Hondo Canyon: Backbone Trail

MODERATE 58 reviews
#8 of 27 trails in

Hondo Canyon: Backbone Trail is a 7.8 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Topanga, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

7.8 miles
1715 feet
Out & Back



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers



no dogs

21 days ago

Pretty boring. Goes through a lot a shaded scrub. Go to Trippet Ranch right nearby instead

3 months ago

Nice hike. Slow steady climb. The higher you get the nicer the scenery. Take the extra .7 mile to the overlook for some nice ocean views. Some overgrown areas so long pants might be a good idea.

4 months ago

This is a great trail offering a good workout. Other reviews say it's not steep, but that's only if starting at the top. If you start at the Old Topanga Canyon trailhead, be ready for a steady climb to the top, easy in some parts, but moderately steep in other parts. Overall it's a fun, fun hike and quite secluded for the most part. The exceptions/cons I would list are that from some spots you can see houses across the canyon and at least a couple of times I've had airplane noise overhead for almost the entire hike (like someone flying small planes over the area).

6 months ago

I'd give this trail 5 stars if the destination wasn't on the side of a road. The majority of the hike is fairly secluded, so the top is a bit of a let down. It's a beautiful area though, with varied scenery and terrain. Bring 2 liters of water per person if you're going on a hot day.

9 months ago

Fantastic Trail! One of the best in LA. Very green. Mostly Forest. Lost of shade. Excellent views, especially on top, of both San Fernando Valley and Santa Monica beaches. Hike starts over a small creek and then it goes up for several miles via narrow forest trail. Lots of vegetation. Hiked this trail in spring, so the grass was tall with many wild flowers, and the weather was perfect 65 degrees. Lots of large lizards. Several snakes in tall grass. Poison Oak all around at the beginning. No dogs or bikers. Passed several large groups of hikers.

9 months ago

Great trail! we hiked out and back an it was 10 miles. watch out for rattlesnakes on the trail!

10 months ago

i hiked this yesterday and it was beautiful! If it hadnt been for the rattlesnake that scared me nearly to death, it would have been perfect. Be aware of what is hiding in the tall green grass.

10 months ago

There's park on the shoulder of Old Topanga Road for about 6 cars. The trailhead is right off the parking area and is easy to locate. The trail immediately crosses a little stream. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow the entire way. The trail is not steep in any place. The 0.7 mile trail extension to the "Overlook" is worth the added time. It was an enjoyable hike, especially when I was treated to a hillside of blooming California Lilac.

10 months ago

Took the trail from Old Topanga Rd., crossed a small stream, crossed 2 meadows with beautiful wild flowers, then entered the forest part of the trail. The views are amazing! The hike sort of ends at a road, so we opted to go an extra 0.7 miles to the overlook.
BEWARE: Poison oak lines the trail in a lot of parts which was a little frustrating. The trail is fine going up, but heading down, its very rocky and I rolled my ankle on more than one occasion, so just be careful.

11 months ago

Free parking, great views

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Great workout
Hot at mid day
Lots of shaded hiking
Strenuous for the less experienced hiker
Mixture of meadows, forest and scrub.
No water
Great view at the top
Cool rock formations
Poorly marked trail head
Well marked trail once found
Parking on side of road no cost
No park amenities

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Great hike. Bit hot as it's very uphill for a lot of it. More like 8.3miles round trip from old Topanga road.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The hike is great. We hiked all the way to Stunt Road took us 4 hours. Easy to find

Monday, November 19, 2012

it can get your shoes muddy after rain, nice breeze it can give a little kick

Monday, March 12, 2012

We did this hike today - it was mostly cloudy. There are some rock formations that are pretty cool, and it's a good workout. We saw a rabbit, several squirrels, and some birds.

trail running
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