Sullivan Canyon runs north to south in the Santa Monica Mountains east of Will Rodgers State Park. This 8.5-mile round trip hike departs from a residential street a couple miles north of Sunset Boulevard and follows a wide trail up the center of a sycamore-filled canyon.
A green wall across Queensferry Road marks the start of the hike. Beyond the gate, the road descends for another quarter-mile, leaving Brentwood’s affluence for nature’s riches. When the pavement ends, turn right and cross a wide swatch of gravel with a seasonal creek flowing down the center. Concrete mats installed by the Gas Company allow easy travel up the canyon.
The dirt and gravel trail heads north on a gentile grade running parallel to and overlapping the small seasonal creek. Yellow posts every few hundred feet serve as a reminder that The Gas Company has a pipeline running through the canyon. In the spring, be sure to unplug your iPod and enjoy the abundant birdsong along the trail.
Tall gangly sycamores provide a canopy of loose shade
After 4.25 miles, Sullivan Canyon Trail comes to an end. For those looking to extend the hike, there is a fire road to the left that climbs 0.5 miles up the west wall of the canyon to Sullivan Ridge. From here, one can hike 1.5 miles to San Vicente Mountain by making a right on Sullivan Fire Road and a right on unpaved Mulholland Drive. Additionally, there is a connection path 0.9 miles from the start of Sullivan Canyon Trail that ascends the east wall of the canyon to Westridge Fire Road. This path climbs a steep dirt rut, and can be used to create a ten-mile loop encompassing Sullivan Canyon and Westridge Fire Road to visit San Vicente Mountain. Hiking up this path at the end of a long hike can be brutal, so better to descend this way at the start if you wish to attempt the loop starting from the Westridge trailhead.
Like the surrounding trails, Sullivan Canyon is popular with mountain bikers, but the trail is quite peaceful in the early morning, visited only by a few neighborhood dog walkers. The scenery along the trail is fairly redundant, so one could turn around early and not miss out on much. No fee or permit is required, so get out and enjoy.
The top of Sullivan Canyon
To get to the trailhead: From Sunset Boulevard, 2.3 miles west of the 405, turn north at the light onto Mandeville Canyon Road. After a third of a mile, turn left onto Westridge Road. Drive uphill on Westridge Road for 1.2 miles and turn left on Bayliss Road. Drive two blocks and make another left on Queensferry Road and find a place to park. The trailhead is at the bottom of the road, but for some reason street parking is not allowed right next to the trailhead. Park where it is legal, and walk down the road to the gate.
Trailhead address: 2120 Queensferry Road, Los Angeles, CA 90049
Trailhead coordinates: 34.073771, -118.506863
Use the map below to create your own directions:
A prominent lone-standing Live Oak along Sullivan Ridge makes a natural turnaround point and a 7.5 to 8.3 mile round trip hike.
This 3.85-mile loop descending from Sullivan Ridge Fire Road into Rustic Canyon, where hikers can visit abandoned buildings once occupied by Nazi sympathizers.
|Westridge Trail to San Vicente Mountain|
This 7.4-mile hike travels a scenic ridge between a Brentwood neighborhood and a summit that was once used as a Nike Missile site.
|Mulholland Drive to San Vicente Mountain|
This 2-mile hike approaches the peak from the east and offers views to the north and south en route to the old Nike Missile site.
This 2.6-mile loop offers a variety of scenery and decent exercise, despite its relative brevity.
|Mandeville Canyon to San Vicente Mountain Loop|
This 5-mile hike incorporating a few trails, taking a DWP road up to Westridge to visit San Vicente Mountain, before crossing Mulholland Drive and Canyonback Ridge to return to Mandeville Canyon via Hollyhock Fire Road.
|Santa Ynez Falls|
This 2.5-mile follows a shaded creek to a gorge containing a short waterfall.
|More trails in the Santa Monica Mountains|
Explore other destinations in the range.
|Zuma Canyon Trail|
This 2.8-mile hike leaves a coastal Malibu neighborhood to explore rustic Zuma Canyon.
This easy and level 2.6-mile out and back hike visits the ruins of a burned down ranch and a small waterfall.
|Red Rock Canyon|
The trails in the beautifully sculpted Red Rock Canyon are 2.5 and 5.2 miles in length.
|Eaton Canyon Falls|
This 3.5-mile hike goes up Eaton Wash to a narrow stretch of Eaton Canyon containing a pleasant 40-foot waterfall.
This 1.65, 2.65, or 3.25-mile loop tours the most popular dog park in Los Angeles, offering good exercise and views over Hollywood.