Monday, March 5, 2012

Day 473: Santa Ynez Falls - Topanga State Park - Trippet Ranch

The Return of Bambi

***This is my Best Hike of the Year, so far :)***

Day #473 Hike #534 * New Track #480
Thursday March 1, 2012
Santa Ynez Falls Trail - Topanga State Park, California

Trippet Ranch
My Tripometer: 2.75 Hours * 6.5 Miles * +1350 Feet

Musch Trail to the left (not our trailhead on this fine day)

From the 101 Freeway take exit 27, Topanga Canyon Blvd (SR 27) and head south towards the ocean.  Drive about 7 miles out of the populated area and into the mountainous region.  There will be a few small brown signs along the way that say "Topanga State Park".  Shortly before entering the town will be a mural wall on the left that says "Topanga".   You will turn left shortly after this onto Entrada.  If you reach the intersection and old town, you went too far.  There is no stop light for Entrada but you should see the brown sign for Topanga State Park.  Turn left on Entrada.  Follow the road to the left and keep following the signs and road to the left at every opportunity.  There is a small parking lot for the park (was fenced off) but keep driving until you reach the main parking area.  On the weekends it looks like you may have to pay.  Good deal for me; it was a weekday.  Park near the back and let's begin!

 Shaded picnic area - but who's having a picnic

 Taking the Waterfall Trail

 Follow the road up and then turn left at "The Latitude"

This is where I saw the deer that you saw in my blogpost feature picture.  From what I've read about this place, deer are common in this area.  They didn't seem to mind me much as they were posing while I took the picture.  Most deer run off, but these guys were just eating away.

 Veer to the right down the single track trail

 Amazing, Ocean views, Rocky Region - AMAZING!

I took this picture on my way back just before sunset

It's March 1st and I worked like a mad dog at the end of February.  I was dragging at work so I told them I needed to take off a couple hours early.  I dedicated this hike for all the hard work that I endured.  Thus, I figured to reach out a little bit further than normal during the work week.  It took me about 35 minutes to reach the trailhead today from Thousand Oaks.  It doesn't sound like much, but that's 35 minutes in the wrong direction which made my drive home about an hour and a half with traffic!

 easy downhill track - exposed to the sun, but the temperature was perfect

 Slight confusion, turn right and follow the main switchback down

 A whole new world down here

 beware of the coyote - camouflaged in the forest

 maybe this is Eagle Rock?

 a mountain lion den?

 this gray bushy haired squirrel needs glasses

 Trail junction, take the left fork

 2.2 miles in - cross the creek and turn left
the trail also goes right (I'm told it ends on Michael Lane near Sunset Blvd?)

 Heart Rock Tree

I read up on this trail and wore jeans because it was described with poison oak everywhere.  Well, I didn't see much and this "unmaintained trail" was in pretty good condition. 

 Crossing the notso creek many times

 Mr. butterfly landed in front of me for a sec, I snapped a pic and then it flew off

 Hmm, I can make a shirt out of this?

A trail goes up to the right, but...

The main attraction, The Waterfall, is just ahead along the creek.  But, we'll get to that in a minute.  See, I didn't know so I took the path higher...

 Narrow and steep incline

 Scrambling higher

the end?  Nope, bouldering to the right leads you higher

there are little trails between the rocks

Dangerous Bouldering - Not For Kids!

 take a breath of fresh air

Reaching to the top of the mountain...
A sign from the Moon - Domino!

I probably should not have even come this far, but I did.  I am not a big fan of bouldering - rock climbing.  At 220 pounds and 37 years of age, I just don't quite have the same confidence, balance and knees that I used to.  It honestly wasn't too hard to reach this spot, but being all alone, not a good idea.  So here I am, just 15 feet from the top of the world and I saw the way up.  I could have easily made it but then I saw the moon.  Every time I do, I think of Domino.  The day she died, I stepped outside, sat on the bench and the moon was the first object that I saw.  In between the tears I suppose that I hinted a smile.  --Domino was here today, warning me to not climb higher.  Consider, climbing higher is one thing but then you would have to get back down.  Going up is the easy part.  I chose to turn around at this point.  --Going down, confusing.  I lost my way and ended up higher than I needed to be in the wrong spot.  I obviously, eventually figured it out --I was tired and all of a sudden, it started getting late despite the earlier start.

Back at the bottom, should I explore the waterfall area?

Sure, climb rocks along the creek and keep going

lol, another Skyhiker Waterfall :)

Pink rope will help you higher
(I chose not too)

looking back at the rock canyon walls

The moral of the story is, this hike is actually very easy if you leave out the higher exploration.  Save yourself an hour and several hundred feet of climbing.  Of course, if I were to do it again, I would do it exactly the same way!  However, I would have left work at 1:00 not 2:00 to allow for even more time out here to explore...

On the way back, don't forget to turn right along the creek

I was in full jogging form.  The trail dipped into the dry creek for a half moment and then lifted back.  I saw the sign above and to the right out of the corner of my eye but it didn't register in my mind until a few strides later that I needed to go home that way.  This was almost a big oops! 

The Nature Loop

Nearly back to the car, take the Nature Loop as an alternative route past the Nature Center.  It's actually a short cut.  It will save you about 30 seconds :)

More deer near the trailhead

***I recommend this Hike for All***


  1. Excellent hike. Sounds like a great way to spend an afternoon.

    The full moon reminds me of my recently deceased cat. Saw that the night after my Doc died. It was big and gray, like a tilted cat's head, just like Doc.

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