About Temescal Canyon Falls
Temescal Canyon Falls is definitely one of those waterfalls that’s close to civilization yet provides a bit of a sampler of the Nature found in the Santa Monica Mountains.
I’d say that this waterfall was more of a side attraction compared with the longer hikes yielding coastal views in the Pacific Palisades area.
In fact, we’ve had very mixed results with the waterfall’s performance over the years that we’ve visited this place.
Indeed, Temescal Canyon Falls’ reliability of its waterflow was not one of its attributes.
Since this hike was so close to the urban sprawl, which was not very far from the Santa Monica Pier, and the busy Sunset Blvd cuts right across the entrance to the Temescal Gateway State Park, we shared the trail with lots of people each time we did it.
Perhaps the high volume of foot traffic was also because we happened to come on the weekend.
In any case, visitors ranged from toddlers and families to trail runners or more able-bodied collegiates (probably from relatively nearby UCLA or University of California, Los Angeles) as well as locals.
Trail Description to Temescal Canyon Falls
Once we paid and displayed our ticket in the car (see directions below), we then walked towards the Stewart Hall Retreat Center.
Apparently this retreat seemed to have various programs where participants could stay in the cabins nearby, and the walk initially passed by these cabins.
We noted that the road looped towards the hall so when we saw the initial fork in the road, we realized that they both led to the same place.
Once we got to Steward Hall, the trail then began in earnest.
From there, it was another 1.2 miles (2.4 miles round trip) of mostly uphill hiking.
This included one stretch that was particularly slippery and narrow thanks to the pebbles and rocks gathered within the ruts and gullies formed from rain runoff.
This steep stretch of trail was prone to slips and falls, especially on the return hike going back downhill.
But after this steep part, the climb then flattened out and the trail then reached a footbridge.
This footbridge was where Temescal Canyon Falls’ tiers were located both above and mostly below it.
To get to the more significant lower tiers, I had to do a little more scrambling to get in front of them.
Temescal Canyon Falls resides in the Temescal Gateway Park in Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles County, California. It is administered by a partnership between the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority and the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. For information or inquiries about the area as well as current conditions, visit the MCRA website or the National Park Service website.
To get to the parking lot for Temescal Gateway Park, we took the 10 Freeway west of the 405 through Santa Monica as the freeway ended and curved northwards becoming Pacific Coast Highway (PCH).
We then drove for another couple miles further north until we reached the light for Temescal Canyon Road.
Turning right onto Temescal Canyon Road, we took that road for another mile, going straight past Sunset Boulevard.
At the intersection with Sunset Blvd, we had to make sure we stayed on the second lane from the far left lane, which allowed us to go straight at the light.
The other lanes would have made us turn left or right.
Once past Sunset Blvd, we then entered the Temescal Gateway State Park.
Taking the park road as far as we could, we wound up reaching the car park near the Temescal Canyon Store.
Since it was a state park, we had to pay a $7 day use fee here (subject to change I’m sure, especially given the state’s budget problems).
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