Visit serene Summit Valley, a new patch of designated open space in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Summit Valley, a.k.a. Edmund D. Edelman Park (named in honor of a Los Angeles County supervisor), is a recent addition to the public lands of the Santa Monica Mountains. The park spreads across both sides of Topanga Canyon Boulevard south of Woodland Hills and features an easily accessible trail on the west side of that highway. Come see Summit Valley at its best, within the next few weeks, when the landscape is spring green and showy with wildflowers. This hasn't been a banner year for rainfall up north in the Santa Monicas, but that region has been significantly closer to the Pacific storm tracks than we have been.

From Topanga Canyon Boulevard's intersection with Mulholland Drive on the spine of the Santa Monica Mountains, drive south 2.6 miles to a sweeping 180-degree curve. On the inside of this curve (west side of Topanga Canyon Boulevard) is a dirt parking area for Summit Valley. From the parking area, head west down a ravine for 0.2 mile to a south-flowing drainage (an upper tributary of Topanga Canyon) adorned with a number of giant coast live oaks and many stream-hugging willows. Eucalyptus and California walnut trees dot the slopes higher up in this bowl-like valley. The walnut trees are native to the Southern California coastal region, but they are not found in the wild south of Orange County.

You cross a little stream at the bottom, turn north, and climb around a couple of switchbacks so as to gain the top of a linear ridge. Following this ridge nearly a half mile farther takes you to the boundary of the Summit Valley property at the edge of a wide fire road known as the Summit Motorway. You've come 1.1 miles from the starting point. Enjoy the commanding view from this spot, then return the way you came.

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