Explore the most popular trail running 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.

Loved this hike. Beautiful ocean views, nicely marked trails and not too packed. I went on a sunday and there weren't many people. Lots of horseback riding groups and horse manure on the trails. Not much shade, so bring sunscreen, sunglasses and water!

This six-mile loop is easy/moderate, and has beautiful views throughout. There is no cell signal once you’re in the mountains, so don’t rely on GPS to get you all the way to the Mishe Mokwa Trail parking area. Also, there are no bathrooms or water nearby, so plan accordingly.

hiking
1 day ago

My group hiked this on 6/14. We began the trail from a turnout on a the highway instead of the circle x ranch entrance. We began around 12:30am and we made it to the grotto around 2:00am, the hike back was pretty fast. We made it back to our cars around 3:30am. This route added 1mile each way to the trail. SkyHighHikingGroup. We get together and hike at night. For all the busy bodys and late night owls. We are based in Los Angeles. Great hike, good workout. There was water in the grotto, hike was easy but the return did make most of us break a sweat. Recommend.

Very scenic, quiet and peaceful hike. It was about 6.5 miles. That includes walking to Split Rock, walking to Inspiration Point and Sandstone Peak.
The trail to Split Rock is awesome. Amazing views, great many flowers and trees and greenery. We took our time. Stopped for lots of pictures. The amazing Balance Rock is something to just stare at. AMAZING! once you get to Split Rock the hike because a little bit tough since it has gradual incline as you loop around to Inspiration Point and Sandstone Peak. From Sandstone Peak back to the car is not the most pleasant only because there is a lot of rocks on the trail. But if your a hiker, that’s part of the hike.
We went on Saturday got there @8am. Perfect time. Lots of parking and very very few people on our trail. Most people just go to Sandstone Peak and back so this trail is longer but definitely worth the serenity. We had lots of overcast. We would watch the mountains in front of us appear and disappear. Got some sprinkles and walking into the fog was awesome. One of my favorite hikes. Few bottles of water is enough for me but if hot definitely would talked more plus hat! Enjoy. Be safe. Clean up after yourself.

The back side is well shaded recommend doing that half during the peak of that. We started mid day and went the backside to the front and it was not too hot by the time we were in the sun again.

No water in June, just a little mud. Nice little hike. I’d say closer to the medium side of easy.

hiking
8 days ago

Great place to hike if you’re looking for a moderate intensity hike. Parking is extremely limited so be prepared to either park on PCH or up the hill

this Trail is a very good two in one Trail. first part of the trail and why fire type Access Road which is both Earth and also paved. you reach a ruin which appears to be some type of multi-use camping area. however the falls at the end of the trail is back above the room so you have to climb some pre-made steps to get to the falls. the journey is .6 miles from the trailhead. the second part of the trail is where things get interesting you cross the creek and immediately began a Switchback climb up to the rim

Great wide open paths in the beginning, Beautiful wildflowers, unmarked trail going back down, path narrow and overgrown, lots of bees and lizards. I would’ve been lost without the “AllTrails” map -super helpful

Great hike! Took my friend and I 3 hours to complete with breaks here and there. The mountains look amazing!!! Lots of rocks and flies! Only saw three people during our hike. Water and snack are a must ...

hiking
14 days ago

Up the China Flat Trail. Back down the Suicide Trail. Fun hike. Great views. The app map was helpful as there a lot of little trails at the top. As long as you have the hike locked in before you start, even with no cell coverage, map keeps working with GPS. Very little shade. Take plenty of water. Not a good midday summer hike. Was nice in the morning.

great trail. beautiful scenery. side trail to balancing rock--easy to get off course on way back, but rest of trail really well marked and maintained. hot by mid morning in June

At first I thought it was too easy while we walked the paved path. Once we made it to the old house and waterfall we continued our loop up hill and enjoyed the moderate hike. The views were fantastic and just hot enough to break a sweat. We got lucky on parking right at the entrance of the trail but could see that parking was an issue as it got later. It was a little crowded but people were very polite. Overall glad we took this hike.

Beautiful and lightly trafficked at sunset.

Very cool hike with some amazing views inland over the Santa Monica Mountains, Channel Islands and South Bay. Highly recommend to anyone who wants to trail run or take it slow all the way. I went to Balance Rock - if you do this trail you have to check it out. You’ll see a little sign shortly after taking a right onto Mishe Mokwa, a couple hundred yards from Split Rock. I finished the hike in 4.5 hrs. It’s roughly 7 miles if you do Balance Rock. My group took our sweet time. You can do this in 3 hrs if you’re a little more focused on the task at hand. Bring at least 2 liters of water if you do this during the summer months. I had to ration out .5 liters because my crew wasn’t entirely prepared - no biggie but easily avoidable. Proper hiking boots are definitely recommended. Sunscreen and hats as well.

Very fun! Push it if you like it more strenuous or chill and enjoy the views if you like that. Either way you’ll love this hike.

Loved this trail! Parking is tight and I recommend parking outside the park entrance, lots of space along the road. The ruins are pretty, great scenic views, and there is shade along the trail.

20 days ago

nice hike with shade along the way.

Ok i went today and got there at 1:30pm and finished at 5:30pm. I took my Osprey bag pack with a full 2.5 liter water pouch. I also brought two addition water bottles. It wasn’t enough for two adults and a dog. It felt like 10 miles instead of 6. My German Shepard struggled the last two miles of the loop trail. The trail to Split Rock was great and moderate but later it became strenuous!!!!! My poor dog protested until the end. I recommend to do half the trail because the last 2.5 miles is annoyingly rocky! Be sure to bring proper hiking shoes, hats, and sun screen... most importantly water!!!!! Must stress water. At least 2 liters per person. Be prepared to be exhausted and tanned!

21 days ago

Great hike. But it didn’t feel like an easy one. There’s lots of climbing towards the end to get to the grotto

Beautiful hike with lots of shade. There are two small parking lots, lower and upper, however we waited 15 mins and there were no spots, so had to park down by PCH and walk up. From the trail head, the first 1.15 miles are easy and goes to the waterfall, from here you can turn around and head back the same way, for a nice 2.5 miles nature walk. Otherwise, go right and take the Rising Sun Trail which will be a challenging incline for another 1.5 miles, this will complete the Solstice loop. Less shade and more climbing on the Rising Sun Trail, but you will be rewarded with ocean views from the top of the canyon.

Vistas for days! It truly is one of the most beautiful hikes of those that are accessible to LA area. I hike to Sandstone Peak first and get the elevation gain ascent out of the way right off - this is the only moderately challenging portion in my opinion. Great hike that truly feels “away from it all.” No traffic or highway views/noise like some other LA hikes.

Did this hike on Saturday, May 26th at 10am. Lower lot was full and we did not know about upper lot. We parked close to PcH by gas station. No restrictions to park. If you do this hike and eat there before 9-10am I would recommend checking upper lot.

Stayed left to remain on Solstice Canyon Trail. Paved a good part of way and good shade at start. Gurgling brook below. TONS of birds we could hear singing. Nice foliage and interspersed wildflowers.

Got to ranch ruins and the teensy little waterfall. I did Eaton Canyon a month ago and that is 50 times more impressive as waterfalls go. This is a trickle that’s hard to see.

Way back we took Rising Sun Trail and that was much prettier to me. A narrower trail with less people but no shade. Wildflowers seen more frequently and all along trail. Lots of various wildflowers. Lovely canyon views and eventually opens to gorgeous view of ocean.

This lead us back to upper parking lot and eventually where we parked

Awesome trail. This time of year, the spring flowers were still all blooming at the lower altitude. The views from the top were spectacular in all directions. The trail is very rocky so sturdy shoes a must and per another review, some of these were more strenuous than moderate. Then again - I am 56 but my 22 year old sons thought it was easy.

hiking
28 days ago

great hike with great views.

i am writing this review for those parents that are looking for trails to take your kids. This trail is perfect! I have a 8 and 6 year old and they enjoyed this trail. Bring snacks or pack a lunch there is plenty of spots to stop and give them a snack or take a picture. The ruins will be their playground and the waterfall will not disappoint. Although they cannot play in it.

hiking
1 month ago

Beautiful views the whole time! I would rate this loop as “strenuous”. Bring lots of water and spf. There are also some very rocky downhillls. Ocean views are glorious! Have fun!!

We went in the paved side from the parking lot up to the ruins of the ranch. From there we climbed up the switchies to the top of the hill and were rewarded with that VIEW and an easy, gorgeous walk down. Awesome trail and a butt burner.

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