Many switchbacks are loose dirt, but otherwise KB trail is mostly rideable. Plenty of poison oak, but easily avoided if paying attention. Also pay attention to log placement to avoid wasting time missing trail as it leaves stream bed.
Hiking in this area was great fun, lots of water, practically devoid of people and a wide variety of terrain. However I would caution that almost all the trails we tried to follow or find have been eroded beyond recognition. GPS is one of the only ways to keep yourself on track and even with that help we still managed to miss our original trail on the way out which lead us to the top of the first waterfall with no way down. There are obvious trails not appearing on maps that even include posts and other signs of human placed objects only to abruptly stop due to massive landslides and erosion. Workers were clearing the trails maybe only a few miles out from the campground which leaves the rest I'm assuming all the way up to the firebreak road very difficult to navigate. I say I assume because we didn't make it very far past Dawn Mine due to debris and most of our day spent trying to find a trail and failing many times leaving us to slide down dirt hills more times than I care to admit. And good luck finding the small trail near Dawn Mine that leads out of the stream bed and runs the ridge to the East because I don't think it exists anymore. To be sure this area is really fun to hike and I recommend bumming around the area but don't expect to go faster than .8 mph or make it very far.
It's a good trail, but the Easy label is entirely misleading. There's a very good reason why most of the GPS tracks don't show people making it all the way to the end. The first 1/3 of the distance (up until you get to the foundation for the old train up the mountain) is easy and well-maintained (though narrow at some points). After that point it's more rock hopping for another 1/3 (although easy to get confused once you get into the riverbed - keep that map handy). But the last 1/3 is moderate to high difficulty. You must climb up a steep, loose shale incline that shifts constantly, and once you've done that you are essentially following a goat path that's about as wide as your boot in some places, clutching onto the greenery to keep you from tumbling down a sheer drop. I made the trip up until we got to the spot that puts you directly between an amazing view of Los Angeles (and Long Beach off to the right, in the distance), and a sheer drop to a spectacular water fall (at least 100 feet tall) on the other side. But we didn't go further since I wasn't sure how I was going to get my dog and two kids (11 and 14) down the hill again before it got dark. I ended up carrying the dog while coaching the kids down while I prayed they wouldn't lose their footing. Definitely an adventure, but only the first 2/3ds really fits the listed skill level. If you want to take the family, plan to stop once it gets difficult, because it doesn't ever get better. Or just go to Eaton Canyon, where most of the hike is on level ground. But if you can leave the family behind and want a fun mountaineering adventure, by all means go the distance. Just don't share all the details with a skittish significant other or they'll never let you go "hiking" with the kids again.
Max L. on Rubio Canyon Trail
Very hot with little cover for summer. May be ok for cloudy day or early. Had to turn around before the end, but the trail was empty and was a nice close portal to wilderness. There are initial views of the LA basin before entering the more secluded part of the canyon. As others mentioned some sections of the trail are not well-maintained: watch your step!
Max L. on Rubio Canyon Trail
Easy to find now with directions. Was a nice walk, but very hot. Not much shade on trail and had to turn around before the end. Will come back during a cooler month. May be fine early morning or on a cloudy day. As someone mentioned before, parts of the trail are not well maintained. Watch your step!
Avila A. on Rubio Canyon Trail
its an easy hike this is my 5th time hiking rubio canyon trail. the trail in some places is not in good condition so watch where you step..watch for the trail its easy to lose it passing the former site of rubio pavellion towards the falls as long as you follow the creek bed and ,watch out for big boulders enjoy the hike and come back the same way you went in.....
The problem arises at the intersection of the Brown Mt. Road and the Ken Burton Trail. To reach Brown Mt., You must go east on the Ken Burton Trail, up the ridge, a steep incline. The trail is long gone. I hiked it over 20 years ago and it provided access to some beautiful country. I suspect it was lost after the Station Fire. Too bad. The majority of the hike is pleasant but exposed. There are several springs along the way.
This was my second visit to this canyon, previously my hike was not rewarding as our group couldn't find the waterfalls (read previous review). This time with 3 avid hikers, I was able to locate 2 waterfalls inside the canyon - Moss Grotto/Ribbon Rock Falls and an overlook of Thalehaha Falls. The trail to Moss Grotto/Ribbon Rock Falls is informal and you have to hike down, if you hike up, you ultimately reach Echo Mountain (3207'). And, this is a very sunny hike - carry lots of water, hat and sunblock. There is hardly any water (even in end November). The only good thing about this hike is that it is not crowded and you get close to wilderness.
Rubio Canyon is a great place to visit and see some cool remnants of a time lost to Los Angeles. About halfway to the falls you will find some old foundations on either side of the creek. These used to support a pavilion and train station for a car that used to ride up the 45 degree west wall of the canyon to the top of Echo Peak and beyond, all the way up to the top of Mt Lowe. At the time it was called the Mt. Lowe Railway. There also used to be an extensive system of wooden bridges and stairs that would take you all the way up to the bottom of Talehaha. Currently there is a trail that follows the old tracks from the canyon to the top of Echo Peak where a grand hotel once stood. All in all a great short hike and a good opportunity to imagine the canyon as it once was. If you do go, learn some of the history first. It will make it much more worth while. A way better way to see the canyon is from the top down. However, you will need a different trailhead and technical canyoneering gear for that hike