Topanga Canyon Loop + ADD NEW ROUTE
81 in California California20 Miles Miles
By Caymon Fields
on September 1, 2003
- Trip Toolbox
I suggest starting this route by going through Santa Monica, CA. The directions are pretty straightforward. I just got my self out to Santa Monica by taking the 10 freeway west till it basically ends and runs into the Pacific Coast Hwy (PCH). I took the PCH north and headed towards Malibu. The road you are looking for (Topanga Canyon Road) is BEFORE you get to Malibu. Just stay on PCH and keep an eye out for Topanga Canyon road on the right (if you are heading Northwest on PCH). (at the intersection there is a stoplight with an abandoned gas station and some type of produce/landscaping shop). Turn right (or east ... away from the ocean and up into the mountains) on Topanga Canyon road and now the route begins. Take this up into the mountains for about 4 miles and then be on the look out for "Old Topanga Canyon road" which will intersect on the left. I recommend taking that road as it will allow you to try some of the side roads I was talking about above and it will allow you to turn this route into a loop. Stay on "Old Topanga Canyon road" and it will twist and turn through the mountains (note: don't be afraid to explore the side roads here! ... almost everyone of them has something cool to see). Continue on Old Topanga Canyon road until it runs into Mulholland Hwy. At that point take a right on Mulholland Hwy and take that all the way till it intersects with Topanga Canyon road at which point you want to take a right and you'll head back down the mountains, eventually making a complete loop when you pass Old Topanga Canyon road (where you took a left before).
If you want to see some of the only remaining rural areas in the vicinity of Los Angeles while meandering through some awesome twisted mountain roads, the Topanga Canyon Loop is for you. Even though its only about 20-30 minutes away from downtown LA, it will give you some great motorcycle roads to wind through with relatively little traffic to avoid (there are typically more "two wheelers" (motorcycles and bicycles) on the road than four wheelers). There are a lot of really cool things to see on this route. You'll see plenty of sweet mountain views and then you'll go through some cool shady canyon roads, and then pass by some really awesome houses perched on the cliffs along the way. And probably one of the best things about this route is that there are tons of side roads to explore, all with something neat to see. If you take some of those side roads, you'll be really surprised by all the houses that are hidden in these shady canyons ... the diversity of these houses alone is enough to keep you amused. For example, you'll see a mobile home one minute and the next minute your passing by a multimillion-dollar stucco with adobe roof and mega dollar landscaping.
The roads going through these canyons are a blast to explore. One minute you're on your normal two lane road and the next minute the road shrinks to a single lane as it hugs the side of a mountain, climbing rapidly with NO GUARDRAILS! I originally intended on staying on the main road (Topanga Canyon Road) but I kept going off the main path and taking the side roads because everyone of them seemed to turn out to show me something cool. It was like I found a whole new world on these back roads. Overall the road conditions were pretty good however, like I mentioned before, there are some really narrow roads with out guardrails and you have to watch out for cars that are coming around corners like they own the road ... not much room to maneuver at times.
There really isn't that much to do along this route in terms of touristy type stuff. There are a few cool looking restaurants along the way that are decorated to match the surroundings ... they look like old fashioned saloons and restaurants that have been there for a hundred years or more. You could check out Topanga state park if you were looking for a way of making this bike trip turn in into whole day event.
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Nickname (optional) : Caymon Fields