A 7+ mile hike from the Pacific Palisades to a popular overlook in Topanga State Park. The first part of this hike – the Los Liones Trail – is one of the most lush riparian canyons I’ve ever seen in the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s gently graded, moderately shady, and definitely worth a look even if you have to fight crowds.
Afterward, the trail meets up with the system of fire roads in Topanga State Park and makes a relentless ascent to Parker Mesa (1525ft). On a clear day, you’ll get amazing views of the Santa Monica Bay, and often inland as far as the San Bernardino Mountains.
While the Los Liones Trail is fairly shaded, most of the fire roads are not. Leave early in the hot months to avoid unbearable summer temperatures, or try to hike in the cooler months instead.
For the best views, try doing this trail 1-2 days after it rains. The smog and haze get knocked out of the air, and views stretch for almost impossible distances in every direction!