Explore the most popular forest trails in Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Gate was closed today. Bummer!

Great family hike!

26 days ago

nice trail didnt finish it though I was the only one hiking it this morning so I decided to cut it short . will definitely hike it again and finish it for sure ..

1 month ago

Nice quick trail with a beautiful stream and waterfall. At the end u can climb to ur heart’s content... depends how daring u r. We all enjoyed it kids included...

Done this trail a few times. It had water year round 2017. Nice technical trail once you get to the creek. Great half-day hike.

hiking
2 months ago

Favorite trail to take with kids. Just hard enough to keep them challenged without too much complaining, fun boulder scrambling opportunities. Bring a lunch and wear a bathing suit if it's been a wet year, kids love to splash around in the water.

Loved the hike but signage in this park is very confusing. First-timers may find themselves a little lost but that’s not necessarily a bad thing in a place like this!

2 months ago

Absolutely beautiful little trail. Driving to the trailhead itself offered gorgeous views of the mountains, canyons, and distant oceans.

The river beds were all dried up, but there is some flowing water when you get down to the grotto. The trail itself is pretty easy, but more towards the moderate side considering some of the loose rock on the somewhat steep inclines down into the canyon.

Although I was wearing long sleeves and pants, I did find a tick on my dog and one burrowing in my side when I got home, so please check yourselves if you do this hike.

hiking
3 months ago

Fun trail , would say it’s a little more then easy but isn’t moderate. Great work out .

3 months ago

cool trail Little Rock climbing towards the grotto which made it even more fun, didn't come across any kinds of wild life unfortunately

Great hike. We did both loops and got a tremendous work because of the elevation change. Huge reward at the top of the Deed Valley Loop. Gorgeous ocean view! Beautiful hike all around with flowers starting to bloom in February. Highly recommend.

hiking
3 months ago

My hiking friends and I broke this up in 5 sections, going east to west. Section 1: Will Rogers to Deadhorse Trail,
Section 2: Deadhorse Trail to Malibu Canyon, Section 3:Malibu Canyon to Newton Canyon, Section 4: Newton Canyon to Mishe Mokwa Trailhead, Section 5: Mishe Mokwa to Ray Miller Trailhead. This is a beautiful hike with views of the Pacific on each section. We took a few side trips that shouldn't be missed, Hondo Canyon being one of them. The rock formations at Casto Crest was another favorite spot filled with caves and lots of exploring opportunities. We had multiple people in our group so we were able to shuttle back and forth with all the cars we had. I've heard that you can also arrange an Uber or Lyft car to get you back to your car. But I'd make sure you have cell phone service before you depend on this. This was one of the best times I've had on the trail. The last 16 miles (which turned into 17 due to a missed trail sign) was by far the most difficult. That could always be turned into 2 sections though. However you do this trail, just make sure you do it in Winter. There's many exposed trails, and with the warm Jan/Feb weather we had, it gave us a glimpse of what truly hot weather would be like. This is definitely a cool to mild weather hike. I also suggest an east to west direction so you are always looking at the Pacific, and if you time it right, you're last hike on The Ray Miller Trail will give you gorgeous sunset opportunities.

hiking
3 months ago

Went hiking with my wife, a buddy & my husky and found that the grotto was great location for first time hikers. It was a bit windy and we got there early to beat that samo traffic (arrived @840am). Road to ranch is a bit windy and you’ll need to be mindful the cyclist’. Will be going again soon!

hiking
3 months ago

Awesome trail. Shady most of the way up, dense forest/shrubs, well-maintained trail, few people, great views on the way up. Only downside is that it ends at a road as opposed to a peak.
Correction- You can connect to the Backbone Trail by turning right on the road at the end of the trail, then turning left. This leads up past some sandstone outcrops, then views of the ocean and LA.

Cool ruins right off the Solstice. If only about 45 minutes to spare - good hike. If more time and able, take the Sosomoto by the Keller house at end of Solstice. Adds lots of quality and feels like a real hike. Rugged and narrow path. Good workout. Eventually connects to the Deer Valley loop - really good views here.

hiking
4 months ago

Pretty trail. Plenty of shade. Decent variety of elevation so no single section is uphill or downhill for too long. Dogs are allowed until you get down into the riverbed.

2nd Loop is a must and a decent workout and easily to follow awesome views to the top, only 3 stars due to massive amounts of Humans, started at 6:00 a.m. and only started seeing them on the way down

Wow, AllTrails updated the route based on my experience. Nice!

Walking clockwise the trail is impassable about a mile in. With some common sense and gps you can work out a detour that will add maybe two tenths of a mile to the loop.
Also the first few miles parallel the highway with the expected noise level
And, if that’s not enough, watch out for sting nettles near the detour.

trail running
5 months ago

Great views and runnable. I did like that the trail offered protection from the sun and it was not a surprise that there was no running water anywhere. What I didn’t like is that there was no signage for the name of this trail. Instead you find backbone trail instead. I had to stop and open up the app to decide at forks in the road to make sure i was still following the trail. I wanted to keep going but even the signage at the end point wasn’t clear on which trail was which.

Best overall hike in the area.

6 months ago

kid friendly (age 4&6) make sure to stay to the left once you hit the rocks or else you are stuck walking through the rocks all the way to the grotto... pretty fun alot of climbing over rocks

hiking
6 months ago

Hake, if you say that dogs are not allowed on this trail and the description above says that they are allowed on a leash, who do I believe?

Less easy than expected. I don’t see some children doing the first part. Which is also very noisy with the freeway..
Won’t do it again even But the views are amazing.

We were on the trail by 0800 on the third weekend in September, parking lot had plenty Of spots but was full by the time we finished at 1000. We hiked up Solstice Canyon Trail passed the Keller House ruins and connected onto the Sostoma trail which ultimately connected to the Deer Valley Loop Trail. We added on the Rising Sun Trail on our way back down which peels off the Solstice Canyon Trail at the impressive Roberts Ranch Ruins and waterfall. The Roberts Ranch property was curiously designed by the same architect, Paul Revere Williams who designed the LAX theme building. In total 7 miles with 2000 ft of ascent. The lower trails were populated with families with the Deer Loop Trail uncrowded having seen just three trail runners. Beautiful views of the ocean higher up on the trail, and some scenic creek crossings and small waterfalls. Trails were well marked though trails higher up overgrown.

8 months ago

Fun times

This loop is an extension to the main and populated trail of Solstice Canyon.

Parking is a private free lot which can accommodate up to about 30 cars, if it's full there are some open shoulders on the outside for overflow.

On a 7am Sunday morning traffic was relatively light. Come around 10am the main hike seemed pretty packed, especially around the points of interest.

Deer Valley Loop will add on about 2.5 miles. This segment of the hike doesn't receive many visitors, leaving the trail somewhat overgrown. If you choose to add miles onto your hike by going up, make sure you wear pants or be on the lookout for poison oak. I only saw them up here and sometimes they were on both sides of the trail.

After about two miles in along the main path is Robert's Ranch house and to its right is a small, serene waterfall. I must say I'm glad this area is monitored as the buildings are free of graffiti and trash. It is a bit of a bummer that you can't "technically" sit next to the waterfall but it's a lovely sight either way.

Keller cabin is located on the Deer Valley Loop. From older pictures I think it use to be a more touristy spot, but seems very overgrown now since not too many people make the trek anymore.

I did this hike counter clockwise on both loops. It is the harder way to go since the inclines for both is steeper and leads to a gradual descent. If you are looking for a workout make sure you go that way.

I loved how well maintained the hike was, the litter I collected all seem like they were discarded the same day. The views, the buildings, and the history makes this hike a necessary activity for anyone visiting the Santa Monica mountains.

on Grotto Trail

hiking
8 months ago

very easy. scenic flat. some boulder hopping and a small rope climb if you want to go to the end

hiking
9 months ago

Nice trail. A little hot when there is very little water to cool down in. the cave was worth it to see though.

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