Castellammare Loop / Trailer Canyon Trail / Lake Shrine

What a fun and colorful day of hiking! A three part adventure in Pacific Palisades with varied terrain.
Hiking Distance: About 7 miles

Driving Directions:
From Pacific Coast Highway, Sunset Blvd. runs south to north. The first three traffic lights are Castellammare Dr., Los Liones Dr. and Palisades Dr.
Castellammare Loop: From Pacific Coast Highway turn onto Sunset Blvd. and drive up the hill. Pass by Castellammare Dr. as there is very little parking here. Continue on Sunset to the next traffic light and turn left on Los Liones Dr.  Park on the street where you can.
Trailer Canyon Trail: From Los Liones Dr., return to Sunset Blvd. Go left. At the next traffic light turn left on Palisades Dr. Drive 2.4 miles. Turn left on to Vereda de la Montura and then take an immediate right on Michael Lane.  Drive 0.5 miles. The signed trailhead is on the left.
Lake Shrine: Backtrack again to Sunset Blvd. Go right toward the ocean. At the traffic light for Catellammare Dr. turn left into the supermarket parking lot. Flip around and drive back up Sunset Blvd. Almost immediately you will see a sign for Lake Shrine. Although there is ample notice, the right turn into the parking lot is sharp.

             From Los Liones Dr. I hiked down to Sunset Blvd. and went right toward the ocean. Before crossing Pacific Coast Highway I passed the eastern entrance to Castellammare Dr. After completing the loop I would return down this road, which from this angle looked like a very steep hill.  I crossed PCH and hiked past Gladstone’s Restaurant.  A cool morning fog obscured coastal views.

              

I hiked by a sleeping homeless man and made my way up the beach.

        Photo 2 – The feet of a poor dead seabird – I hope he had a good life.

I hiked back up to busy PCH, eyeing this mysterious old pedestrian bridge.

                      

   Up I went.

              

A beautiful old building stands across the highway.

                  

I crossed over and climbed steep stairs to reach Castellammare Dr.

                 

The loop begins by heading to the left and up the street. But first I went right and explored a short dirt trail which begins at the end of the road. This trail runs through a green spot which separates the western and eastern segments of Castellammare Dr.  When I reached the other side in about 50 yards, I turned back and started the loop.  Photo 4 –  Looking down the stairs toward the bridge.

              

Photo 2 – There are a lot of large mansions on the lower part of the loop.

              

From Castellammare Dr. I took a left down Breve Way.  Not familiar with these narrow roads, this felt really sketchy. There are a lot of blind curves and people hurrying to work. Still, people do travel these streets on foot. I saw several people walking for exercise or with their dogs.

                  

From Breve Way I got onto Porto Marina Way and continued to gain in elevation. Multi-million dollar homes cling to the near vertical hillsides.

                   

I love neighborhoods where are the houses are unique.

              

   There is a long blind curve where you have the choice of pinning yourself against a hillside or a guardrail.

Porto Marina Way curves to the right (north). This impressive yellow mansion sits on the turn.

                  

Interesting decorative touches on the yellow mansion.

              

The statues of four ladies stand watch over the mansion.

         This was fascinating. A notice for a single family home and the minuscule plot of land on which it will be built.

              

   Porto Marina Way soon turns into Tarmonto Dr. Now heading east, the Sun lit up the fog creating an eerie, “end of the world” glow.

   Weird sign taped to a front door, based in reality or paranoia?

                

From Tramonto Dr., I turned right on Revello Dr. and begin to drop back down toward the ocean.

            I passed some stairs on my left. I had to take a staircase down but I wasn’t sure this was the one I wanted. Fortunately Revello Dr. dead ends in about 30 or 40 yards at this house, Castillo del Mar.  I backtracked and took the stairs down to Posetano Rd, heading to the right.

              

              

I passed more amazing houses and made a quick left on Stretto Way.

            A cow and goat decorate a steep hillside garden.

        Stretto Way took me down to the eastern part of Castellammare Dr. I hiked over to the little dirt trail to complete the loop.

        Instead of heading back down to the beach, I took Castellammare Dr. east toward Sunset Blvd.  Nearing Sunset, there’s a massive construction project going on. Not sure what it’s all about.

                  

A big drill would pull up dirt and then spin the bit clean.

   From Sunset it was back up to Los Liones Dr. and my car.

        A quick drive and I was at the trailhead for Trailer Canyon Trail.

               

This is a typical fire road for this area. There is little shade and the rise in the trail is almost continuous from the start.

Eyes in the Sky

              

On a distant ridge I spotted one of Topanga State Park’s most recognizable landmarks, Eagle Rock.

              

The landscape was dotted with great looking sandstone formations.

                  

That cool morning fog was long gone and I was feeling the heat. But, it was just over two miles to my turnaround so I pressed on.  Photo 1 – There’s a quarry below.  Photos 3 and 4 – This strong smelling flowering plant, I am told, is a lilac.

              

I could see islands out there but had trouble identifying them.

        I reach my turnaround where Trailer Canyon Trail intersects with Temescal Ridge Trail.  From here one may hike south down to Skull Rock and Temescal Gateway Park or north up to Hub Junction and Eagle Rock.  Photo 2 – Green Peak Com Tower

Last look up to Eagle Rock.

   Upon returning to my car I cleaned myself up and put on fresh clothes.  I headed over to my last destination, the peaceful sanctuary known as Lake Shrine. To be honest I’m not really sure what the philosophical, religious or spiritual outlook is at Lake Shrine. There are classes on meditation and a large temple at the top of the property (accessed by a different exit). There was no recruitment or proselytizing, just place of quiet contemplation and botanic bliss.

        Photo 1 – Lake Shrine Temple  Photo 2 – There are several attractions at Lake Shrine, grand as well as simple .

              

The lake is pretty large, actually.  A houseboat provides scale.

   I was sad to see that the Golden Lotus Archway is under construction.

Windmill Chapel

   I entered the Windmill Chapel and sat with nine people in a dreamy stillness. It was a rare privilege to sit alongside strangers who appreciate the value of silence. I cleared my mind of thoughts.

        I circled the lake.

              

   Turtles, birds and fish call Lake Shrine home.

                  

   Koi

                  

Ducks, Swan and a bird with red eyes.

        The path currently ends at this waterfall.

   Beyond the construction begins.

              

I circled back and passed another, taller waterfall.

            I continued down to the gift shop and Sunken Garden.

Lovely. I really would like to come back again one day and spend a few hours relaxing and rejuvenating. A great end to a great day.

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