CA-1 also known as Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) runs along its southern foothills and connects a number of seaside villages making the mountains easiliy accessible. These towns include Santa Monica, Malibu and Oxnard. The highway also provides an interesting view out to as far as Catalina Island.
Much of the mountains are protected the the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. This is operated by the NPS and provides access for mountain bikes to over 100 miles of trail and fire road.
Getting ThereAs mentioned before, the Santa Monicas are easily accessible due to the existance of CA-1. Also to the north is another highway, US-101 which begins in LA and runs all the way north to just south of Seattle, WA.
Begin in the downtown area and take US-101 north. Continue on the 101 as it veers west. Take CA-23 exit south (not the first CA-23; that's north) and continue south into the mountains.
There's also the option of taking PCH. Take I-10 westbound to Santa Monica where it terminates. Continue straight as I-10 becomes CA-1. Head stright to any one of the turn offs on the right.
Rules and Regulations
Every now and then, many of the areas will close to vehicles due to fire danger. This is to prevent an arsonist from setting a major blaze which may cause millions in damage. Usually though, foot and bike traffic are still allowed.
LinksSanta Monica Mountains NRA- NPS's site on the NRA.
Topanga SP- The state park's homepage.