If you’re looking for a hike that is not too strenuous or long, and has Instagram worthy views, I would highly recommend Topanga Canyon Lookout. Located in the Santa Monica Mountains around Calabasas/Malibu, Topanga Lookout was once a fire department observation tower that overlooks Red Rock Canyon Park. Now, it serves as a graffiti covered platform perfect for scenic photos.
There are no signs marking the start of the trail, but you can use the address below for your GPS. You’ll see a closed gate, which you’ll need to walk past and continue down a cement path, eventually reaching a fork in the road. Stay on the dirt path to your left and keep walking straight ahead.
You’ll know you’re heading in the right direction if you see some rocks marked in graffiti. Pass them and you’ll arrive at Topanga Canyon Lookout. The views of the surrounding mountain ranges are amazing, as you are 2,375 feet above sea level.
The main highlight, though, is all the graffiti and art covering the concrete platform. I’m sure it changes frequently as artists are probably painting over old work. When I visited Topanga Canyon Lookout, LA-based artist Ron the Killer had just painted a super cool mural of a skull. It made for an amazing photo showing a combination of art and nature.
Overall, the hike is only 2 miles roundtrip and is a one way trail. It’s a great hike for beginners because even though you’re high up in elevation, there’s only an elevation gain of 160 feet and barely any incline except on the final stretch to the Lookout.
Topanga Canyon Lookout
Address: 23300 Saddle Peak Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302
Hours of operation: Sunrise to sunset
Parking: Small lot with three parking spaces but plenty of parking along the road available
- The drive to this hike is very windy so be careful and drive slowly around blind spots
- There are no restrooms on the trail.
- One hour should be plenty of time to hike the trail unless you stay longer to make sure you get great pictures 🙂
- The trail is dog and kids friendly. It’s easy enough for kids to do!