Charmlee Wilderness Park. Malibu, California.

2016-02-13 16.49.01_resizedCharmlee Wilderness Park is perched on a bluff overlooking Malibu’s alluring coast. Operated by the city of Malibu, this 590-acre regional park has eight miles of interwoven trails, making it easy to “build your own” hike between two to four miles, easy to moderate. 20160213_113603_resizedIn spring, Charmlee puts on a champion’s display of wildflowers and grassy knolls.

20160213_123110_resizedThe park’s 8 miles of trails can be used to create hikes of various lengths, including this introductory loop that hits two major highlights:

20160213_131147_resizedRanch House Ruins!

20160213_121812_resizedAbandoned Water Well!

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ADDRESS: 2577 Encinal Canyon Rd, Malibu, CA 90265

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Spahn Movie Ranch. Chatsworth, California.

Screenshot_2016-01-30-22-18-12-1Located along the Santa Susana Pass Road, and above the community of Chatsworth – the one time 500-acre ranch was known for the films and television programs that were filmed there – many of them western themed; such as Bonanza, The Lone Ranger, and Duel in the Sun.

photo-1024x768Today the ranch sits within the boundaries of the Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park. There are several hiking trails in the vicinity.

Screenshot_2016-01-30-22-15-15-1_resizedOn a rainy Saturday evening we visited the site that has been dubbed “The Manson Family Cave,” named after an image of the “family” posing in the cave, in a 1969 article in Life Magazine.

20160130_175250_resizedThe landscape is all together beautiful, a wooded terrain with extensive stone features.

20160130_172302_resizedMany call this an evil place – I found nothing evil, or creepy about it from a location stand point.

Evil by humans can be committed at any time or any place, it doesn’t make the location evil, only the people who carried out the act.

 

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ADDRESS: Santa Susana Pass State Historic Park Chatsworth, California.

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Topanga Lookout Trail. Topanga, California.

20160130_104402_resizedStep out on to the large graffiti-covered concrete foundation at the site of the old fire tower. At a saddle in the Santa Monica Mountains 2,375 feet above the Pacific Ocean and 3 miles from the coast, the Backbone Trail crosses Stunt Road.
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Topanga Lookout, the former site of a fire tower, stands above Red Rock Canyon Park and continues to offer fine views of the Santa Monica Mountains, Calabasas, and the Santa Susana Mountains. This hike to Topanga Lookout is 2 miles round trip with just 160 feet of elevation gain.

The views are wide and far. It is clear why this site was chosen to look over the mountains.

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Very cool, hike below the fire tower leads to abandoned car and natural caves!

Topanga Relay Tower

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ADDRESS: 23300 Saddle Peak Road, Topanga Canyon, CA 90290

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Olive View Sanitarium. Sylmar, California.

Screenshot_2016-01-30-22-02-28-1_resizedOlive View Sanatorium opened Oct. 27, 1920, as care facility for tuberculosis patients. In 1962 the San Fernando Valley’s first successful open-heart surgery was performed there. That same year, a brush fire that started at the Circle J Ranch in Saugus and where it took out Olive View’s infirmary-surgery building and two garages. Eight hundred patients were evacuated.

Screenshot_2016-01-30-22-02-51-1Little or nothing remains of the once strategic Olive View Sanitarium in Sylmar.

20160130_160132_resizedMost of the structures of the abandoned tuberculosis hospital were destroyed by fire in 1962, and the remainder wiped out in the Sayre Fire years later.

2016-02-01 13.44.58_resizedBUT we visited on a rainy Saturday evening.

20160130_163449_resizedExplored the surrounding remaining CREEPY buildings and ruins.

20160130_154517_resized20160130_154719_resizedAlso visit the ABANDONED Peterson Mini Golf Course built in 1967

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ADDRESS: 14450 Olive View Drive. Sylmar, California.

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White Point Nature Preserve. Palos Verde, California.

20160123_173906_resized_1The White Point Nature Preserve, a 102-acre plot of land that appears as an empty, vacant parcel to the uninitiated, but serves as a quiet, natural respite from the urban world.

20160123_145858-1_resizedThe preserve is criss crossed by easy hiking trails, popular with locals and their canine companions. California grey squirrels, lizards, snakes (most of which are harmless), insects, and local and migratory birds call this preserve their home, or at the very least their temporary stopover.

 

20160123_165440_resizedThe land which the preserve sits on has quite a history of its own. For nearly 5,000 years it served as the food gathering grounds for Southern California’s native Tongva people, until it became grazing land in the 19th century for Spanish-era Rancho San Pedro and later part of the Sepulveda family.

41367-royalpalms2In 1917, Royal Palms Resort and Spa took advantage of the hydrothermal springs in the cove. The posh hotel had a bathhouse, saltwater swimming pools and even slot machines.

Screenshot_2016-01-26-05-18-51-1The area has had a fascinating history. In 1897, Japanese fishermen began harvesting abalone, who lived in the surrounding area for half a century, later establishing farms there until their internment at the start of World War II.

20160123_170957_001_resizedIn 1941, the US Military took over White Point for coastal defense. Two 16- inch gun placements, capable of firing 2,700 pound shells with a range of 28 miles, were built. You can still see the massive bunkers today.

20160123_171054_resizedIn the next decade, it became part of the Cold War defense system as the location of the LA-43 Nike anti-aircaft missile launch site (the remnants still visible at the preserve today) until its de-commission in the 1970s.

The preserve is not just important for aesthetic or recreational purposes, but to protect and rebuild the coastal sage scrub environment which complemented California’s shoreline regions for millennia, until its virtual obliteration by human development within the past two-plus centuries. With only five percent of California’s coastal sage scrub habitat still intact, it is the state’s most endangered ecosystem.

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ADDRESS: 1600 W Paseo Del Mar San Pedro, CA 90731

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The Sunken City of San Pedro California.

Screenshot_2016-01-24-07-32-06-1_resizedThe Sunken City of San Pedro (a community in Los Angeles city limits) is what remains of a devastating landslide that occurred 85 years ago.

20160123_154134_resizedA large area of land on the coast began abruptly sliding into the sea, spurring the prompt evacuation of those who had once peacefully resided in the area’s cheery bungalows. Fortunately, everyone got out safely, and even most of the homes were saved, but a few of the old bungalows went crashing into the ocean.

20160123_160937_resizedGeologists could not account for the sudden onset of the landslide, but they were able to measure its destruction. At the height of its slippage, the land was descending at 11 inches per day.

20160123_160127-1_resizedThis made for some very dramatic changes in the landscape in less than a work week. The formerly picturesque neighborhood had been reduced to ruins.

20160123_160005_resizedThe area has known its share of landslides since then, with the most recent being in 2011. A portion of the scenic drive of Paseo Del Mar gave way all at once, leaving a gaping hole where concrete and rock fell almost 100 feet.

There are a few holes beneath the fence in places that many locals and regular visitors know by heart, and there is also the option of climbing over the fence. As formerly mentioned, this area is technically off limits to the public, though fines are rarely imposed on “trespassers.” However, please acknowledge that entering the area is done at your own risk, and is against the law.

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ADDRESS:  500 W Paseo Del Mar. San Pedro, CA 90731

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SS Dominator Shipwreck. Palos Verde, California

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The ship was originally the American Liberty ship Melville Jacoby, built during World War II at the Walsh-Kaiser Company shipyard in Providence, Rhode Island, and launched on 31 March 1944.

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During the war the ship was operated by the Wilmore Steamship Company of Boston, on behalf of the War Shipping Administration. In 1947 she was sold into commercial service, and flying the Panamanian flag, was renamed SS Victoria. She changed hands in 1950, and was renamed SS North Queen, then again in 1953 and became SS Dominator.

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On March 13, 1961, Dominator was en route to Los Angeles from Vancouver with a cargo of wheat and beef, when she ran aground off Palos Verdes, California

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For two days, the Coast Guard and tugboats attempted to re float her, but heavy seas and high winds only forced her higher onto the rocks. After two days the crew abandoned ship.

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The stranded ship was then auctioned, and hull and cargo were sold separately, which led to some conflict as they attempted to gain what they could.

The nearest access point is the park along the cove to the south. A different trailhead down to the beach leading to the site begins about 2 miles north along the coast on Paseo Del Mar between Via Horcada and Via Almar in Palos Verdes Estates, California.

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There are two routes by which to access the wreckage today. Experienced hikers and climbers can make their way down the steep cliffs, but must be cautious of the rocky terrain. It is recommended you go at low tide, be prepared to get wet, and keep an eye out for interesting tide pools.

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“The nearest access point is the park along the cove to the south. A different trailhead down to the beach leading to the site begins about 2 miles north along the coast on Paseo Del Mar between Via Horcada and Via Almar in Palos Verdes Estates, California

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ADDRESS: 31550 Palos Verdes Drive West, Rancho Palos Verdes.

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Devil’s Punch Bowl, Pearblossom, California.

 

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Devil’s Punchbowl / Devil’s Chair is a 7.4 mile out and back difficult hike trail located near Pearblossom, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible year-round.

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The Devil’s Punchbowl is a point where 2 earthquake faults collide, creating upwards jutting vertical walls as high as 300 feet.

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It is a spectacular setting, with the High Desert spreading out on one side, and the pine covered Angeles National forest on the other.

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The hike takes you along the mostly shaded rim of the Punchbowl, to the dramatic Devil’s Chair, a breathtaking overlook with 360 degree views of the geologic formations.

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A rainbow of rock surrounds the Devils Chair with pink streaked chalk white cliffs, undulating tan crags, chocolate brown slabs, and green-gray ledges.

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This, combined with the green of the mountains and the blue sky, makes for a memorable image.

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ADDRESS: 28000 Devil’s Punchbowl Road Pearblossom, California 93553 

 

Sandstone Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, California.

At 3,111 feet, Sandstone Peak is the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains.

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The summit can be reached via a 6.25-mile loop with 1,075 feet of elevation gain that (in addition to bragging rights) offers expansive views of the range.

20151219_121829_resizedThe wide rock and dirt track passes a ravine with bold sandstone cliffs. These Echo Cliffs are a popular spot for mountain climbers, and you may spot a few making their ascent. A balancing rock at the northwest end of these cliffs appears to be standing in defiance of gravity.

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This route takes you through scrubland and native oak groves to Tri-Peaks, Inspiration Point, and Sandstone Peak – three prominent peaks in the Santa Monica Mountains with unbelievable views of the range, the Channel Islands, Pacific Coast and – on clear days the San Gabriels and lands as far south as Palos Verdes.
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Sandstone Peak is the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountain Range, and this is a popular trail for hikers – hands down one of the best hikes in all of Los Angeles.
20160102_155555_resizedStart early – there’s some shade on the northern part of the loop, but most of the southern stretch is unshaded and can get hot during the summer months.

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Address: 12896 Yerba Buena Road, Malibu, CA 90265

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Vasquez Rocks, Aqua Dulce, California.

 

20151212_114454_resizedVasquez Rocks Natural Area Park is a dramatic desert wonderland, with striking rock formations that point skyward at a 45-degree angle. This 932-acre Los Angeles County Park delivers a scenic desert backdrop for hikers, and is just a quick drive from LA.

Screenshot_2016-01-10-21-49-50-1_resizedThis pairing of unique beauty and convenience has made Vasquez Rocks a popular location for the film industry and the park has a long list of credits, including Star Trek, Blazing Saddles, and The Flintstones.

20151212_105314_resizedThere are several hikes possible in the park. For something short, you could enjoy a half-mile exploration of Famous Rocks, the most recognizable rock formation in the park.

20151212_094601_resizedThe Pacific Crest Trail also passes through the park and can be connected with a Foot Trail to form a 3.4-mile loop with 325 feet of elevation change. The loop passes through impressive sandstone formations and presents great views of the park.

Screenshot_2016-01-10-21-49-53-1_resized.pngThe loop can be extended by continuing down more of the Pacific Crest Trail through an interesting canyon to reach a tunnel beneath Route 14 where the PCT exits the park. Combine the loop and the extension for a 5.3-mile hike with 375 feet of elevation change.

Screenshot_2015-12-13-06-41-29_resizedWhen you’re done, climb around the Famous Rocks at the heart of the park to bring the day’s trek to 5.9 miles (or 4 miles without the extension to the tunnel)

Address: 10700 West Escondido Canyon Road, Agua Dulce, CA 91350

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