Trailhead at Temescal Gateway Park
With so much to see and do in Southern California, we were on a tight schedule. Hiking, though a priority for me, wasn't on my kids' radars at all. I had to squeeze it in when I could. My plan for both days was to start early, go as far as time permitted, and turn around from wherever I may be on the trail, giving myself just enough time to make it back to my aunt's condo at the appointed hour. We made an executive decision to throw precaution to the wind. Instead of wasting time in the parking lot familiarizing ourselves with a trail map, we would look for a well-worn trail and take it. Nearly two weeks later, as I sit here with a copy of the trail map by my side, I can see we were headed up the Viewpoint Trail, also shown as the Temescal Ridge Trail on Google Maps. This was hiking at its best: cool, dry air; no mud or slick surfaces, no crowds, and no mosquitos or ticks.
Cool enough for a jacket in July
My aunt had told us about a waterfall 1.3 miles away from the trailhead. As it would turn out, the waterfall was not along the path we were traversing. But we didn't know this at the time and because the hiking was so exceptional, we didn't care. Besides, in our minds, we were hiking to the waterfall. I soon began outpacing my wife so, after synchronizing our watches and agreeing on a turn around time, I trekked on ahead.
Though the gloom lingered, it was still breathtaking
Looking back at my pictures I can now ascertain that I made it to the junction of the Leacock and Temescal Ridge trails before turning back due to time constraints. Fortunately, I was able to make it back to the park two days later, and this time I explored the Temescal Canyon Trail. Still cloudy and cool, and again with one eye on my watch, I sometimes ran and sometimes hiked 1.7 miles into the park's mountain range before my allotted time elapsed, forcing me to retrace my steps back to the hustle and bustle of the city below.
Before turning around, I came upon the location of the waterfall. Not surprisingly, it was dry. I didn't even realize this was the location of the wet weather waterfall until my uncle described the area to me the following day. Now piecing things together on the map, I can see it would have been nearly as easy for me to hike the loop trail formed by the Temescal Canyon and Temescal Ridge trails in opposite directions rather than backtracking both days. Oh, well. Hindsight's 20/20.
Near the sight of the wet weather waterfall
Either way, the hiking was outstanding. On our final full day in town, under sunny skies, we walked the picturesque streets of Pacific Palisades and viewed the Pacific Ocean from Palisades Park. The next time we visit we will have to allocate more time for walking and less time for traffic jams, as there are many miles of trails connecting to Temescal Gateway Park, as well as an extensive network of city sidewalks, remaining to explore.
Views from the Temescal Canyon Trail
Sun is out at Palisades Park on our last day in town