If you liked (click on the link):
MY 3-BRIDGES HIKE of NOV 8, 2014 (http://www.meetup.com/The-PM-Hikers/events/216609552/)
You'll love this one too! This is partly a repeat of my previous 3-BRIDGES HIKES with the mandatory addition of the 1.85 mile upper loop that connects Mulholland to Encinal.
This is, as usual, a True Loop hike. You will retrace less than a few hundred feet of trail during the entire hike. And, as usual, bringing wine and goodies to share is highly encouraged! ;~}
Total distance is approximately 4.25 miles, with about 800 feet of elevation (loss then gain, mostly). Only because of one short uphill scramble in dim light, this should be considered an Advanced (and adventurous) Beginner hike. You MUST have a flashlight, and a headlamp is preferred! It will be best to leave the dogs at home this time.
Sunset is approximately 6:45PM. I'd like to get us past the uphill scramble before it gets too dark. So..., lets plan to be ON THE MOVE BY 6:10PM AT THE LATEST! Sorry folks, but this means we can't delay for someone calling or posting that they are running late.
See my section: "IF YOU ARE LATE TO THE START..." at the end of this write-up for directions on how to catch up with the group.
WHERE & WHEN:
This time we'll meet at a point where the Backbone Trail crosses over the West end of Mulholland Highway. PLEASE PLAN CAREFULLY TO ARRIVE WELL BEFORE 6PM!
From the 101, go south (towards the ocean) on Westlake Blvd. to where it hits Mulholland and turn right (west). Follow Mulholland westward through a winding section for about 1.33 miles to the trailhead.
Look for my Dark-Blue, with Gold Trim, GMC Safari van, as I'll plan to be there very early (5:15ish PM) sharing some wine with the early arrivers. Note that parking is limited so car-pooling is encouraged!
There is a great place to meet for carpooling on Westlake Blvd. just after you pass through the Potrero Road stop light and before you start making your way up the hill to Mulholland.
PARKING: We should be able to get quite a few cars in along the sides of this relatively unused Fire Road. Please plan to pull in tight to make room for the next vehicle!
Just a minute walk back towards Westlake Blvd. there is a nice-sized pull-off here in front of this unused gate. There is plenty of room for two rows of cars, or better yet, pull in at nearly a right angle to make room for a LOT more cars!
Otherwise, there is limited parking very near the Fire Road, a few spots seen below along the fence across from the trailhead, and really none within reasonable walking distance once you pass by this white fence traveling further west.
We'll start with an easy 0.9 mile stroll south, down the fire-road seen just to the right (east) of Ibold Rd. on the map, to Encinal Canyon Rd. to where my 3-Bridges Hike started last time.
Here's an Elevation Profile for the 3-BRIDGES portion:
From there we'll do my 3-Bridges Loop (2.4 miles, 1hr:30mins at an easy pace, not counting picnic time) to the east-south-east.
We'll head down this section of the Backbone Trail, but only for a few hundred feet before heading east onto an unmarked single track trail. Within a few minutes we'll reach a very short but "lightly" challenging downslope (first red line in the profile above) that wasn't nearly as hard as I made it out to be last time. We'll soon arrive at a large area of old eucalyptus and pine trees that were cut down a few years ago, and Bridge #1.
Pretty quickly we'll be at a "moderately" challenging (use of hands usually not required) uphill section that will make you appreciate your good lug-soled hiking shoes for a minute or ten (and the subject of my RSVP question).
From there it will be just a few more minutes to the high point of the lower section where we can take a short break and enjoy this view (although I expect it will be getting pretty dark by then):
15-20 minutes down from this peak we will make it into the Oak Grove at the low point of the hike at Bridge #2 where we can take our longest break for a picnic. Nearby, we'll see this beautiful area that provided some great Spooky Night-time Photo Ops the last time.
From there, we will be only ~20 minutes down an easy trail from Encinal Canyon Road, via Bridge #3.
Bridge #2 is shown here:
And here is a photo of BRIDGE #3 in the daylight:
Back at Encinal Canyon Road, we'll cross over and follow that winding 1-mile easy single-track section of the Backbone Trail back up to Mulholland Drive where we started.
Here is a map showing the entire route:
IF YOU ARE LATE TO THE START...
It seems there are always a few who will arrive late, no matter how much you overstate the urgency of being ready to start hiking at a particular time. So...
If you arrive after 6:10PM and find that the group has departed the meetup location, you can easily catch up with the group with the following directions:
1. Start your hike following the same route as the main group by taking the Fire Road (east side of upper loop shown on map above) down to the Parking Lot on Encinal Canyon Rd.
2. Cross over Encinal and continue south on the clearly marked Backbone Trail.
3. Don't make that (totally unmarked) left turn onto single-track that the main group will have taken. Instead, just continue on down the Backbone Trail, crossing Bridge #3, going through the Oak Grove (trail will curve to the left here), and a few hundred feet more to Bridge #2, where, by then, or in a short while, you will find the main group having a picnic.
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy!