13 October 2013

Rustic Canyon

Topanga State Park


Locate the trail head.

Although not officially a hike of the group, a number of the LA chapter of HIKE the GEEK collect themselves on a street corner in Pacific Palisades to hike into Rustic Canyon from the Sullivan Fire Road with a few extras who were actually organizing the hike. Coming in from the fire road gives a little easier route than the usual from Will Rogers State Historic Park. When we're all good and ready, we start down the fire road past a gate and dodging a few cars on their way to the boy scout camp.

overview of the area up the canyon from where we start
The area up Rustic Canyon from near the start of the hike. Sullivan Fire Road curves its way along the upper right of the canyon.

After a short while climbing slowly along the fire road, there's a whole in a fence where there might have once been a gate. Turning, there is a short bit of trail, and then a long flight of steps. The steps are short and shallow and, of course, without handrails as they drop very nearly to the bottom of the canyon. The vegetation grows up higher as we descend lower, removing the view out over the canyon for a close tunnel of chaparral.

long stairway back to the road
Endless steps, or so it may seem when climbing them.


We are upstream of the small barn and dam, but there isn't a drop of water to form a pretty waterfall of it today anyway. We head upstream to the power house instead. The smell of paint isn't so fresh today while the infinite spray cans left by previous artists offer plenty of opportunity for the unprepared to put their own mark on the ever changing canvas offered by the walls.

paint inside the power house
A sleeper in the corner of the old power house. One of the ill prepared added to it in the last few minutes.

foundation of an old greenhouse
This is said to have been a greenhouse.

The buildings are left from an artist colony, mostly. Before them, it was a Nazi compound, full of people waiting for Hitler to win the war. Following the trails upward, we pass more spectacular ruin in the form of a fallen iron building. There are a few more foundations and at least one crashed microbus before finally coming to a large barn. It is meant to be tightly fenced, but this doesn't keep the foolish out of the wooden building that has collapsed at one end but still remains strong at the other. For now.

lizard on an iron step
Nature will even manage to take this back, eventually.

upper level of the collapsing barn
Up in the upper level of a collapsing barn, where only a fool would go.

Beyond the barn, a bit of road comes down from the fire road above. We quickly stroll up it and it is hard to believe that all the drop along the steps, plus some, has been recovered by the easy walk up canyon and road. At the top, the old gates are locked, but the wall has failed. To the side of it is the remains of a large reservoir. The massive timbers that made the roof lie burned in the bottom.

iron gate to keep out the unwanted
The entrance gate at the top of the road down into the compound.

We take the fire road back down, dodging a couple more cars. I can't help but explore a couple spots that appear to head down into the canyon before our route down. A set of wooden steps that look as though they are about to rot through turn out to have a fence and nothing more of them as they turn and cross onto the last property with garbage cans along the road. A bit of road on the other side contours around into the same property, this time behind the fence it is being used for storage of building materials. As we finish, a lunch spot is decided upon, but unusually far away.

rotten wooden steps to nowhere
Where do these go? No much of anywhere, certainly not somewhere of interest.




©2013 Valerie Norton
Posted 14 October 2013

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