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Topanga State Park

Eagle Rock Loop Trail (Backbone Trail)

To Eagle Rock via Eagle Rock/Eagle Springs Loop is 6.5 miles round trip
with 800-foot elevation gain; to Will Rogers SHP via Eagle Rock,
Fire Road 30, and Rogers Road is 10.5 miles one way with a 1,800-foot loss

Notice on Dogs:

Please note that dogs are not allowed on the park trails, fire roads, or in the back country.

Topanga Canyon is a quiet retreat, surrounded by L.A. sprawl but retaining its rural character. The state park is sometimes billed as “the largest state park within a city limit in the U.S.”

The name Topanga is from the Shoshonean Indian dialect. These Indians and their ancestors occupied the canyon on and off for several thousand years until the Spanish evicted them and forced them to settle at the San Fernando Mission.

Until the 1880s, there was little permanent habitation in the canyon. Early settlers tended vineyards, orchards, and cattle ranches. In the 1920s, the canyon became a popular weekend destination for Los Angeles residents. Summer cabins were built along Topanga Creek and in subdivisions in the surrounding hills. For one dollar round-trip fare, tourists could board a Packard auto stage in Santa Monica and be driven up Pacific Coast Highway and Topanga Canyon Road to the Topanga Post Office and other, more scenic spots.

Most Topanga trails are good fire roads. On a blustery winter day, city and canyon views are superb.

In the heart of the state park, the walker will discover Eagle Rock, Eagle Spring and get topographically oriented to Topanga. The energetic will enjoy the one-way journey from Topanga to Will Rogers State Historic Park.

The Topanga State Park to Will Rogers Park section of the Backbone Trail has been finished for quite some time and has proved very popular. The lower reaches of the trail offer a fine tour of the wild side of Topanga Canyon while the ridgetop sections offer far-reaching inland and ocean views.

Directions to trailhead: From Topanga Canyon Boulevard, turn east on Entrada Road; that’s to the right if you’re coming from Pacific Coast Highway. Follow Entrada Road by turning left at every opportunity until you arrive at Topanga State Park. The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot. (For information about the end of this walk, consult the Will Rogers State Historic Park write-up and directions to the trailhead on the previous page.)

The hike: From the Topanga State Park parking lot, follow the distinct trail eastward to a signed junction, where you’ll begin hiking on Eagle Springs Road. You’ll pass through an oak woodland and through chaparral country. The trail slowly and steadily gains about 800 feet in elevation on the way to Eagle Rock. When you reach a junction, bear left on the north loop of Eagle Springs Road to Eagle Rock. A short detour will bring you to the top of the rock.

To complete the loop, bear sharply right (southwest) at the next junction, following the fire road as it winds down to Eagle Spring. Past the spring, you return to Eagle Spring Road and retrace your steps back to the trailhead.

Three mile long Musch Ranch Trail, which passes from hot chaparral to shady oak woodland, crosses a bridge and passes the park pond, is another fine way to return to the trailhead.

To Will Rogers State Historic Park: Follow the loop trip directions to the northeast end of Eagle Rock/Eagle Spring Loop, where you bear right on Fire Road 30. In one-half mile you reach the intersection with Rogers Road. Turn left and follow the dirt road (really a trail) for 3.5 miles, where the road ends and meets Rogers Trail. Here a level area and solitary oak suggest a lunch stop. On clear days enjoy the spectacular views in every direction: To the left is Rustic Canyon and the crest of the mountains near Mulholland Drive. To the right, Rivas Canyon descends toward the sea.

Stay on Rogers Trail, which marches up and down several steep hills, for about two more miles, until it enters Will Rogers Park near Inspiration Point. 

© 2012 The Trailmaster, Inc.
From John McKinney’s
Day Hiker’s Guide to California’s State Parks
Trail descriptions and maps have been reproduced with the permission of the author.  To learn more about The Trailmaster and other related publications please visit their website at