Map of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
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Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
Near Los Angeles
The Santa Monica Mountains rise above Los Angeles, widen to meet the curve of Santa Monica Bay, and reach their greatest height facing the ocean, forming a beautiful and multifaceted landscape. Residents use "L.A.s backyard" for mountain biking and hiking. For sensational views, drive along Mulholland Drive, which cuts through the park. The recreation area is a cooperative effort that joins federal, state, and local park agencies with private preserves and landowners to protect the natural and cultural resources of this transverse mountain range and seashore. Encompassed within this recreation area are Topanga, Leo Carillo, Point Mugu, and Malibu Creek state parks. The area was established on November 10, 1978.
WHAT TO SEE & DO
Attending festivals and cultural workshops and events, bird- and whale-watching, hiking, horseback riding (rentals), mountain biking, picnicking, surfing, swimming, walking. Facilities: Visitor center (401 W. Hillcrest Dr., Thousand Oaks); Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center (Via Goleta, off Lynn Rd.), 580 mi of trails, beaches. Bookstore. Programs & Events: Ranger-led walking tours, cultural programs, natural history talks. Seasonal activities and special events include nature walks, guided tours of Historic Paramount Ranch western movie set, Silent Films under the Stars. Tips & Hints: Expect hot, dry summers (80°F-100°F) and relatively cool, wet winters (40°F-70°F). Plan for coastal side of the mountains to be 10-15 degrees cooler than inland side during summer (in winter this pattern is reversed). Bikers must yield to hikers; hikers must yield to equestrians. Watch out for poison oak and rattlesnakes. Bring plenty of water. Busiest May and June, least crowded Dec. and Jan. Contact park for copy of "Outdoors" calendar of events.
FEES, HOURS & REGULATIONS
Free. Parking fees charged at most state parks and some local parks within recreation area. Some special events charge fees. Horse rentals available at Dos Vientos Stables (tel. 805/498-9222) and Adventures on Horseback (tel. 818/706-0888). Park open daily. Visitor center open daily 9-5.
HOW TO GET THERE
West of Griffith Park in Los Angeles County and east of Oxnard Plain in Ventura County. U.S. 101 (Ventura Freeway) borders the mountains on the north, and Rte. 1 (Pacific Coast Hwy.) and the Pacific Ocean form the southern boundary. Access is via many roads that cross the mountains between these two highways. Part of the park stretches into the Simi Hills north of U.S. 101. To reach the visitor center from U.S. 101, take Lynn Rd. exit, travel north on Lynn Rd., turn east (right) on Hillcrest Dr., turn left onto McCloud Ave. The driveway to the visitor center will be on the right-hand side. Closest airports: Burbank (20 mi), Los Angeles International (15 mi).
Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (National Park Service, 401 W. Hillcrest Dr., Thousand Oaks, CA 91360, tel. 805/370-2301). Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau (520 Broadway, Santa Monica, CA 90401, tel. 310/319-6263 or 800/ 544-5319).
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