Hike to Skull Rock – Temescal Canyon, Santa Monica Mountains
This past weekend was grey and gloomy in Los Angeles so we decided to get out and go to Temescal Canyon for a hike. It was probably a suiting backdrop given that all of us Los Angelenos were devastated over the injury Kobe Bryant suffered in Friday night’s basketball game and the news that he would be out for the rest of the NBA season, miss the playoffs, and be out for 6-9 months. What a bummer and a sad injury that might end up being the end of his career as one of the greatest basketball players of all time.
Anyway, enough about Kobe. The grey skies led us to Temescal Canyon, where we went on a nice 5-6 mile hike to a place called Skull Rock. My friend Heather has the adventure bug and has climbed 17 mountains over the past year. Baller. When she asked my husband and I if we were up for a hike, we grabbed our lightweight backpack (the REI Flash 18 Pack, highly recommend) and got ready to go! We picked up Heather and our friend Diane and we were off to the Pacific Palisades to the trail head at Temescal Canyon, which is nestled right at the intersection of Sunset and Temescal Canyon road. This is one of the many reasons why I love California. One minute you’re at the beach and the next minute you are in the mountains. We are so lucky.
The trail maps at the bottom were very confusing and we weren’t sure where to go. We figured we would just start hiking and figure it out. It wasn’t too hot and it wasn’t too cold – perfect, grey weather for hiking. There were some good inclines and it got our blood pumping. We stopped every few intersections to take in the view. It’s amazing how different LA looks when you see it from afar, from the mountain view. Breathtaking.
When we got to Skull Rock we realized why it has it’s name – it looks like a skull! I was being a dork and wanted to crawl into the eyeball of the skull. We ventured around to the back of the skull and took some goofy pictures like this:
After we hung out and drank some water and had some snacks (plantain chips and larabars, yum yum) and we got our fill of hanging out in the eyeball and nose of the skull, we took in the beautiful view of the Santa Monica mountains and continued our descent downhill. It seemed like the downhill went by so quickly. It reminded me of a lyric in one of my favorite Tom Petty songs, “Learning to Fly,” when he says “Coming down is the hardest thing.” Because when you’re hiking it’s very true. After you summit a mountain or reach your destination point, you want to take it all in. You don’t want to have to climb back down because then it will soon be over and you will be back to the real world.
I really enjoyed this hike. It ended up being around 5-6 miles total. Excellent. Afterwards we headed to Venice and enjoyed some burgers (gluten-free style & wrapped in lettuce of course) and drinks with good friends. What a great Sunday Funday! Heather wrote about our hike on her blog, too. You can check it out here:
I highly recommend hiking in Temescal Canyon if you live in the Los Angeles area. It is a slice of heaven nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains.
What about you? Do you enjoy hiking? Do you have mountains nearby? Post in the comments and let me know.
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Is the trail really steep?
It has some incline but its manageable. Probably intermediate level or maybe a notch above.
Looks like fun! I wish we had trails/mountains nearby. But…there are some flat/lake trails that make for nice long walks.