Hiking Topanga State Park for SMMHA Caches


After visiting my mother in West Los Angeles this morning, I decided to return to Simi Valley by way of finding some Santa Monica Mtns History Adventure caches.  I did it with 3 separate hikes.

Hike #1 was to find Reservoir Dog.  OLdweeb gave me some help with finding a close trailhead at the end of Chautauqua. I hiked up to the top of the ridge and then kept going on the very well maintained trail until I realized that it wasn’t leading to the cache. Turned around and returned to the ridge, followed it south right to the cache. My coords were off by 45 feet, but I found the cache before reaching the projected GZ.

Hike #2 was to find Lion’s View.  I began this hike at the Paseo Miramar trailhead at the end of Paseo Miramar Street.   There isn’t any parking at the trailhead. You need to park on the street downhill.   NOTE: If there is a Red Flag Warning, don’t bother coming up here. All the streets are posted No Parking–Tow Away during Red Flag warnings.

For finding Lion’s View, I recommend passing by the cache and approaching it from the north. It’s easier and quicker than going UP the direct approach.

Hike #3 was to find The Pit Stop.   I walked by this cache in December, realized the mistake about 1000 feet later, and decided not to go back to get it. Once home, I realized that it was a SMMHA cache and that I would need to return to get it.

The cache’s abbreviated name on my GPS is “The Pit.” I thought that the cache would be located in a depression. How wrong I was! It’s located UP on the top. The description mentions 2 ways to the cache. I took the direct approach–straight UP the ridge from the north. That requires some climbing. I decided that it was OK for going up, but I didn’t want to return that way. The safer and easier approach is from the south.


I usually completely forget while I’m hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains that they are located in the middle of a major urban city.  Every once in a while, we get a cityscape view like this one, that reminds us where we are.


I love the views of Santa Monica Bay from the Santa Monica Mountains.  I grew up in West Los Angeles and spent plenty of time on the beaches shown above.  While I didn’t take a photo of it, Catalina Island was showing off today.



I’m not sure if the scant amount of rain that we got this week made any difference, but it was nice to finally see some wildflowers blooming.  I hope it is just the beginning.

reservoir dog 140131Hike #1 Track and Profile–Reservoir Dog

lions view 140131Hike #2 Track and Profile–Lion’s View

pit stop 140131Hike #3 Track and Profile–The Pit Stop

The 3 hikes totaled just over 9 miles, with 2281 feet of elevation gain, with 7 total cache finds, 3 of which were SMMHA caches.


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