Cheeseboro Canyon – Santa Monica Mountains

Where: Santa Monica Mountains
Mileage: 13.1 miles
Difficulty: Easy
Recommended: Good for trail run or mountain biking

To get to the trailhead: From the coast take Topanga Canyon Blvd east. Turn left on Mulholland Drive. Get on the 101 North and exit onto Cheeseboro Rd. Turn north onto Palo Comado Canyon Rd then right on Cheeseboro Rd. Pass the park entrance and turn right and follow the road to the parking lot.

Cheeseboro Canyon sits at the northernmost outskirts of the Santa Monica Mountains. Many of the original trails before expanded by cattle ranchers were Chumash trails built by the Chumash Indians. This was their habitat for many years.

This area is very popular to trail runners and mountain bikers. This was one of my first trail runs. I started at about 0800, it was crispy and misty outside. I was only going to do 10.25 miles, but circumstances changed my hike to add on almost 3 extra miles. Oh well, now I can say on my first trail run I ran a half-marathon.

I started at the Main Park entrance and took Modelo Trail to Palo Comado Connector Trail to the left. I continued on Palo Comado Canyon Trail all the way to Sheep Corral Trail and made a right. There was a bit of uphill on this portion. I was about 7 miles at this point and decided to take a quick break.

I continued on Sheep Corral Trail to the East and missed the turn off on Cheeseboro Ridge Trail so ended up taking Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Trail back South. I encountered a number of runners, but many more mountain bikers. This portion of the hike was completely out in the open.

The sun was beaming at this point. I took the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail connector and reached the Canyon Trail. Here is where I looked for my phone to take a photo. My phone, my phone, my phone was gone. Well, might as well keep running and retrace my steps. Half a mile, nothing. Another half a mile, nothing. Now began the uphill and about another half a mile up, there it was laying in the dirt. PHEW, I got lucky. Zipped it up safely into my backpack and headed back down to my car.

I got back to the car around 1100. I didn’t feel my legs were that tired until I had to start driving my car (manual); legs shook a little. Either way – must make this a routine, come out for a long trail run instead of always the same old gym.

Note to self: Put phone inside backpack and bring more water for a long run like this.

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