One of the short and easy-to-hike trails in the Santa Monica mountains is the Santa Ynez trails. Located in the town of Pacific Palisades, reaching this trail is easy!
Difficulty level: Easy
Trail distance: 2.5 miles
Driving Directions: The interstate 10-West merges in the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH, US-1) at Santa Monica. Keep driving on PCH-1 and take a right on Sunset Blvd. Drive east 0.5 miles and take a left turn at Palisades Drive. In about 2.4 miles take a left turn at Vereda De La Montura and in a few yards you will see the gated entry of Topanga State Park. Once you are on Palisades Drive, lookout for the Santa Ynez Trail sign pointing to the left on Vereda De La Montura.
Start from the gated entrance off Vereda De La Montura and proceed down the concrete path to the controlled flood channel. In a few yards you’ll pass over a concrete wash laden with concrete stepping stones. Make sure to take that as the floor can be slippery with algae growing in the water.
Continue on the easy trail path upstream as the stream disappears and re-appears along the canyon floor.
After about 0.5 miles you will reach a junction where the left path will take you to the Topanga Trail path out of the canyon and ascend to the Trippet Ranch and evetually to Eagle Rock (about 3.5 miles), and the right path will lead to the waterfall, one mile further.
A few yards after the “right turn”, you will come across an intersection – one which goes straight and other which take you up the mountains (on the left). Take the path going up the mountain to reach the waterfall. If you take the straight road from the intersection, you will be heading back to the starting point.
As you near your destination, you will come across a large, 12-foot boulder blocking the canyon. Climb the first rope attached to the tree, up the boulder. After descending the boulder and a few boulder-hopping brings you to the 18-foot waterfall where your trail ends.
1. Take lots of water. It’s good to take some sandwiches to eat at your destination.
2. You will see a lot of people on the trail and almost everyone was clueless about the waterfall, so if you’re not sure about your path, keep asking and someone might be willing to show you the way.
3. The water in the stream is cold – maybe freezing in winter & spring. Watch out for water-insects if you see yourself taking a leg-dip in the water (see picture below).
4. It’s free!