Located northwest of LA and Santa Monica, the 11,000 acre Topanga State Park is located in the cliffs and canyons of the Santa Monica Mountains with 36 miles of horseback riding trails through open grassland, live oaks and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. Excellent recreational opportunities for hikers as well as mountain bikers (restricted to fire roads) and equestrians.
The park is bound on the south by Pacific Palisades and Brentwood, on the west by Topanga Canyon, and on the east by Rustic Canyon. Numerous geologic formations can be found in the park, including earthquake faults, marine fossils, volcanic intrusions, and a wide variety of sedimentary formations.
A good place to start a visit to Topanga State Park is Trippet Ranch, once a gentlemans ranch for a weekend getaway from the city.
From Pacific Coast Highway, travel north on Topanga Canyon Boulevard, pass the post office at the center of town, then turn right on Entrada Road.
Keep to the left at every opportunity until you reach the parks main parking lot (about one mile). From the Ventura Freeway (101), exit at Topanga Canyon Boulevard, drive south over the crest of the mountains and proceed three miles to Entrada Road and turn left.
Many of the parks trails can be accessed from Trippet Ranch. The Musch Trail leads north to Musch Trail Camp by winding in and out of the sun and shade where plant assemblages change with every subtle difference in light and moisture.
Two miles from Trippet is Eagle Junction, where the Eagle Spring loop trail is encountered. Eagle Rock, one of the many boulder outcrops on the trail, looms over the terrain and provides panoramic views of the park. At the eastern end of the Eagle Spring loop is the Hub Junction and the Temescal Fire Road.
Going north, travel through chaparral to unpaved Mulholland Drive, which traverses the park. South on Temescal Fire Road runs above the wild canyons with sycamore and oak riparian forests below. At Rogers Junction, many can opt for the Backbone Trail, a trail that winds through the Santa Monica Mountains from Will Rogers State Historic park in the east to Point Mugu State Park in the west. Rustic Canyon can be seen from the Backbone Trail.
Another option from Trippet Ranch is to head east on the Topanga Fire Road and then north for a short distance to the Santa Inez Trail. Descend into the Santa Inez Canyon. Close to the bottom of the trail is a side trail leading to a lovely waterfall.
Overall, Topanga State Park is the 22nd most popular horse trail of all 81 horseback rides in California.