Sullivan Canyon Hike Brentwood Pacific Palisades Los Angeles California Trail Santa Monica Mountains Sullivan Ridge Trail

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.

Sullivan Canyon
Sullivan 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.

Sullivan Canyon
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.

Sullivan Canyon
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 (34° 04′ 25.6″N 118° 30′ 24.7″W)

Elevation Profile
Click or hover over any spot on this elevation profile to see the distance from the start and elevation above sea level at that location, which will be highlighted on the map.
Trail Map

(Sullivan Canyon Trail is in red)
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These photos were taken in March of 2010. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Sullivan Ridge Trail Sullivan Ridge
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.
Murphy Ranch Rustic Canyon Trail Murphy Ranch
This 3.85-mile loop descending from Sullivan Ridge Fire Road into Rustic Canyon to abandoned buildings that had unusual occupants.
Westridge Trail 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.
San Vicente Mountain Trail 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.
Temescal Canyon Trail Temescal Canyon
This 2.6-mile loop offers a variety of scenery and decent exercise, despite its relative brevity.
Mandeville Canyon hike 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.
Topanga Waterfall Trail Santa Ynez Falls
This 2.5-mile follows a shaded creek to a gorge containing a short waterfall.
Santa Monica Trail More trails in the Santa Monica Mountains
Explore other destinations in the range.
Similar Trail
Zuma Canyon Trail Zuma Canyon Trail
This 2.8-mile hike leaves a coastal Malibu neighborhood to explore rustic Zuma Canyon.
Solstice Canyon hike Solstice 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 Trail Red Rock Canyon
The trails in the beautifully sculpted Red Rock Canyon are 2.5 and 5.2 miles in length.
Eaton Canyon Falls Trail 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.
runyon canyon hike hollywood Runyon Canyon
Tour Hollywood's most popular dog park on loops of various lengths, offering good exercise and views over Los Angeles.

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10 Comments on Sullivan Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains

  1. […] information:  Trip reports here and here (shorter routes); Everytrail report here; map of the Westridge Canyonback portion of the […]

  2. Joanna Poppink wrote:

    Is it safe to walk with two leashed 20 pound terriers? Will the dogs attract coyotes?

    When are the most and least hiking traffic days and times?

    Thank you.

    • hikespeak wrote:

      There seem to be a lot of people walking with dogs on weekends and weekday mornings. Also, mountain bikers down this trail on weekends.

  3. teddylebear wrote:

    I love this hike. I hiked up to sullivan ridge making for a 9.5 mile hike. This trail is not crowded at least not on a Thursday afternoon. The bikers are respectful and friendly. Thank you hikespeak folk.

    teddylebear's ratings for this hike: teddylebear gives a rating of 4teddylebear gives a rating of 4teddylebear gives a rating of 4teddylebear gives a rating of 4teddylebear gives a rating of 4
  4. tav wrote:

    Great trail, I ride my bike every weekend and this is a fun one. The single tracks coming down hill are a lot of fun. And everyone I’ve met is pretty nice.

  5. Lupus Passus wrote:

    For those with dogs wondering: This is, unfortunately, an on-leash only trail.

    There is a ranger pick-up truck driving up and down the trail on the lookout for the horrible crime of well-behaved dogs off-leash.

    You will likely get a warning the first time, but they looped around several times on that particular day.

    Walking a dog on a leash for a ~15 mile hike is fun for neither dog nor owner, so while this trail is probably great for humans and mountain-bikers, be aware of the restrictions.

  6. Kristina wrote:

    Love this hike, I live in that area so it is super convenient for us. M-F it is a bit empty (not too many hikers but folks on bikes) and kind of creepy but beautiful. My dog loves running trough the trees and bushes and lass time we went (beginning of November 2015) she found a deer leg… and I thought she was running with a stick…double creepy. Wondering what she will find on our next hike there.

  7. Chuck wrote:

    Is there an address of the street where to park

  8. Kevin Lewin wrote:

    Does anyone know if the Sullivan Canyon Trail is open during all the craziness?