Situated in the Santa Monica Mountains, between the expansive San Fernando Valley and the shores of Malibu, the neighborhood of Topanga Canyon offers an atypical escape from city life. The area has long been known as an artsy, bohemian enclave, home to several artists, musicians, and writers – not to mention artist’s retreats and nudist colonies – for much of the 20th Century.
The unincorporated neighborhood is squeezed between the city of Los Angeles and Calabasas, falling eight miles south of the 101 Freeway and five miles north of the Pacific Coast Highway. The neighborhood’s main arteries are the curvy Highway 27/Topanga Canyon Boulevard, and Old Topanga Road. Most of the area’s businessess fall along Topanga Canyon Boulevard.
Part of the neighborhood is suburban, with two-story houses situated close together, while other parts feature larger homes spread out on several acres of property.
Topanga Elementary School is part of the Los Angeles Unified School District. For middle school and high school, students attend school in Woodland Hills or Pacific Palisades.
Topanga Canyon is known throughout the region for its many hiking trails. Residents can hike the 36 trails at Topanga State Park for views of the Pacific Ocean. They also can explore the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, another bordering attraction in the area.
The canyon is home to the very bohemian Topanga Days Country Fair that is held every Memorial Day weekend. Notable Topanga residents have included Neil Young, Woodie Guthrie, Jonie Mitchell, and Dennis Hopper. On the darker side, Charles Manson also once called the area home.
Many of the area’s wealthier residents join the private Calabasas Golf and Country Club nearby.