Stoney point is tucked away in a quiet part of Chatsworth. Its most notable characteristic is the steep and imposing rock formation. Because of this, it has actually become a very popular spot for mountain climbers. It is not tall enough for serious climbers, but it has some challenging climbs that are great for practice.
There is a lot of vegetation year-round with many bushes and shrubs. There are not many trees so don’t forget a hat or sunglasses.
Topanga State Park is a massive nature reserve with many different trails and several different places to enter the park from. Some of the trailheads have their own parking lots, which can be nice but comes with a $10 fee. At over 11,500 acres you can go there and escape from civilization.
The highest peaks are tall enough that you can see across the valley and into the ocean from one point.
There are seasonal rivers and a waterfall, which is a very popular hiking destination in the spring and summer.
For those that really love this spot, there’s camping amenities as well.
Malibu State Park is another giant at over 8000 acres. It is located in the cities of Agoura Hills, Calabasas, and Malibu. It stretches from the desert chaparral of the valley all the way to the beach.
The park is not only a beautiful sight of nature but also has some popular manmade attractions. The most famous of these the the set of the show M*A*S*H. There is still a well-preserved Korean War ambulance there that has been preserved as a monument. The hike to get there is 3.6 miles.
Hansen Dam Wildlife Reserve is a great place to spend a weekend afternoon. We should start off by pointing out that it is actually a lot more than just a dam and a nature reserve. It has many different types of recreation including two lakes, sports fields, a jungle gym, and picnic areas.
The two different lakes (both of which are manmade) serve two very different purposes. One is part of the nature reserve for birds and fish. People are allowed to fish there as well as feed the birds. The other lake is for people to swim and does not have any fish. It is open to the public and maintained by LA Parks and Recreation.
There are many trails that are open to both hikers as well as horseback riders. These trails connect with others that go into the Angeles National Forest and even come in contact with the world famous Pacific Crest Trail.
It is common to see large gatherings of all different kinds. On any given weekend you will see lots of different parties from birthdays with young kids and bounce houses, to weddings with entire extended families dressed up in formal attire.
Tujunga Canyon is partly in the city of Los Angeles and is right up against the northwestern corner of the SFV. The trails go back into Angeles Forest. It has roads that go through the forest that and all the way across the desert. It’s a route that can be taken for more scenic views or just to avoid rush hour traffic.
There are several rivers and many world-famous cliff jumping spots. The most well-known being Monkey Canyon and wikkiup.
Cell phone reception can be poor in the canyon, so bring a buddy and make sure to tell a friend where you are.
It is located right on the edge of Topanga State Park by Tarzana and Woodland hills. This park is one of the few in the area that allows both horses and bicycles. This is uncommon for fairly obvious reasons, so that is one thing that you need to consider, especially if bringing small children or a pet.
For everyone who does horseback riding or mountain biking, this is their playground. Most of the trails are very open, making it more traversable for horse and bike riders. With that being said, you must always remember that horse riders must yield to pedestrians and bicyclists must yield to everyone.
Nestled right in between Topanga State Park and Tarzana, Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park is a quiet getaway right on the south edge of the valley. Just south of the 101 freeway, it is easy to get to by car, as long as traffic is not bad.
The trail itself is not to challenging. The main trail is an out-and-back that is 1.7 miles each way. The topography is pretty even and the trail is not very steep. There is not a whole lot of shade, so on a hot summer day it would be advisable to bring a hat or sunglasses as well as plenty of water.
Head west until you cross Topanga Canyon Blvd., where you’ll find the edge of the valley. Although it’s quite close to the bustling boulevard, it immediately feels isolated once here. They allow bicycles, but no horseback riding.
The trails are well-developed and officials highly advise that you utilize them and do not veer into the wilderness. There have been sightings of rattlesnakes, mountain lions, and ticks, as well as poison oak. The trail and other main parts of the park are a lot safer.
The park itself is only about three acres. It has picnic areas, barbecue pits, and play areas for children. The park connects with the larger Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park.
Tucked up against the Santa Susana mountains at the northernmost point of Granada Hills, this is a great escape that is easily accessible for anyone in the North Valley. It is massive at 627 acres, making it the second largest park in the City of Los Angeles, after Griffith Park.
The Park has many amenities and is generally known to not be too busy (sshhh! Local secret). There are extensive trails going into the mountains that are all suited for hiking, biking, or horseback riding. It’s easy to go back rather than you realize so make sure to come prepared. There are plenty of shady areas to stop and have a break along the way.