Perhaps the easiest nature spot to get to -and frankly, it’s not that easy- is Topanga Canyon, which is located in the Santa Monica mountains, just up the Pacific Coast Highway. It is on a winding road the runs away from the beach, heading up into beautiful hills. Topanga Canyon State Park is at the top, a huge and ruggedly lovely tract of scenic trails, some of which overlook the ocean. We have visited there many times.
Though the most interesting paths are definitely the dusty ones that offer Pacific views, there are also shady lowland trails that are nice on hot days when the sun is too much. Jonathan has seen coyotes here before, and we’ve both encountered rabbits, hawks, and turkey vultures.
A beautiful moment came one afternoon when we were sitting on a bench in a shady spot, and a herd of 6 or 7 deer gathered around us, grazing unafraid in the clearing. They stayed with us for about twenty minutes, and in fact didn’t move away until we finally stood up and started walking ourselves.
One of the nicest spots in Topanga is the rocky outcropping that juts in to the canyon. It’s a bit treacherous climbing to this spot, but well worth it, as the view is spectacular. Lizards abound here, and Jonathan has caught several horn tailed lizards.
Down the hill from the park is Topanga, an unincorporated bohemian village where many hippies, celebrities, and villains have resided at different points. Some of the stores are intriguing, though the shopkeepers surly at times. There’s an outdoor ping pong table too, where we occasionally play.
Topanga is our place to go when we need some nature, but don’t have time to head out of town. We’re glad it’s fairly close and I’m sure we’ll be going back again one of these days.
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