When we just need to get away and get in touch with nature, but don’t want to drive into the Santa Monica Mountains or the Angeles National Forest, it’s nice to be able to find a quick escape just a few blocks away. We like to do this one in the morning before it gets too hot in the canyon, and it’s especially nice a few days after a rain. Our kids love looking for lizards, hawks, stink bugs, and whatever their little imaginations drum up! Don’t forget to bring some water and a couple snacks if you want to linger and say “hi” to the horses along the way. Note: be sure to yield to horses and keep calm as they pass.
Distance: Approximately 1.5 miles round trip
What to bring: Running or light hiking shoes, snacks for the kids, water bottle, long pants to avoid the overgrown brush in spring
Best time of year: Year round, but fall through mid spring is best before it gets too hot
Difficulty: Moderate – rolling terrain, all dirt trail, and a few narrow sections
Directions: Park near Via Campesina and Palos Verdes Drive North. You’ll see the Fern Creek Trail just off the road. The first half of the trail is mostly downhill, starting on a shaded horse trail between properties in Rolling Hills Estates. The trail follows fern creek, crossing Masongate Rd, until it reaches a trail junction at the stables below Ernie Howlett Park. From here, merge left and join the Valmonte Canyon Trail (North). [There is a “south” trail but in the last few years it’s been mostly overgrown]. The Valmonte Canyon trail climbs from the junction and eventually borders Via Pavion (there is an offshoot that leads to Via Gorron and Via Pavion if you want to start the loop here). Follow this section and either take the trail that wraps around toward the stables and ends at Via Pima, or head toward PV Drive N and take the Via Pima cut through trail from Via Opata, and walk a short distance to your parked car. If you are felling ambitious, you can connect by Via Gorrion and Via Nivel to the Telephone Trail (2.2 miles long) and then loop back on the Palos Verdes Drive North median trail.