Hiking the Rustic Canyon Creekbed in Los Angeles, CA
So you’ve reached the 12-foot waterfall after following the creek for miles. The manicured polo fields are a distant memory and the only sounds now emanate from the birds, the water, and the forest. Your shoes are wet from trouncing back and forth across the chilled mountain stream—the wooden bridges far behind you—trees so dense, the narrow gorge ahead seems never-ending. You’ve lost and then found the trail several times, spotted a hidden sign on the third pass, and made it past the boulders and the old graffiti house. You’ve traversed the haunting Cold-War-era Nazi sympathizers' compound and even navigated through an abandoned Boy Scouts retreat. You even succeeded when the guidebook instructed you to “retrace your steps a hundred yards and find the old stairs that lead to the overgrown road that leads to the rope.” Now it’s just you, the dangling rope, and the gorge! All of this unbridled wilderness—the Rustic Canyon Trail in the Topanga State Park—is a mere five miles from the UCLA campus.