Topanga Canyon: Cycling Gateway from the Valley to the Ocean

If you’re a valley cyclist of any mettle, one of the must rides on your list has include Topanga Canyon. It is the most direct
route to get you to the ocean, but a challenge for most.

Coming off of Ventura Blvd., the real part of the climb starts at Dumetz covering 2.2 miles with 530 feet of climbing. Not too shabby.

From the peak, it is a 9.4 mile descent that takes you through the scenic and quirky Topanga that still leans to its artistic history.

Of course, coming back is the much bigger issue. Climbing north from PCH takes you through two challenging climbs and 1,400 feet of ascension.

It’s no easy task, as the first climb slaps you in the face with grades of over 8%. It flattens out for a good four miles before you’re asked to go onto the small ring.


The climb is doable for those teetering on intermediate fitness(at least I’ve seen some beginners fatefully complete the climb). Obviously, fill up both of your water bottles to be safe(as the water fountain at the top seems to be out).

If this is your first venture into the Santa Monica Mountains, it’s a great gateway to whet your appetite to try some of the more challenging nearby climbs, like Piuma, Stunt or Fernwood. Reaching PCH is also a great reward.

Here’s a guide I put together heading north. Enjoy: