Some of LA’s finest art isn’t found in a gallery. Sullivan Ridge in the Santa Monica Mountains is painting the landscape purple, blue, and yellow with its seasonal wildflowers. This sun-soaked spot above Brentwood offers an 8-mile out-and-back moderate bike ride among swaths of color, with views to boot. Sullivan Ridge Trail starts as a paved road en route to a Boy Scout camp. At the camp’s entrance, switch gears. The road stays wide but becomes dirt and climbs uphill for a mile. This is the only challenging section of the ride, and the scenery’s great: Sullivan Canyon beams green below as you roll past an exhibit of blooming sticky monkey flower and bush poppies. Things level out at a saddle where a lone coast live oak sits surrounded by the pink pompom petals of California buckwheat. Catch your breath while catching vast views of downtown LA and the Santa Monica Bay. (More experienced riders might want to take the undulating singletrack paralleling the road; this route reaches even higher views and is decorated by lupines and California poppies). It’s all downhill from here, in a good way.
BURRITO BONUS: Refill your engine with an Oaxacan-style salmon burrito at Kay’n Dave’s Cantina (262 26th Street, Brentwood). Olé!
Take I-405 to Sunset Blvd. and drive west for 3 miles to Capri Dr. Turn right and drive 2/3 of a mile through a traffic circle to the top of Capri Dr. at Casale Rd. There is street parking to the right and Sullivan Ridge fire road begins to the left. Follow the fire road into Topanga State Park for 4.15 miles to the impossible-to-miss oak tree. Sullivan Ridge Trail continues another half mile to the top of Sullivan Canyon Trail and a mile and a half farther to Mullholland Dr., but the oak tree makes a great place to turn around.