at the top of which you need to turn left.

. Several minutes later, you will come upon a look out point with a park bench upon it. Here you need to turn right.

. Several minutes after this, you will come to a T junction with a sign behind you on the left that will read, ‘No Bikes on Trail.’ Here you must turn right.

. In a small clearing, you will see the red, tiled roof top of a small, white toilet block, ahead in the distance. Walk toward it and cross over the narrow bitumen road in front of it.

. When you reach the toilet block, head around the building and continue straight ahead, down a dirt trail that is bordered by wooden fences. You will pass small, metal frame stock pens on your left and further down on your right you will pass a small fenced camping area with a few picnic tables, before the trail heads back in under the canopy of trees.

. This narrow trail will continue to wind beneath the canopy before it emerges to an open, grassy, hilltop clearing.

. The trail will continue for several minutes over the clearing before it submerges itself once more under the canopy for a brief period, emerging eventually again for a longer stretch in the open, then plunging back under the cover of trees.

. Back under the canopy the trail winds over a small creek bed, which runs depending upon rain.

. In less than ten minutes, the trail will take a sharp left turn, where will commence the most challenging up hill stretch of the hike.

. In a few minutes, you will reach a T junction with a look out on the left, be sure to veer right.

. In ten to fifteen minutes, the trail will finally reach the wide, dirt road at a T junction, which is the tributary of the hiking trails called, ‘Junction Hub.’ You will stand looking toward the ocean, off in the distance. To your immediate left the trail splits into two levels. The higher level bears a sign reading, ‘Eagle Rock.’ Take this route.

. Continue up this steep incline which winds around to the left and once you reach its elbow, Eagle rock will come into sight. Within ten minutes, you will come across some trash cans. Turn right here and you will be facing the summit, beautiful Eagle Rock, waiting to be climbed.

. Go back down the way you came, but not before taking some time to commune with the almost-within-arm’s-reach heavens! You may hear the angels too.

Be sure to share with someone else the knowledge shared here with you. You have to be shown a good hike.


About the Writer

V is a writer for BrooWaha. For more information, visit the writer's website.
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6 comments on To the Top of Eagle Rock: Hiking in Los Angeles

Log In To Vote   Score: 3
By Steven Lane on December 28, 2006 at 12:17 pm
This brings a lot of memories, I lived right around the corner from Froggys. It was the VFW hall then. Good article on a really neat cut of California.
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By V on December 28, 2006 at 02:03 pm
In nearly the one year to date that I have lived here, I've been hiking all over (I'm a nature girl at heart), but it is particular trails in Topanga that I love the most.
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By Umbrae on January 02, 2007 at 05:59 pm
Topanga is a beautiful trail. The open fire roads make for a great night hike. Some other amazing trails include: Santa Ynez, Coral Canyon, Temescal, Paseo Miramar, Los Liones and Will Rogers.
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By pkafka on March 19, 2007 at 07:11 pm
nice... i enjoyed this write up almost as much as i enjoyed the hike. -pk
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By V on February 16, 2008 at 04:59 am
Haha! I don't know what you said - can't remember. But I have to say Joe, I've found a lot of your comments on my stuff hidden and have gone about plus rating them so they appear again. Now, I will scroll up and do the same for this article. I wonder what you did say ...
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By V on February 16, 2008 at 05:01 am
Look! It was nice what you said ...
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