Explore the most popular backpacking trails in Topanga State Park with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

So close to Santa Monica and lovely hike.

Nothing but love for the Backbone Trail! We left one car on the street outside the entrance to Will Rogers (so we could leave it overnight) and rode together to Stunt Rd. We parked in a gravel area near Stunt and began our hike towards Musch Camp, which is first come first serve camping.

The downhill was rough with 20+ lbs of gear each, but it was gorgeous. The campsite had drinking water and toilets, but minimal shade. It was very hot out and that might be why we had no problem getting a camp spot on a Saturday. We relaxed and ate and slept well.

The second day was equally hot, but equally beautiful. I'd done this part of the trail before (near Will Rogers). In June it was a little overgrown and there were some patches of flying insects, but it was a lovely hike. I love the bridges and ocean view on this section of the BBT. I've done about half of the whole trail now and we can't wait to finish the rest. If you have the same goal, definitely try to stay at Musch when you come through this leg of it.

great trail views are worth the medium effort

A quick getaway hike that is easy to get to. Counterclockwise for the view at the end. Clockwise for a bit more cardio.

1 month ago

beautiful, but crowded.

I hiked this trail on my way to Will Rogers from the San Fernando Valley. It's a nice little hike with some spectacular views.

Love this trail. Our early am workout in an hour or less. Beautiful!

Beautiful nature views of tree covered mountains, canopying trees over the path (doesn’t interfere with the walk!), & flowers. Waterfall was dry, but beautiful hike :)

2 months ago

it was a solid hike. west side (left) to start. steeper incline. views of ocean. east side gradual descent. more rural. dusty trail so you will get dirty. good footwear recommended. i did it without water at 11 am and 83 degrees. it was fine.


Challenging but beautiful views and scenery

A wonderful hike to go on that's local and can take about 30 minutes to get to the top of the summit. Best times to go are the early morning, as there are less people and the sun isn't fully beaming yet. I recommend a good 8am start if not sooner.

Rewarding view of the Pacific and as far as downtown LA! I usually go as far as Skull Rock and then make my way down.

2 months ago

Not at bad hike, just had a lot of hard rocks on the paths where someone may be able to trip and/or twist an ankle. Overall there is a lot of shade and has a gradual incline and all downhill on the back end.

Such a beautiful view of LA plus a view of the beach! Lots of green trees and shade on the left side of trail. On the right trail is where dogs are allowed. Lots of steps but such a great workout! Only con is you barely get any shade compared to the left side of trail. Also, not a crowded trail which is a major plus!

P.S. parking is $10 but there is some parking across the street.

2 months ago

If you take the trail left or west, you will quickly start an incline for a mile, with little shade, quite a bit of heat, but the most amazing views of the ocean and coastline. If you go right or east, it’s mostly shade, a steady incline, and lots of flora. There is also an amazing breeze. For me, I loved going left, seeing the amazing ocean views and becoming quite overheated, and then enjoying the slow decline under the flora and cool breeze hitting me most of the way back to the parking lots. And there also tables and a green grassy patch for one to have a picnic on the bottom of the right side.

2 months ago

Great trail with some good inclines. We went from east to west and so the steeper grades were on the way down. Nice views once you get up top. Cacti at the lower elevations. I think most go up from the west because you reach the top sooner but I liked the slower inclines. Bring water as it gets hot. Saw lots of birds as well.

2 months ago

Good walk, gets the blood flowing and a nice view LA and the beaches! Recommend you go to the left for a steeper climb and more relaxed decent on your ankles!


2 months ago

This was a moderate hike with good elevation gain.

Beginning of trail was cleared but the rest was overgrown.

A great hike with beautiful views!

2 months ago

Just hiked this trail a few weeks ago one morning. I recommend starting in the early morning to avoid the heat this time of year, or wait for a cloudy morning. There are great views in all directions of mountains, city, and ocean. I saw a good number of people on the trail, it is popular. I took the trail in the clockwise direction, starting up the steepest part of the incline first. I love the low shade towards the top. Despite there not being too many trees, the chaparral forest is tall enough to offer some shade. The waterfall wasn't so much a waterfall but a slow trickle this time of year. I'll have to come back after a rain.

I definitely recommend this trail to anybody on the westside. It's easy to get to, super beautiful, and I've heard you can extend it to go check out Skull Rock. No time for that this time around, but next time for sure.

If you want to get an idea of what it looks like ahead of time, check out my vlog episode for this trail.

Also, here's some music for hikers and trail runners: http://sptfy.com/16Gy

Have a great hike!

East side of hike typically has shade while the west side has less shade.

Good views of Mt Baldy, downtown LA & the ocean once you reach the top. Not too many people (I went on a Tues evening) but enough to slightly annoy me. All uphill then downhill as you go back.

Great hike, great views. Took the steeper way up for a good workout. Only downside is the $10 fee to park, but the park is very well maintained.

3 months ago

got a good workout!!

It was a great hike, some steep elevation. I am a beginner hiker, so this was pretty difficult for me. Beautiful view! Parking was easy.

truly moderate, this Trail had me breathing heavy and definitely working up a bit of a sweat. I even stopped to eat an apple about three-quarters of the way up as I caught my breath. I took the east side on the way up so that I could see the ocean view as I descended on the west. It wasn't quite sunset though, but still the view on the west was really nice. plenty of shade on both sides in the late afternoon/early evening.

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