Like many trails near L.A., most of its climbing is on fire roads, and the singletrack descents – which comprise just over half the trail – are steep and relatively technical. You’ll want a map, as some of the trail junctions aren’t marked. The loop is best ridden from the trailhead adjacent to Ladera Linda Community Center, which allows mountain bikers to finish on a descent.
3. Topanga Creek Outpost Loop, Topanga State Park
- Distance from Downtown L.A.: 27 miles
- Difficulty: Intermediate
This wide-open loop, much of which is on fire roads, begins at the Topanga Creek Outpost. You’ll climb moderate singletrack on the Deer Hill trail, which opens up into a meadow carpeted with wildflowers during the springtime. The highlight is the Mulholland Drive Fire Road, which boasts awe-inspiring views of the San Fernando Valley and the Pacific Ocean, not to mention the gorgeous red canyons of Topanga State Park. Don’t let your guard down: the crux of the route is a technical, rocky waterfall section near the end.