Tuna Canyon Park is a sprawling 1,255-miles preserve in the Santa Monica mountains – in between Topanga and Malibu. The hills and canyons in this park are covered with sagebrush, wildflowers and a sprinkle of Oak trees.
Many trails crisscross through the park, but most of them are hard to find – making them some of the least visited trails in Los Angeles. If you want to avoid the crowds, this is the trail for you.
One of the best trails to explore starts from Tuna Canyon Road at the Big Rock Motorway dirt road. There is no sign at the trailhead, so it is very easy to miss it and there is no official parking. Just pull over on the dirt and follow the dirt road for a short distance (about 790 ft).
The drive itself from PCH to Hwy 27, Fernwood Pacific and Tuna Canyon Road is worth the time. Lush greenery on both sides and a sleepy mountain community with a few viewpoints along the way.
Tip: There are no restrooms on those trails. Make sure to visit the facilities before you get on the winding roads. Otherwise, you will have to do your business among the brush.
You have a decision to make at this junction. You can turn left onto Hearst Tank Motorway following a steep incline to one of the viewpoints. Expect to climb about 1,550 feet for this stunning view of the ocean and the hills.
For an easier hike, turn right on that junction following Big Rock Motorway to another unmarked junction. Along the way, enjoy the meadows on either side of the trail.
Big Rock Motorway leads you to Budwood Motorway. Following this trail, you will be hiking parallel to the coastline with amazing views towards Malibu due west and Santa Monica Bay due east.
Tip: Since there are no signs or markings anywhere to be seen in this park, make sure to take photos and notes at every junction, so you can find your way back.
For a longer and more difficult hike, keep going down Big Rock Motorway to the Big Rock Lateral junction, then continue on Big Rock Lateral until you reach a viewpoint overlooking Las Flores Canyon with a commanding view of the winding Malibu coast below.
Direction to the main Trailhead
Coming from PCH, turn onto Topanga Canyon Rd (Hwy 27). Turn left into Fernwood Pacific Dr. Follow the winding road which will turn into Tuna Canyon Rd. Stop at Big Rick Motorway (dirt road) and start walking.
Trailhead address: Tuna Canyon Trailhead, Topanga Canyon, CA 90290
Trailhead coordinates: 34.059538, -118.616345
On the way out, you can continue on Tuna Canyon Road to the right, which becomes one-way down to PCH.