Corbin Canyon Trail Santa Monica Mountains hike Tarzana California Corbin Canyon Park Hike Woodland Hills Los Angeles Topanga State Park

Corbin Canyon Park is a less visited pocket of Topange State Park in the Santa Monica Mountains. The 328-acre parcel stretches into the mountains from neighborhoods in Tarzana and Woodland Hills, presenting a small offering of trails that are isolated from longer routes through the Santa Monica Mountains. Corbin Canyon hosts trails for a pleasant and manageable 2.05-mile partial loop with 150 feet of elevation change, exploring the grasses and oaks along the bottom of the canyon. That distance can be easily trimmed to half a mile for an even shorter loop through the park.

Corbin Canyon Park can be accessed from trailheads at ends of Corbin Avenue and Queen Victoria Road, two neighboring streets in Tarzana and Woodland Hills. The loop described here begins from Corbin Avenue, but could easily be adjusted if you prefer to start from Queen Victoria Road. Set out from the end of Corbin Avenue on a dirt single track through a grassland dotted with oaks. You will immediately pass a plaque on the left that recounts how Corbin Canyon’s acreage was acquired in 2001 by Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and transferred to California State Parks in 2002. After its acquisition, Corbin Canyon became part of Topanga State Park.

Hiking past the plaque, you will notice that the park trails are slightly under developed with no markers. Still, you should be able to stay on course for the hike described here. Proceed south along the east side of the canyon. A few houses will be visible on the ridges that frame the canyon, but otherwise, you’ve escaped into a pocket of nature.

Corbin Canyon Trail Tarzana
Corbin Canyon Trail
Corbin Canyon Park Woodland Hills
Looking across Corbin Canyon toward Winnetka Ridge

After a quarter mile, come to an intersection with footpaths crossing the trail. The path on the right rises toward Ellenita Avenue, liking up with other footpaths that crisscross the park. The trail on the right drops across the bottom of the canyon and meets a trail on the west side of the canyon. You will use this connector to form the loop described here. For now, stick with the main trail and continue hiking south into the canyon.

Corbin Canyon Trail continues south through grasses and oaks. Eventually, the trail dips across the creek bed running down Corbin Canyon. Step up the other side and pass through an archway of branches from the surrounding oak trees.

Reach a junction, 3/4 of a mile from the start, where two trails come together like the top of a Y. This is a merger of the trails along the east and west sides of Corbin Canyon. To form a loop, you’ll head back along the trail to the right, exploring the west side of the canyon. This route extends the return distance by 0.05 miles.

Turn left to venture farther up Corbin Canyon. The trail ahead is not as easy to follow, passing through shadowy oaks that may feel more spooky than serene. Shortly after the junction, pass a trail on the right that rises up to Winnetka Ridge Trail. Continue straight up Corbin Canyon Trail, passing along the right side of the creek bed in the bottom of the canyon, which is shouldered by oaks. A few footpaths drop across the canyon and you will pass rope swings tied to the branches of a large oak. Farther up the trail, you’ll discover a rusted, crunched, and graffiti-covered car sitting in the bottom of the canyon.

Corbin Canyon Trail Tarzana
Corbin Canyon Trail becomes overgrown

Proceeding beyond that, the trail gets more confusing. It splits and converges around a tree. A tenth of a mile after that, you’ll enter a heavily shaded area where the trail runs into a slope. A faint path ascends to the right, producing a rugged route for further exploration. Staying to the left, another path dead-ends at a wall of vegetation at the back of the canyon. With no clear path to proceed on, this seems like a good place to turn around.

Hike a quarter mile back to the Y-shaped junction. You could bear right to retrace your steps for 0.75 miles back to the trailhead at the end of Corbin Avenue. To add a loop to the hike that only extend things by 0.05 miles, bear left at the junction.

Hike north along the trail on the west side of the canyon, which cuts through sagebrush and grasses below Winnetka Ridge. Houses on Winnetka Avenue will be visible above. If the scenery looks familiar, that’s because you are directly across from the trail you hiked in on. A shallow trench running down the bottom of the canyon separates the two trails.

Corbin Canyon Park Hike
The trail along the west side of Corbin Canyon

At 0.45 miles from the Y-shaped junction you will come to another important junction. Straight ahead, the trail you are on continues north toward Queen Victoria Road, providing access to this loop from that alternate trailhead. To get back to the street you started from, turn right on a connector trail back to the main branch of Corbin Canyon Trail.

Turn right on the connector trail, which makes a roller coaster-like dip across the bottom of the canyon and up the other side. After a shirt climb, you’ll hit a junction with the trail you hiked in on. Turn left and proceed a quarter mile back to Corbin Avenue to conclude this 2.05-mile hike with 150 feet of elevation change.

Dogs and bikes seem to be permitted on the trails in Corbin Canyon (although this may change with additional integration into Topanga State Park). No permit is required to visit the park and the street parking is free, so get out and enjoy!

To get to the trailhead: Take the 101 Freeway to the exit 25 for Winnetka Avenue, which is 6 miles west of I-405. Drive south on Winneta Avenue for 0.7 miles and turn left onto Wells Drive. Go half a mile and turn right down Corbin Avenue. After 0.4 miles, come to a major bend to the left and turn right to stay on Corbin Avenue. Drive another 0.2 miles to the end of the road where the hike begins. Find on-street parking.

Trailhead address: 4000 Corbin Avenue, Tarzana, CA 91356
Trailhead coordinates: 34.1567, -118.56495 (34° 09′ 24.12″N 118° 33′ 53.81″W)

Trail Map
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Elevation Profile
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Photos

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These photos were taken in November of 2016. Click to enlarge.
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Winnetka Ridge Trail Winnetka Ridge Trail
This 1.5-mile hike just east of Corbin Canyon ventures up a ridge into the Santa Monica Mountains from the end of Winnetka Avenue.
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