Take this sinuous road from the sea and climb into a primordial canyon cut deep in the Santa Monica Mountains. The drive lays bare naked boulders and reveals jagged chaparral-covered peaks from every hairpin turn. The road is shadowed by lazy oaks and glimmering sycamores, and the whole thing smells of wind-blown black sage and ‘cowboy cologne’ (artemisia).

About halfway to the pass, the cute country town of Topanga sprouts on both sides of the road.