Rolling Through the Robles

Corbin Canyon in Topanga State Park is a hidden gem of the Santa Monica Mountains with beautiful scenery…

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Corbin Canyon in Topanga State Park is a hidden gem of the Santa Monica Mountains with beautiful scenery and low foot traffic, yet it’s only minutes away from the hustle and bustle of Ventura Boulevard. The 2-mile (round-trip) out-and-back trail transports you to a wilderness retreat full of beautiful oak trees and lush flowers—and it provides a perfect excuse to make a stop at one of the San Fernando Valley’s most legendary Mexican restaurants.

Entering the trail, you scoot past a chain-link fence and immediately notice the trailhead plaque mounted on a small boulder. As you continue meandering down the path, it begins to narrow.  Amid all the dry brush, a patch of low white datura bloom along either side of the trail. You spy a ridge, known in Spanish as a cresta, off to your right.

Corbin Canyon Topanga State Park
Corbin Canyon Topanga State Park
Corbin Canyon Topanga State Park
Corbin Canyon Topanga State Park
Corbin Canyon Topanga State Park
Corbin Canyon Topanga State Park
Corbin Canyon Topanga State Park
Corbin Canyon Topanga State Park

As you reach what appears to be a fork in the road (at 0.7 mile in), peer closer and realize that only the path to the right continues on. You continue up the hill to your right. The light dims, the air cools, and you enter a tunnel of beautiful árboles de roble, oak trees. Your feet trot along the soft cushion of leaves. As you reach the top of the hill, you reach another junction and continue straight.

Entering a patch of shade, you notice a dry creek bed to your left and in it lies a toppled-over car covered in rust—remnants of a mysterious Valley past! Strolling along the path, careful not to brush the roble venenoso, poison oak, you reach a magnificent oak tree. You climb into it to pause and appreciate the silence. Besides the scurry of a few lizards and the sound of the light breeze combing through the leaves, it is utterly quiet.

Comer y Beber: After your hike, you’ll be glad you’re so near Ventura Boulevard. Now it’s time to head to family-owned and operated Sol y Luna, only a few minutes down the boulevard. They have a live guitarist after 5 p.m. every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

To reach the trailhead from US-101 in the San Fernando Valley, exit Winnetka Ave. south. Take Winnetka to Wells Dr. and turn left. Make a right onto Corbin Ave. and continue up until you reach a chain-link fence where the hike begins. Street parking available. No dogs.

 

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