Summit Valley Edelman Park

Nice to be back in the Topanga area.  Being in this environment, with familiar sights and vegetation, it just feels like home.  This was supposed to be a short hike but due to a couple of wrong turns it wound up being around 13 miles.

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Driving up Topanga Canyon Blvd. I noticed this flying pig sculpture by the side of the road.  I wonder if there is some connection to the flying pig I saw by the side of the road in Simi Valley.  A few yards away from the flying pig, a mother deer and two babies walked along the hillside.

3     4     5   Parking is located right off of Topanga Canyon Blvd. in a big dirt lot.  Look for the signs marking the spot.  There are several trails running through the park.  I planned on hiking them all.

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7     8     9   Pretty plants

10     11     12   The park has it’s own map which can be found online.  For some strange reason the middle trail stops at a dead end on the map when, in fact, it runs up to a fire road above the park – the Summit to Summit Motorway.  Photo 2 – After following the first trail in the park, a short spur, I headed up the middle trail.  I reached the fire road.  I hiked this to the end and back to add some extra miles, 5.2 to be exact.  There are some nice views from this road but the trail itself leaves a bit to be desired.  It’s a wide, shadeless road and seems to be primarily used by dog walkers and jogger/walker types.  You get a view of the Valley down below.

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Photo 1 – Also great views of Saddle Peak.

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I love when all the geographic puzzle pieces start to fit together in my mind.  From Summit to Summit Motorway I was able to recognize one of my recent hiking locations – Oat Mountain in the Santa Susana Mountains.  Photo 2 – You can sort of see the orb-shaped antenna at the top.

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Also easy to spot are the tower near Topanga Lookout, as was visited on my hike through Hondo Canyon, and the antennae at the top of Saddle Peak.

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Love how this house looks like a dollhouse next to those massive rocks.

21     23   After turning around at Old Topanga Road where the fire road ends I headed back in the opposite direction in search of Top of Topanga Overlook.  Photo 2 – To get there I passed a fenced in antenna and a couple of water tanks, and then headed down a steep paved section of road.

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Looking back up at the water tanks from the steep, paved road.

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Carefully cross Topanga Canyon Blvd. to get to Top of Topanga Overlook.  This was the most dangerous part of the day.  Top of Topanga Overlook is a tiny micropark with a few benches and picnic tables.  Most of the space is taken up by the parking lot.  Should you choose to drive here someday, beware of the stop sign ticket cameras.  You will be ticketed should you not come to a complete stop when exiting the park.  I believe the cameras were installed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.  While I strongly support the preservation of open space, I find it difficult to support an organization that raises funds by writing people tickets for such a ridiculous offense which clearly has nothing to do with safety and everything to do with money.  Photo 4 – One of the placards in the park, giving the view from decades past.  This photo was taken in 1949.  Notice there was zero development in the Valley below.

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Present day view of the Valley from Top of Topanga Overlook

30     31   There is a very short footpath leading around the park and, thankfully, some shady trees to rest beneath and eat lunch.

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37   I retraced my steps back up to the point where I first came out on Summit to Summit Motorway.  Things can get a little confusing in Edelman Park as there are no trail signs.  There are also many well worn trails that lead to nowhere or circle back again to the trail you just got off of.  I made my way back down to the bottom of the trail.  I wanted to hike the rest of the trails in Edelman Park so I needed to find the trail that broke off of the trail I was on.  I took the wrong trail and started heading right back up to Summit to Summit Motorway.  Photo 3 – You can see how well worn this false trail is.  There are other non-mapped trails like this around the park.  The false trail led me up to the ridgeline and runs parallel to the one I had taken below.  There were several steep climbs and little shade, not exactly welcome at 12:30 in the afternoon.  Photo 4 –  The final ascent.  I make it to the top, next to the antenna that is very close to the water tanks pictured previously.

38   I could see the trail I wanted below.  I recognized the three way split in the trail from my map.  I headed back down again.

39     40     41   Finally headed the right direction, down in the bottom of the valley.

42   I made it to the three way junction and headed up to the left for a short ways until the trail ended at Topanga Canyon Blvd.  I then walked back and took the trail to the right and back to the parking lot.

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Photo 1 – The antenna from the three way junction.  Just to the right and below the antenna you can see the super steep trail I climbed running up the hill.  Photo 2 – The water tanks from the junction.

45The hillside was ablaze with blooming red flowers.

46  Bonus photo from the same day – a bat hanging on my backyard fence.

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