Los Liones Trail Parker Mesa Overlook Topanga State Park sunset boulevard Palisades Hike

Los Liones Trail weaves through a lush canyon just a mile from the Pacific Ocean. Slivers of big blue sea can be seen from much of the ivy and chaparral-lined hike. After 1.3 miles and 550 feet of elevation gain, the trail arrives at a ridge-top clearing that looks down on the Pacific Palisades, Santa Monica, and the ocean beyond. Have a seat on the bench and watch slow moving waves roll up on the shore. The southward view extends to Palos Verdes Peninsula, and on a clear day, even Catalina Island is visible. Those eager for more can continue up the fire road to Parker Mesa Overlook in Topanga State Park. Otherwise, return down the Los Liones Trail to complete this 2.6-mile out and back trek.

Los Liones Trail
The top of Los Liones Trail

Find the Los Liones Entrance to Topanga State Park on the right side of the cul-de-sac at the end of Los Liones Drive in the Pacific Palisades. Head north up the east side of the canyon on a dirt single track. Ivy hangs off the trees, creating a lush environment for a steady climb along the undulating canyon wall. After 1/3 of a mile, look down the canyon for the first ocean view beyond the mount of the canyon.

Los Liones Trail
Los Liones Trail

Half a mile from the start, there is a clear view up the canyon toward the higher lands of Topanga State Park. The trail makes a sharp turn to the right as chaparral becomes the dominant vegetation. As the trail continues to climb, it angles southeast toward the top of the ridge neighboring the canyon, delivering expanding ocean views.

The first junction you will reach is with East Topanga Fire Road at the top of Los Liones Trail. Turn left up this wide trail to reach Parker Mesa Overlook in Topanga State Park, 2.6 miles away. Otherwise, plop down on the bench just before the junction and admire the south-facing view of Santa Monica Bay. What a peaceful spot of a quick city escape!

Return the way you can for a 2.6-mile round trip hike. The hike up Los Liones Trail is most enjoyable in cool temperatures. When it gets too hot, the enclosed trail can feel more oppressive than enchanting. Dogs are not welcome, but no fee or permit is required, so get out and enjoy!

To get to the trailhead: Los Liones Drive is the second left off Sunset Blvd from PCH and is just 1/3 of a mile from the beach. Park on the right side of Los Liones, and enter the trail from the end of the cul-de-sac.

Trailhead address: 580 Los Liones Drive, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272
Trailhead coordinates: 34.047263, -118.560098

Use the map below to create your own directions:

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Photos

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These photos were taken in February of 2010. Click to enlarge.
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Parker Mesa Overlook TrailParker Mesa Overlook
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5 Comments on Los Liones Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains

  1. Super pretty trail. I use this to get to the Parker Mesa Overlook. The trail is lush and mostly shaded and great fun to run, cause it’s narrow and the ground is kind of spongy for good shock absorption. Anyone know how far it is to Parker Mesa Overlook if you start at Los Liones instead of the other way?

  2. Zach Mandt says:

    Just hiked this yesterday and loved it! The los leones part of the hike was a little more suited to my tastes, as the trail wasn’t a fire road, and full of lush vegetation, whereas the trail from the junction to Parker Mesa was all dusty, well worn fire road. However, the effort was worth it as the sweeping panoramic views of the bay and city were breathtaking. Will do this hike again at night for a new view of the city lights.

  3. Mckenna Grace says:

    Loved this trail! I didn’t think it was that crowded (went around 3:30), and the terrain was challenging but not too difficult. I only did a few miles of the trail but what I saw was breathtaking. The views are incredible and entirely worth it. Thanks so much for all the info! Will definitely be hiking this trail again.

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