Where Weekend Warriors Play: Malibu Canyon Roads

— by Caroline on Crack

Behind the Wheel

Living in L.A., we really don’t get to enjoy driving since we spend 99.8% of our time sitting in traffic. And open roads are virtually nonexistent because of all the cars competing for space and the ever watchful 5-0s. So where does that rare Angeleno, who genuinely still enjoys getting behind the wheel, go for switchbacks and open straights?

Fortunately, I’ve got some friends in the know who can point me to some canyon roads when I want to enjoy a nice leisurely drive on a sunny day. They’re usually two-laners away from the hustle and bustle of the city making for nonstop coasting. For optimum enjoyment, however, said roads are best experienced by skilled drivers in performance cars with extra sticky treads so you can corner with confidence and accelerate with controlled gusto.

A favorite loop? This one in the Santa Monica Mountains. Follow along:

  • From the 10 West, take it till it becomes PCH.
  • From PCH, turn right on Topanga Canyon.
  • After about 4 miles, turn left on Old Topanga Canyon Road.
  • Enjoy Old Topanga’s tight curves for about 5 miles til you hit Mulholland and hang a left.
  • After about 16 miles you encounter Encinal Canyon Road and you can either go off on this and take it all the way down to PCH or jump on Decker Canyon along the way and take that to PCH, or simply stay on Mulholland til you meet the ocean. Whichever way you choose, you can’t go wrong.

This loop is extra curvy so make sure if you have a passenger they’re not prone to getting motion sickness. Believe me, I can only do this drive as the pilot not the passenger…unless, of course, I’m on the back of a bike. Word of caution: Careful around the turns as there are a lot of blind corners and you never know if there will be someone coming from the other way.