Unlike the rest of the country, the best time to hike is just starting in southern California. This hike starts from Mandeville Canyon Park in Pacific Palisades then leads you to Westridge-Canyonback Wilderness Park. Dogs are allowed off-leash as long as they are under your control. Love it! Nearby Topanga Canyon doesn’t allow dogs so it makes this hike popular among dog owners even more. The trailhead is at the end of Westridge Road. The parking lot is tiny and most likely you won’t find a spot. But no worries, free street parking is always available.
I recommend hiking this trail by tackling the hills to the Nike missile site. It’s not crowded and it is definitely more fun. Most people stay on the fire road. Everyone we met (including the dogs) was friendly. One of the reasons I love hiking: I meet some of the nicest people on the trails. However, some owners did not clean up after their dogs. Dog ownership comes with responsibilities.
It’s about 3.5 miles to the old Nike missile site from the trailhead. From 1956-1968, San Vicente Mountain was one of sixteen Los Angeles area Nike-Ajax supersonic anti-aircraft missile launch sites. If you find this interesting, click on the “old Nike missile site” link for more details. Bathroom facility and picnic tables are available at the site so don’t forget to pack your snacks! Make sure to bring plenty of water for you and your dog(s). Happy Hiking!
Details on this hike:
- Distance: 7.2 miles
- Elevation change: 839 feet
- A historic site
- Recommendation: early morning or late afternoon (almost no shade on the trail)