Will Rogers State Historic Park

Knocked off a good chunk of the Backbone Trail today.  Got off to an earlier than usual start, around 5:30 am or so.  The weather was warm but not too warm, and the trail was busy but I also enjoyed long stretches of solitude, quiet and getting back to nature.  I traveled from Will Rogers State Historic Park to Hub Junction near Trippet Ranch.  Tough but fun hike.

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The gates don’t open until 8 a.m. so parking inside was not an option.  All the no parking signs are confusing but I found a great spot just outside the gates.  I was a little surprised to find people already on the trail.  I wandered for a couple minutes in the darkness until a helpful jogger pointed me to the trailhead.  The main loop trail in Will Rogers Park is wide like a fire road.  At the top of the park, less than a mile in, is a overlook called Inspiration Point.  It was too dark cloudy to get any good shots in the morning.  I came back later.  Photo 4 – I expected, as with the other dirt hiking “roads” in the area, that the section of Backbone Trail which breaks off of the main loop would continue on as a wide road.  I was pleasantly surprised to find a solid, single track that headed off into the hills.  The trail is not signed but it is right near this Kiosk and these other signs.

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7   Looking across the way to the right I noticed a trail heading straight down the side of the mountain.  I soon realized this “trail” is the super long set of concrete stairs I took down to Murphy’s Ranch on my insane Rustic Canyon hike a year and a half ago.  The buildings at Murphy’s Ranch were scheduled for demolition last summer.  I wonder if that happened.  I’ll go back soon and find out.

8     9   A little way up the trail I spot a bridge on the ridgeline.


This boulder looks like a person sitting on the edge, quietly observing the world below.

11     12     13   I reached the bridge, which has no water running beneath it.  It’s there because the trail at this spot is eroding away and getting a little narrow.


Immediately after the bridge is a short, steep, crumbly, fenced-in section.

15     16   The haze in the early hours was too thick to get a good look of Santa Monica below.  You can make out the tree lined Palisades Park and the Santa Monica Pier if you look closely.

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Photo 4 – Nice cave across the canyon

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I hike up to a massive plant, probably about 15 feet tall – I think it’s an agave plant.

25   Temescal Ridge Road is one of the trails that runs parallel to the trail I was hiking.  A good landmark is the Green Peak Com Tower on Temescal.  You’re about half way to Hub Junction when you pass this spot.

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Almost at the junction with Temescal Ridge Road – there is a nice view of the back of Cathedral Rock.  The trail then runs into Temescal Ridge Road and right past the other side of Cathedral Rock.

31   I arrived at my half way point, Hub Junction, kicked up my feet and rested in the shade while I ate lunch.  In addition to this pavilion there is also a composting toilet nearby.

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Very close by is Eagle Rock.


Close-up of Eagle Rock – notice the group of hikers sitting on the top wearing white t-shirts.

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36   Cathedral Rock, with it’s caves and crevices, from Hub Junction.  There is a lot of fun exploring to be done here but I just didn’t have time today.

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Photo 1 – On my way back down again, I passed Temescal Peak.  The short, scraggly looking trail to get to the peak begins off of the Backbone Trail section I hiked up on.  Photos 2, 3 and 4 – A lot of the flowers I came across were this dried out shade of gold.

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Midday Shadows

43     44     45   As I came back down toward Will Rogers Park the overcast conditions improved.  Here you can see the trail running along the hillside, West LA’s skyscrapers and, if you look very closely, Downtown LA’s skyscrapers as well.  Photo 2 shows Santa Monica Bay, still a bit too hazy.

46   Now back within the boundaries of Will Rogers Park, I stop at Inspiration Point.

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From Inspiration Point, Will Rogers Park upper grassy area and Polo Grounds, and skyscrapers in West LA.


Santa Monica Bay from Inspiration Point

50   When I hiked up the park’s loop trail in the morning I went in a clockwise direction.  I continued on the other half and completed the loop while enjoying the shady, tree-lined dirt road.

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Photo 1 – The upper grassy area – Will Rogers house is to the right in this photo.  Photo 2 – In front of Will Rogers house.

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57   Before arriving at the house you will pass a small carpenter shop in which Will Rogers kept his tools.  The building wasn’t open but you can look through the window at the vintage tools.  I’m pretty sure you can tour inside the house. I just walked around the perimeter.  Finally I passed the Polo Grounds, where the rich play matches on weekends.

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