Explore 2016 Training trails - view hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

2016 Training trails Map
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Went in June, however much that shapes the experience, and had a difficult time with water. For anyone going, just know the last stream you'll run across is 2 miles before the schoolhouse and the school house is the final camping spot. We made the mistake of traveling on from the school house, thinking there might be water further along and another campsite and were forced to turn back. Cool hike though.

Great hike with some awesome views

Nice hike and will definitely do it again. Unfortunately it was a bit too crowded up to the first view point but it does clear up after as you work your way to the top/midway loop point.

Had issues finding the entry point to the Rabbit Hole Trail (going up) but will give it another go next time I’m back.

Amazing trail. This was my first coastal hiking, and as the other reviewers said here, it is important to download a tide chart and understand how to read it as there are two 4-mile stretches of impassible zones.

I found low tide easier to hike because the sand was more packed, and I could avoid more of the cobblestone type rocks. The northern impassible zone would likely be truly impassible in my experience (I travelled at full moon and very light surf and winds) - I hit that part at receding tide and even then some areas were iffy.

The impassible zone south of Miller flat may be doable in high tide with calm conditions, but I wouldn’t risk it.

The views, solitude and wildlife make this trail one of my all time favorites. I bought a map, rented a bear canister and got a free tide chart from the lost coast adventures shuttle.

Please note that there is no cell service in Settlers Cove and anywhere along the coast - so plan in advance.

Cons:
- 5+ hour drive to Bay Area
- $80 shuttle ride not including tip
- Walking long stretches on wet, unstable rocks
- Lots of poison ivy
- Had to climb portions of rock that are very dangerous where tide came in too high
- Walking at an angle in sand that is not packed down at all, caused foot injury for me
- Lot of people backpacking the trail
- Tides coming in and out very stressful, reaching and finishing impassable zones challenging
- Zero marking on trail
- Bear footprints on beach
- Very difficult to be rescued in this area and is dangerous enough to be a concern
- no cell service
Pros:
- Beautiful scenery
- Some private campsites

My boyfriend and I are avid backpackers and completed this trail in 2 nights/3 days in mid July.
I did not enjoy it and found myself looking down for a lot of the trail trying to stay balanced on the rocks. I personally do not find walking on rocks to be enjoyable when backpacking. My boyfriend liked the trail because of the challenge. For me, it was too difficult to enjoy. I thought this trail would be mostly walking on sand and did not factor in the rock aspect or stress with the impassable tide zones. There were a lot of people hiking the trail and I was hoping to be a little more isolated than that. There was one very sketchy portion of the trail we encountered on the first day where the water on the beach was too high so we had to climb up and over a portion of rocks that was very dangerous with some other people who took the same shuttle as us. (note: this was not at high tide) The one upside was that the scenery was beautiful. However, I advise really knowing what you are getting into, this is not an easy or moderate trail by any means.

Very heavily trafficked until you get to the out and back portion. Going counter clockwise on the loop portion, the second half on your way back down can prove to be very difficult if you don’t have trekking poles or experience.

hiking
23 days ago

Amazing hike - highly recommend, if you can make the whole thing.

Los Leones is one of my favorite trails within the immediate LA area. Generally I’m searching for something harder, more technical, or at least with a little scrambling, but there’s just really nothing to not like about this trail! You’ll have a clear path the entire way on this out and back with no real way to get lost. I went on a holiday mid-day and was expecting it to be packed but was pleasantly surprised. The trail is generally more crowded up to the first overlook where many people turn back. There is an option to add miles with the east topanga fire road which will give you about 10.5 miles total.

Challenging but amazing view of ocean and many towns from top!

A beautiful trip! If you’re decently in shape and have good balance, you can do this trip in 2 full days, but it’s nice to have some extra time to soak in the beauty.

Definitely wear waterproof hiking boots so you don’t roll your ankle (you probably will anyways. There is barely any elevation gain, but you will be walking on the slanted beach, which feels odd after many miles of repetitive strain. Bring layers!

You need a permit and a bear canister. We saw bear prints in the sand. There aren’t many trees hang your food from.

The impassible zones are indeed impassible at high tide! Make sure you check the tide chart, or get ready to be very wet. We went about an hour after a moderately high high tide and were chased by many waves. It was very fun, but know what you’re getting into.

A lot less strenuous than I thought. Nice three day trip!

Strenuous hike for sure . 4.5 miles uphill towards the top and then 4.5 down steep path. Past Danielson Monument it gets a little rugged, loose rocks and narrow path/trenches . Make sure to leave very early and bring lots of water as it is an unshaded hike for the most part. Also lots of branches as the trail is not maintained so be prepared for some scratches. Hardest hike I’ve done but worth it for the view.

This hike is rated hard for a reason! I did the loop only which was clocked at 5.1 miles from the entrance gate. I went up counter clockwise, not sure if that was a good choice or a bad one. Either way is fairly brutal. If you go counter clockwise, you’ll start up the trail which is the most heavily trafficked (and also fairly well covered) right past the “trail” signs. This is a narrow trail which will take you up to the vista about 1.20 miles up. It’s an easy first segment and you can enjoy the awesome view at the top of the ocean and cityscape below. Then it’s on to leg burning time. Continue to head up the wide fire road (this is the right side of the trail on the map) - this is a long strenuous hike up, not extremely steep but it’s constant. Not many people venture this route, so it wasn’t heavily trafficked. I think I lost about 20 lbs in sweat during this segment. Keep going and eventually you will hit the mid point and can continue on straight to make this an “out & back” or go left past the bathrooms onto the “rabbit hole” trail (west side of loop). This trail is no joke, it’s super steep! I had to break off a stick (aka hiking pole) and at times get down on all fours just to get down some of the declines. This is a VERY narrow and very rocky trail, so slipping will occur, be careful. The trail is slightly overgrown so you do have some shade (watch out for snakes). Hike was a good heart pumping workout for sure, but the rabbit hole was a bit unpleasant so not sure I will do the loop again.
Parking is free - there is a small lot near the trail entrance and parking on the street - weekends get crowded.

Lovely trail, too bad it burned. Hope to go back soon to see how the forest is recovering. We camped at Barlow Flats and it was perfect...

hiking
1 month ago

This is a good moderate steady uphill climb with great views of Simi Valley and the San Fernando Valley. Just note that when you get to the first fork, head left rather than right to continue up the trail. I had veered right and there are a few scrambly climbs and a viewpoint and beautiful plateau like area with wildflowers, but to continue the trail, go left.

There were a surprising number of people on the trail for a weekday evening and everyone was quite friendly and seemed like experienced because no one seemed taxed.

I started the hike in the evening around 6.20 and wanted to get back before dark so I did not make it all the way to the top, so I definitely am coming back. Surprisingly, other people were starting up the trail around 7.40 so I would love to hear what their experience was like starting the climb an hour before dark!

hiking
1 month ago

Loved this hike! I loved the challenge, length and beauty of this hike. So much to see. It was foggy in the morning, sunny by the end.

We hiked counterclockwise and really didn't have too much difficulty finding the trail back to Malibu Creek SP. When you reach the bottom of Mesa Peak Motorway/Piuma trailhead (where the toilet is), go left down the well worn trail. There will be a couple of small trails to the right - take one of them. It will take you down to the road to the water treatment plant. Turn left, look for small sign that says trail. Across from it is a small sign that says Backbone Trail. Follow the many trails down to the creek and cross it. Hike up in the direction of Malibu Creek SP on one of the many trails. When you get to the next paved road, turn left through the road gate. Continue on that trail until you reach the Camp Gilmore junction. The trail is across the way. It sounds like a lot, but it's not really too bad.

Great place to hike. Go early in the morning because after 9am it gets packed.

Like others said, it's a challenging hike. Most of the trail is exposed, with the exception of a small piece when you pass the Danielson monument and before the manzanitas. I did this on a hot sunny day, so I would recommend it on a cool overcast day or in dry winter times, although it was chilly at the peak. The trail is also not that well maintained, but it's worth it with the view at the top.

great hike. have to say this is one of my favorite.. no dogs

Great spot for a hike with a view of the ocean! Easy, short hike up to a large view of the pacific coast from Malibu to marina Del Ray. View of downtown LA. Good for all people. I usually bring friends here when they come to visit. I haven’t checked it out at sunset, but it’s on my list to do. Must see!

Deliciously challenging inclines followed by breathtaking vistas repeated so many times it would be boring if it wasn’t beautiful.

This was one of my favorite hikes while living in California. With that said, the crowds had clearly taken a toll, so I'm actually hoping the closure means it will be relatively inaccessible for a considerable time. This place needs time to heal.

A rare gem where it is possible to backpack along the Pacific Coast without any sign of civilization. To reiterate what others have said you want to understand the tide and protect your food from bears. Its a lot of loose rocks more than packed sand, so the miles here will take a lot more out of you than they would in other places. Sneakers might actually be a better choice than hiking boots for this trail.

The Pine Ridge Trail to Sykes is closed indefinitely. Locally we hear 2-5 years. While this is a bummer for everyone, please understand that Sykes and the backcountry of Big Sur deserves a much needed break. For years, Sykes got crushed. Damming, Trash, Fire, and Destruction were the norm. Im not an Environmentalist, Conservation No one should be in the Backcountry Purists. I am a local Big Sur resident who advocates for the backcountry, because she has no voice. The Volunteer Wilderness Rangers are out on patrol, and if necessary can call USFS to escalate. There are many other trails listed here on this site. You can get into the backcountry, but for a while, it cannot be through the Pine Ridge Trail. lovebigsur.com

I'm glad I followed others advice and took the loop clockwise. It's always much easier for me going up steep paths than trying to go down. It was steep!
Not a big fan of hiking fire roads, but the views almost all the way were magnificent. It was cloudy so I wasn't able to see too far, but nevertheless what I could see was beautiful.
There's a short single path loop at the end before you turn around and go back, and there were more lizards there than I've seen in one place before.

To start the loop going clockwise, turn left as you enter the gate and go over the cement drainage to catch the path on the other side. At one point not too far after starting the breaks up, but I found it again by continuing straight forward.

Has anyone gone on this trail while closed??

hiking
2 months ago

Nice trail for 80+ degree weather! Shaded and very scenic. Only went 2.5 miles given timeframe after work and daylight. Definitely want to go back!

We 3 did the north section from June 1st to June 3rd.
The weather was amazine, the forecast said it has somewhere 15 mph gust and regular 10 wind, but I don't really feel it. Temperature around 70-80 during the day and around 50 at night.

We camped at Shelter Cove RV and Campground on 31st, it is a much more expensive campground($46 for 3 people), but it has shower, and flush toilet, and most importantly, it is very close and reservable to the Black Sand Beach Trailhead, where we take our shuttle.

We took Lost Coast Adventure shuttle to Mattole Beach Trailhead. The service was nice and price reasonable. The only improvement which I would say is maybe ability to adjust the shuttle according to tide time, will be better.

Speaking of the tide, I originally was not quite sure about how high a tide is safe for hiking. I was planning for 2.5ft as the safe zone for us to hike, which only allow us to hike early morning to noon. But during our hike we assessed the actual situation, we actually hiked in 3-4 ft(forecast tide level, not actual) period and we did it. There was only one or two points which I felt a bit sketchy between Miller Flat to Shipman Creek during 3-4 ft tide zone. But we managed to get through, giving the beautiful weather and mercy of little-wind.

My original plan was first day 4.5 miles to Seal Lion Gulch, second day 12 miles to Miller Flat, third day end the hike with 8.5 miles. But after words I felt we totally didn't follow the plan.

We 3 are all relatively fast hikers, we started at 9:30am, reached Sea Lion Gulch around 11:45ish, one of our guy's boots had failed him having the front half of the out soles falling from the boots. He managed to fixed it with duct tape and we kept going. We arrived at Cooskie Creek about some time past 1pm.

We took lunch, nap on the beach, it was beautiful. And we started again at 5:45pm, this time we reached Spanish Flat. The hike of the later afternoon was much harder than the morning, the terrain was mostly soccer sized pebbles and the tide was higher than the morning. We need to be really careful about the footing and watch the tide. We arrived at Spanish Flat about 7:30. Started a fire, had dinner, and I played with my camera, finally after so many backpacking trip carrying it without utilizing it, shot the starry sky.

Second day we started late around a quarter to 10 am, same pattern, this time we took our break at Miller flat around 2. There was nice swimming holes at both Big Creek and Miller Flat, we took a dip at Miller Flat.

We picked up from Miller flat at about 5:15pm. Here after Miller Flat we came across the sketchy point about less than a mile towards Shipman Creek. Once we arrived at Shipman Creek, the poor guy's outsoles was found completely peeled off the bottom of the boots. Again, this genius hiker fixed it again with ropes, multitool, and small pebbles! Such creativity!!! We finally camped at Gitchell Creek at 7:30pm, enjoyed incredible sunset, warm campfire and amazing starry night sky again.

Last day was easy, only 3.6 miles, but all on sandy beach, walking was not as easy as on solid ground. We finished the hike at 12pm.

I really enjoyed this hike back when I did it. I wanted a hard hike and I was not disappointed. I started on the western half of the loop and agree that it is challenging. I chose it too because almost no one headed up that way and it made for a bit more solitude. However, I could not tell if the trail was overgrown because it used less or if it is more of a social trail. I hope it is not. Overall the view of the ocean, mountains and city are well worth the hike and effort. The eastern route is heavily traveled by hikers of all skill and variety.There is a pit toilet at the trail junction for the overlook a few miles into the hike.

Did this years ago, before GPS.
I remember how sore I was and how quiet. I'm sure it's much more used now.

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