Your Destination Guide to Los Angeles

Destination Guide LA - Your Destination Guide to Los Angeles, CA

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Topanga Canyon

Topanga Canyon
Topanga Canyon

© Chris Palmer

Topanga Canyon is an unincorporated area in Western Los Angeles, meaning that its eighteen square miles knows no immediate government oversight, but instead is beholden only to the greater County of Los Angeles. Thus, the rolling hills and oak trees that line this urban state park boast only five streetlights, one traffic signal, and one turtle crossing signpost. It is an area of immense boulders, autumnal grasses, funneled spider-webs, and hiking trails.

First settled in 1839 and made both famous and desirable by the influx of Hollywood stars in the 1930's, Topanga Canyon is now flavored with an artistic, bohemian culture. Woodie Guthrie, Neil Young and Jim Morrison have called the area home, and today, Topanga Canyon still acts as a magnet for artists, singers and songwriters. But due to its location in the Santa Monica Mountains and its proximity to Malibu and Los Angeles, Topanga is also a favorite spot for hikers, bicyclists, and motorcycle racers, thus creating an odd cultural synergy. It is not uncommon to spot a 1970's surfer-bus parked in front of a Hollywood director's multi-million dollar mansion, with the result that visitors should feel comfortable no matter their style. Just remember to bring cash before you go, as there are no ATM's in Topanga Canyon.

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