Throughout the past century, Hollywood starlets and folk-rock legends alike found peace and inspiration in L.A.’s canyons, but there’s never been a better time to visit than right now.
Drive higher, think clearer, breathe deeper. It’s the way the light strikes one side of a mountain, how the oaks drape over the two-lane roads and the sound of the coyotes’ soft howl just after sundown. It’s the legacy of the U.S. folk-rock movement growing louder around the razor-sharp curves of the Santa Monica Mountains. It’s the secluded calm, a haven carved out of the hills above L.A.’s chaos. The allure of the canyons is inescapable once your car climbs their well-worn roads.
The era of folk and free love trickled out of the mainstream but never left the canyons. Magic is still hidden around every bend in these mountains, and it’s yours to discover. Even California wildfires and mudslides couldn’t stop the magic of these canyons; after the Woolsey Fire swept through in late 2018, the tightknit communities came together to help rebuild, restore and renew their landmarks, shops and neighborhoods. So, fill up your gas tank and head for the hills—it may look like home to you, too.