Caballero Canyon Trail Santa Monica Mountains hike Reseda Los Angeles California Topanga State Park

Located on the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains in Tarzana, Caballero Canyon Trail is a straightforward dirt single track that ascends 625 feet over 1.7 miles to an unpaved section of Mulholland Drive. Caballero Canyon Trail makes a satisfying 3.4-mile round trip hike (or ride if you take your mountain bike), and there are several possible extensions to places like San Vicente Mountain. If you need a break from the commotion of the San Fernando Valley, escape up Caballero Canyon Trail!

Start hiking from the Caballero Canyon Trailhead on Reseda Boulevard, about 4 miles west of the place where the 101 and 405 freeways meet. Begin hiking up Caballero Canyon, staying to the right through an early junction. Follow Caballero Canyon Trail past a string of sycamores that line the bottom of the canyon. You’ll quickly leave the chaos of Los Angeles behind.

Caballero Canyon Trail
Looking up Caballero Canyon Trail

After just under half a mile, cross a creek bed to the left side of the canyon and continue heading north. A mile from the start, the trail bends to the left, heading up a fork of the canyon that will give way to the ridges above. The trail splits briefly. The official trail, and the more gradual route goes to the right to a horseshoe bend that cuts back to a reunion with the steeper route. Pick a path (0.05 miles vs 0.12 miles) and continue up the side of the canyon.

You will pass a short bench, 1.25 miles from the start, shortly before reaching a sign marking the Caballero Canyon Entrance to Topanga State Park. Pause to enjoy the views down Caballero Canyon toward the San Fernando Valley before pushing on toward the top.

Looking down Caballero Canyon Trail
Looking down Caballero Canyon Trail

Pass through a gate and come to a junction with Mulholland Drive, 1.7 miles from the start. There is a bench here where you can pause to admire the view over the canyon you just climbed. A trail sign at the junction explains your options for further exploration in this area of the Santa Monica Mountains called the “Big Wild.” To the left, The Nike Missile Site on San Vicente Mountains is 2.2 miles to the east at the top of Westridge Trail. You will also pass Sullivan Ridge Trail en route to San Vicente Mountain. To the west Mulholland Drive continues toward Temescal Ridge Trail.

Caballero Canyon Trail
The bench at the top of Caballero Canyon Trail

After enjoying the view from the bench on Mulholland Drive, and taking advantage of any extensions, return the way you came down Caballero Canyon Trail. No fee or permit is required to hike Caballero Canyon Trail. Dogs and mountain bikes are welcome, so get out and enjoy!

To get to the trailhead: From the meeting between the 101 Freeway and the 405 Freeway, drive west on the 101 Freeway for 4 miles to exit 23 for Reseda Boulevard. At the bottom of the off ramp, turn left and head south for 2.2 miles. The trailhead will be on the left and there is ample roadside parking.

Trailhead address: Reseda Boulevard, Tarzana, CA 91356
Trailhead coordinates: 34.142731, -118.540882

Use the map below to create your own directions:

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These photos were taken in January of 2013. Click to enlarge.
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