Note: Please see Shelly Brown's comment below and plan on extra time to navigate heavy traffic getting to the trailhead! This hike, with two compatible route options, both involving spectacular beauty, should satisfy all members. We'll meet in LA just off Sunset at the Los Liones trailhead to Topanga State Park. For people who wish an easier, shorter hike we'll ascend the lovely shaded single-track Los Liones Trail (first pic) for 1.3 miles to a natural overlook where you will have a clear view of Santa Monica beach and the ocean below.
We will all stop and gather here to rest and congratulate each other for living in this beautiful area. If you are short on time or calories, you can return to your cars by the same route, leaving you with a quick but satisfying hike.
For those of you who feel energized by this warm-up, we will continue upward an additional 2.4 miles on the E. Topanga Fire Road until we reach the Parker Mesa Overlook. From this expansive viewpoint we will see Malibu beaches, Santa Monica beach and pier (pic 2), the Getty Villa (pic 3), Los Angeles (pic 4), the Pacific Palisades and the distant blue-meets-blue horizon on the Pacific.
I am trying to time this one so that we ascend in the light, enjoy the sunset at 6:05 pm, and descend in the darkness, so bring a flashlight or headlamp if you do the longer version. The view from Parker Mesa is great in the presence as well as the absence of sunlight.
Whether you decide to attend for the shorter or the longer route, be sure to bring ample water and sunscreen. For people who stay for the longer continuation, how about let's all bring food and drink to share at the top? There is ample room for sitting, wandering about, and posing against the background with no nearby residents to bother with the sound of our mirth.
As always, this hike is not without danger: rattlesnakes are still possible, slip-'n-falls on the hike (particularly on the descent), rabid bites from other hikers, and heaven knows what else. By attending this hike you accept responsibility for your own safety, but if something happens it is comforting to know that others are there to help.
Short Hike: 2.6 miles round trip, 555' elevation gain.
Long Hike: 7.4 miles round trip, 1300' elevation gain.
Directions: From the PCH take Sunset Blvd exit and go the very short distance northward to Los Liones Drive where you will turn left (the only choice). Stay on LLD until you arrive at a church on your left. You can either park right there on the street or just on the right in a parking lot or two that you will see. We'll meet at the trailhead just past the church.
Restroom facilities (hooray!) are right there on the right side by one of the small parking lots.
By the time we get back to the cars, I'm guessing it may be 8 pm. Given that we will be in the Big City on a Saturday Night, I would not object if some of you city dwellers can come up with a place not too far away -- and which will be accepting of our dusty garb -- where we might all gather to replenish our minds and bodies with food, libations and Tales of the Hike, or other other fictions suitable for the approaching Halloween.
This hike takes place in Topanga State Park, and I believe that dogs are not allowed on the trails in State Parks.
If you are still with me on this description, HERE is a link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JisVhpD67Jk) to a video I shot while hiking to Parker Mesa with my buddy George, the hiking champion of Greece. It was shot in HD, so select 720p and go full screen for the best experience. While we took a route from a completely different trailhead to the west, the last half mile and the overlook itself are the same as what we will see on our hike. The still photos in this announcement are also my own.