Topanga Canyon is an iconic hiker’s paradise, nestled in the picturesque Santa Monica Mountains overlooking the luxurious Malibu coastline. This unique landscape offers incredible trails; some are easy to navigate and others are improvised with a fair amount of scrambling. Topanga Time Tunnel, as locals call it, leans more towards the latter, so you’ll need to be a fairly established hiker and come prepared.
While this natural haven is a little off the beaten track, you’ll be rewarded with incredible scenery including unique rock formations, dense vegetation and natural pools fed by springs running through the canyon.
How to get to Topanga Time Tunnel
Your journey begins on Lower Topanga Canyon Boulevard, where you’ll see a yellow “Slippery When Wet” sign just a half mile beyond Topanga Lumber & Hardware Co. From there, you’ll need to dodge traffic (depending on where you park) and go beyond the guardrails. From there, you’ll find a dirt trail that leads you to the unmissable tunnel covered in vivid graffiti. While wandering through a dark, 0minous tunnel may seem a little sketchy, this huge storm drain is essentially your portal to a magical oasis where time seems to stand still.
Once you’ve made it through, you’ll find a little waterfall and an alluring creek. If you follow the stream, you’ll find water cascading through the large brown boulders and collecting into crystal clear pools, which are perfect for a refreshing dip on a hot summer’s day. Further along, the rocks will slowly become a purple color, which forms part of the stunning Purple Stones of Topanga, which are popular for bouldering enthusiasts.
After you’ve reached the main pool, you can head back the way you came. The hike is about a mile roundtrip, depending on how far downstream you go and the pools tend to sparkle a little more in the mornings when it’s bathed in sunlight.
Note that this is not an official trail and these parts are remote so this should not be attempted alone.