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Cycling Topanga and Old Topanga Roads
Ride 8.2 miles gaining 1,501’ at 3.4% average grade.
Topanga Canyon starts at the busy Pacific Coast Highway. The start of the climb is just across the street from Topanga Beach, a famous surf beach in Malibu. There’s ample parking along the side of the road at the intersection, but since it is such a busy surf area, the spots tend to fill up during peak surfing hours!
The first 3.8 miles is along a fairly busy road, often with minimal shoulder. For those traffic averse, consider beginning the climb in Topanga.
Unlike most other climbs in the Santa Monica Mountains, Topanga winds through a steep and forested canyon, so there is little to no view for most of the ride. Sometimes it’s difficult to tell that you’re ascending, since you're surrounded by trees. This is one of the only rides in the Santa Monica Mountains that is shaded for a large portion.
3.8 miles at 3.6% average grade to the community of Topanga
Topanga comes from the Tongva tribe and means “where the mountain meets the sea”
Right at the intersection where you turn on to Old Topanga Road, there’s a little cluster of shops, among which is the Waterlily Cafe. Here I stopped and grabbed my daily afternoon macchiato, as well as an incredible Tuna salad sandwich.
We leave the main Highway 27 at the junction of Topanga and Old Topanga Roads.
Traffic is lighter on for the last 4.1 miles at 3.6% on Old Topanga Road.