In the early 1930s, Will Rogers was the most popular and highest paid actor in Hollywood. From his start in vaudeville theater with a trick roping act, he rose to world-wide fame as a columnist, philosopher, radio personality, and movie star. During the 1920s, he bought land in Santa Monica, where he developed a ranch. Eventually, Will Rogers owned 186 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean, in what is now known as Pacific Palisades. The ranch became the place where Will Rogers could relax with his family and friends, pursuing his favorite pastimes of riding and roping. At his untimely death in a plane crash in 1935, Will Rogers' ranch consisted of a 31-room ranch house, a stable, corrals, riding ring, roping arena, polo field, golf course, and hiking trails. When his widow, Betty, died in 1944, the ranch became a state park.
It's tough and beautiful. The first quarter of the hike is deep down in the canyon, following a creek which we had to cross at least 10 times, including some climbing. That strenuous part of the hike took us about half of our total time. Please note: the trail is NOT MARKED and NOT MAINTAINED! You must have a sense of finding the right way, otherwise this hike is not the right one for you. After that it is a nice uphill to the top of the backbone trail, leading you down from there to the parking lot with beautiful views from downtown LA to Santa Monica. It's tough but definitely my favorite trail in the SM Mountains.
Love this hike. Once down at the bottom, the staircase back to the top of the trail if you want a good leg burn. Fun exploring the remnants of the site, crazy that this is located not to far from Sunset Blvd. Parking on street, usually not too hard to find a spot.