Travel Guides USA

Why Temescal Canyon Kicks Runyon’s Ass

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When we first moved to LA, all of the locals, whether by birth or adoption, would gush about this marvelous “Runyon Canyon” and how we NEEDED to hike there to finally feel like we had done the best hike in all of Los Angeles. After a few months of putting it off, Damon and I finally decided to “become Angelenos” by putting on the sneakers and trekking it up dusty, dry, desert like hills to see the “glory” that Runyon has to offer.

Did I love the experience? Absolutely not. Not only was the path pretty un-scenic, but we were surrounded by valley girl accents from all corners talking about Tinder dates and office gossip. On top of that, I had to de-crust my sneakers for about an entire five days; the dry dust had me feeling like I was experiencing the 1930s dust bowl. Needless to say, I’m pretty sure it was my first and last trip going to Runyon.

But my hiking days are far from over.

This past weekend, I was toured around by Los Angeles’s finest local and was introduced to the Temescal Canyon hike that changed my perspective about the hiking culture all together. It was quiet, scenic, lush, and vertical enough that I could skip leg day for three days in a row if I wanted to.

Here’s why Temescal Canyon blows Runyon out of the water:

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You actually see water

Temescal Canyon is located right off of the Pacific Coast Highway, and as a beach lover who wants to try hiking, it’s a quick trip over. Park your car in Temescal Gateway Park and follow the signs for Temescal Canyon. The reward for climbing uphill for about an hour and a half? A pristine view of the Pacific Ocean.

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There are more than just cacti to keep you company

One of my biggest complaints about Runyon is how damn dry it is. The plants can’t possibly evolve beyond cactus form. Sure, there are interesting looking cacti along your Runyon run, but going to Temescal reminded me of visiting a Costa Rican rainforest.

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It’s not known for celebrity sightings

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Sorry Nathalie Portman and Justin Bieber, I don’t care about seeing you hike up Runyon that much. When I hike, my goal is to get a workout, cleanse out the chakras, and experience the unique moments in the world when there’s silence and stillness. It’s impossible to do that at Runyon when everyone goes with selfie sticks in hand waiting for their fav celebrity to power walk by. There’s no need to worry about this happening in Temescal, because it’s not as well known.

Silence: 1, celebrities: 0.

Major buns and thighs work out. Need I say more?

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You can climb up into skull rock

The hike alone was already fulfilling, but when I found out you can climb inside of a skull shaped rock and chill in an eye socket, the whole experience just went to the next level. Skull Rock is an actual google-able thing. If you’re like me and can’t navigate with tree moss and scat, you should probably plug the location into your maps app and make your way to the tipy top of the canyon to get to Skull Rock.

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When you get there, you’ll see the obvious skull shaped rock, and you’ll climb in through either side. You have to suck in the tummy and trench crawl through “the hole,” which is so tiny I was concerned my lower half wouldn’t fit. After struggling to fit through, I was able to take a victory moment and marvel at an amazing vista.
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Thanks for the adventure pineapple!

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  • Alex Klein

    You guys should go down to Point Dume! To get to the beach you have to walk down this path and set of metal stairs going down the mountain/cliff. The view and beach are so beautiful, and if you go at the right time you can see tide pools there. Sometimes you can also see seals or dolphins too.

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