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Keeping it Local: Driving the Mulholland Highway

Driving typically isn't thought of as outdoors, however it is our primary mode of transportation and lets us (Angelenos) get to areas typically not utilized for hiking and other activities. But there's also hiking. And plenty of it.

By: Charlie Jasper + Save to a List

I don't think most Angelenos are avid hikers. There's brunch to be had. A hundred historic lamp posts that everyone poses by in order to be artsy go up every hour. And, unless you're weird, odds are, you probably also drive everywhere. Which leads me to this:

The main events...

A relatively under-visited (and blessedly so) section of LA County is the Mulholland Highway. Fifty-odd miles of damn-near uninterrupted driving from Topanga Canyon to PCH, you'll drive through a different world. If you're used to city driving, better learn to love the freedom. Slow or at the speed limit, it's exhilarating. Do not speed. For your safety as well as so I can't get sued, do not speed. It's not worth it, and you'll miss way too much.

If and/or when you do this drive, there are a couple of places you need to stop at. First, in the community of Cornell, is the Old Place. It's food over a fire. And here, you will find the best grilled cheese sandwich on the west coast. Behind it is the Old Truck, for great espresso drinks (open Saturdays and Sundays only).

The bacon cooks down to half as thick as your little finger.

And immediately next to it is the Cornell Winery and Tasting Room, where you can get all sorts of fun things for decor, either manly or that'll make your leading lady happy, and sit in a wine bar with friends while avoiding the shitshow that are the more known and I guess maybe easily accessible wineries. So if you want to sit with adults, head there.

Never mind that there are a whole metric grip of areas to hike at, and peaks and portions of the Backbone Trail (here and here)

But wait, there's more!

You can take Mulholland all the way to PCH. It lets out right next to the Leo Carrillo campground and state beach. Stop at Point Dume and walk around. You'll have to turn down Decker Road (CA-23) and head south to the coast for a bit before taking the right fork and finishing the drive.

Or you can turn north (right) on Decker - which becomes Westlake Boulevard -  and take it up to Potrero Road for a whole different part of the adventure.

Potrero takes you into ranch lands, but if you keep at it, you'll come across more hiking trails that are just waiting to be explored. Maybe by you. Maybe by me. Stay tuned…

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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