Between the seasonal changes in the flora, on-going trail work, erosion from weather and use, and now, daylight saving, our Monday-Wednesday night-hiking group is always discovering a new experience along the 21 hikes in our repertoire.
Year around, we take off at 6:30 p.m., in darkness or daylight. Since we only re-visit a specific trail once every ten weeks, the sense of adventure is always renewed. We may know the basic route like the backs of our hands, but the nuances are always a delight.
For example, right now, the Temescal Canyon Crossover Trail is an especially rare treat. Reworked just a few years ago, this trail is still a new find for many folks. While the adjacent Waterfall hike is one of the more popular trails on the Westside, its sister route, in the opposite direction to the east, is equally charming and provides a diversity of experiences.
My favorite moment on this trail is the dramatic transition from a southwest facing view to the eastern perspective of Rivas Canyon. As you head south on the crossover ridgeline, the trail veers to the inland side of the hill, offering a tremendous view of the valley below, with a long and colorful row of sycamore trees lining the canyon floor. Do this hike now while spring is in bloom – and revisit it again in the fall when the leaves are brilliant orange.
If you follow the well-groomed zig-zaggy path down to the bottom, you can turn right and connect to Will Rogers Park, or go left and explore some of the backcountry of Rivas Canyon. The Will Rogers course is easier, mostly flat, with tall canopy trees and a well-worn trail. The Rivas route is more of an adventure with steep ascents and descents and bold rock outcroppings. You’ll have a chance to do some minor climbing on this alternative, and you’ll pick-up some views inaccessible from any other approach.
In hindsight, the Crossover trail, and Rivas in particular, are definitely best done in daylight, as the canyon views and seasonal colors are lost in the darkness. You can find the trailhead by entering Temescal Canyon, north of Sunset Boulevard, and bear to the right, rather than the left (which is the way to the Waterfall Loop). You’ll see a small, understated sign pointing you up a relatively non-descript path. There may not be the romantic lure of a waterfall, but there will be a great adventure, with panoramic ocean and canyon views, and terrific connecting alternative routes.Fearless readers interested in free Monday and Wednesday night hikes should call Scott Regberg at (310) 475-5735.