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Located in the Santa Monica Mountains of southern California, Topanga State Park consists of a large chunk of the eastern part of the range. Oddly, most of Topanga Canyon is not included in this park, however, the park does include much of Rustic and Temescal canyons. Despite the fact that this park is quite near downtown Los Angeles (it nearly borders the town of Beverly Hills and comes within a mile or two of the congested 405 freeway), a combination of rugged terrain and thick vegetation give the area quite a wild feel. It is called the 'Big Wild' by some people, and supports coyotes, bobcats, deer, and hawks, among other animals. Two or three mountain lions even use this land as part of their territory. The dominant vegetation is thick chaparral which is typical of the Santa Monica Mountains; there are also several sizable stands of oak, bay, or sycamore trees.

There are several ways to access this park, but the most commonly used is Trippet Ranch, which is accessed from the west, off of Topanga Canyon Road. Trailheads also exist on the south end of the park, near the coast, and the north end of the park, near the San Fernando Valley. The area can also be accessed from Dirt Mulholland, which is closed to vehicles most of the time, or from a trailhead at the south end of Reseda Boulevard. Hiking, mountain biking, and horseback riding are the preferred means of viewing this park, and each of these options have their advantages and disadvantages. (Some trails do not allow bikes or horses, consult a park map or talk to a ranger for details.) Off-trail travel is virtually impossible due to basically impenetrable vegetation. When visiting this park, look for wildlife such as coyotes, bobcats, or raptors, check out great views of the LA skyline, or visit a small waterfall in the spring.

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