Hike Number 13, April 19, 2015: Temescal Gateway Park

Distance: 4.10 miles

Elevation change: 810 ft

Temperature day of hike: 75

Directions: Temescal Gateway Park is located at the intersection of Temescal Canyon Road and Sunset Boulevard in the Pacific Palisades.

Sasha: And we’re back! The last few weeks were full of familial obligations, heat waves and other hike deterrents, so Abby and I decided to trade in our weekly hikes for some of our other favorite workouts and activities. We’ve been excitedly planning an upcoming road trip with some amazing friends that we can’t wait to share with you, so we promise we’re still on track to make our 50 hike goal.

We decided to end our hiatus at Temescal Gateway Park, which we’d heard was the starting point of several great trails. We made the easy drive down Sunset Boulevard and parked in the park’s parking lot right at Temescal Canyon Road and Sunset Boulevard. Parking is self-serve and $7 per vehicle, so make sure to have cash or check on you to avoid a parking ticket.

After we parked, we weren’t quite sure where to go, and I realized I hadn’t really planned anything other than the drive to Temescal. We decided to head down the main road, deeper into the canyon to look for a trailhead, and passed several picnic areas and what looked like a conference center with cabins nearby. There were several people walking the road headed both to and from the canyon, so we took this as a good sign and hoped we would soon find a trail to begin our hike.

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After about 10 minutes, two young (read: early 20’s) and fairly clueless girls stopped us and asked if we knew where the trail began. They said they had made it to the trailhead, which they said was blocked by a chain and marked as closed due to several hazards. Having been on a few hikes ourselves, we were pretty certain that they misunderstood (or had never been on a hike before), as almost every hike we’ve been on has had some sort of chain or gate blocking it. We decided to play it safe and stopped the first confident looking hiker we encountered, and he assured us we were heading in the right direction and would soon find the head of the trail. Once we did, we climbed over the chain the girls had noted and saw the sign that confused them, which marked the trail closed to horses, dogs and fires but open to hikers and rattlesnakes.

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Abby: The first mile went by really quickly as there wasn’t much of an incline but to be honest I was grateful for that with the lull in hikes lately, and went kind of overboard with leg workouts last week. When MapMyHike told us we’d reached a mile, I thought “this is amazing” but that was premature. It wasn’t long after that the trail changed drastically and I found myself embarrassingly tired (and sweaty) by the step climb.

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Sasha: After that first easy mile, I wondered if we had ended up on the wrong trail and were destined for a long walk through the shaded canyon, but soon after we crossed a bridge over a dry creek, the narrow trail became much steeper. While this definitely wasn’t the steepest hike we’d ever taken, the loose, rocky ground and 2 week hiatus definitely made us feel every step. The views on the steepest part of the trail were also not super exciting (gorgeous green lushness just wasn’t doing it for us on Sunday), so we were shocked by how long the second mile took us. When we heard the 2 mile notification from MapMyHike, we took a short break to drink some water, surprised ourselves with our quick recovery and headed to the top of the trail.

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Once we reached the top of the trail, we were rewarded with panoramic ocean views. It looked like there were a few trails that descended from the summit, so we took a few minutes to consult MapMyHike. I was disappointed to find very few trails marked on their map, but luckily there were other hikers who pointed us in the right direction. After we spent a few more minutes admiring the view, we decided to make the loop back down the mountain.

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Abby: As Sasha noted, the descent was much easier after a quick breather. We learned from others on the trail that if we headed back down the other side of the mountain, there wouldn’t be much shade, but we’d been pretty covered on the trek up, so we opted to try it anyway.

The decline was steady, but we had a lot of things to talk about and weren’t walking straight up the side of a mountain anymore, so it went by quickly.

Pro’s:

  • Busy site, so easy to not get lost
  • Several trail paths to choose from
  • Beautiful view from the top
  • No horses or dogs allowed

Con’s: 

  • The climb goes from pretty easy to pretty tough without much notice
  • On a hot day, it could be too hot to enjoy

Holy shit view factor: 5/10. Views aren’t great until you’re at the top

How good your ass will look afterwards: 6/10

Post hike grub spot: We weren’t certain where the Palisades Town Center was, so we opted for something we knew. We went to Tavern in Brentwood and both had a salad and a raspberry mimosa. Or two.

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