This expansive park sprawls across 141 acres of the Pacific Palisades. Hiking enthusiasts enjoy the access to many miles of trails that make their way through nearby Topanga State Park, Will Rogers State Historic Park, and Big Wild. The Temescal Ridge Trail snakes through Temescal Gateway Park, scattered with scenic viewpoints that overlook Santa Monica and the Santa Monica Bay. Eucalyptus, sycamore, and oak trees are abundant, as are a variety of wildflowers.
Visitors tend to congregate in the picnic areas, some of which boast tables that are adorned with small roofs perched upon quaint stone columns. The restroom facilities are also made of stone, while the ranger station and the Temescal Canyon Conference and Retreat Center are more modern buildings. One hundred guests can stay over in the Conference and Retreat Center each night, an opportunity that lends itself to early risers who wish to see the sun rise over the Pacific Ocean from any of the park’s many lookout points.
Temescal Gateway Park was developed in 1922 by Reverend Dr. Charles Holmes Scott. He was a Methodist who supported the Chautauqua movement, and as such wanted to provide a space for families to discuss music, literature, and science among other things. At the time the park contained a post office and a grocery store with its own butcher shop. Today those buildings are referred to as the Temescal Camp Store. The emphasis on education has remained even as the land has passed from Methodists to Presbyterians to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservatory. Today inner-city youth from Los Angeles participate in the Temescal Outdoor Education Program, where professional naturalists guide them through an interactive science curriculum. This involves exploring and sleeping in the park.
Whether you are a resident of Los Angeles exploring the natural beauty in your city or a visitor hoping to see the Santa Monica Bay for the first time, you will be blown away by this park’s spectacular views and abundant trails.