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Hondo Canyon: Backbone Trail

MODERATE 141 reviews
#14 of 53 trails in

Hondo Canyon: Backbone Trail is a 7.1 mile heavily 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.

Distance: 7.1 miles Elevation Gain: 1,751 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

forest

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

no dogs

hiking
14 days ago

Great trail. Good elevation gain with a view of the ocean at the very end.

hiking
1 month ago

As stated in a previous review the trail is about 8.4 mile to 9. It’s nicely shaded for the most part and will have you on a nice up hill climb. If you follow the trail guide it will take you past hondo trail onto the fossil ridge trail. Not a scenic train it a nice climb with views of the old microwave tower and some views over looking the ocean.

hiking
over grown
rocky
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

It was a hot day but the trail is mostly shaded so it was fine. I recorded this as 9 miles like previous reviewers, therefore the length needs to be updated by AllTrails. There is a photo spot marked on the map in the beginning of the trail that you must check out. It’s a big rock overlooking a canyon and lovely Mountain View’s. The trail is diverse. Some parts are pretty rugged/rocky but nothing too crazy. It’s not the prettiest trail in general and parts are somewhat overgrown. It just seems well trafficked and worn down at times. I wore pants and glad I did. However, I would still highly recommend doing it, I just don’t know if I’ll be back unless I’m taking someone who hasn’t been. It’s a solid workout and it has a couple unique spots worth seeing. It took me about 3.5 hours.

hiking
4 months ago

Really beautiful and full of all kinds of nature. Be careful with poison ivy and overgrown plants, pants recommended. Very fulfilling and nurturing. Enjoy

hiking
5 months ago

Pleasantly shady for much of the walk. If you go, wear pants: there’s lots of stinging nettles and poison oak.

hiking
bugs
over grown
6 months ago

A lot of weeds and insects, one that another snake did not type but I came across one.

hiking
bugs
over grown
6 months ago

hiking
bugs
muddy
over grown
rocky
6 months ago

(4/25) Perfect mix of sun and shade. Underfoot there is a lot of poison ivy, thistle, and lizards. Long pants highly advised. Above that, bugs, wildflowers, rocks, fossils, and overgrowth. Overhead you’ll see and hear birds, squirrels, and see lovely shade-giving oak canopies.

hiking
over grown
6 months ago

Beautiful hike, be careful as there is lots of poison oak on the trail. My recording says over 8 Miles.

Very overgrown. active stream running. take your sticks. if you trake a left turn at some point to back down, you will in fact go near houses and farms. i fed nuts to goats.

Clocked at 10.3 using all trails app. I’d go counter clockwise next time. Better to hike up the boulders and run down hondo as opposed to finishing on pavement. Great hike. Not too crowded. Beautiful variation of terrain with amazing views al the way through. 1 big rattler coming down but trail was easily wide enough at that point to avoid. Would recommend long pants as first 3 miles are a little overgrown. Not too much cover after that first stretch either so bring extra water too. Definitely download map prior to hiking the loop as a couple stretches are just boulders with no discernible trail. Will hike again soon forsure.

8 months ago

Nice hike through chaparal/forest up to Saddle Peak Rd. Fortunately this area wasn't affected by the fires. It's a good choice for a hot day, as it is mostly shaded. Decent elevation gain, but it is spread out over a lot of switchbacks, and nothing is very steep, so I would say it is easy-moderate. The views aren't bad, but I wouldn't say that they are a selling feature. Best views are if you continue up the last half mile on Fossil Ridge to Topanga lookout. Current conditions are pretty good, a few overgrown spots - grass grown out a lot recently due to rains. Small tree knocked over and partly obscuring trail, but not hard to get around it. The first half mile or so was muddy due to last week's rain.

hiking
9 months ago

Really nice trail. Tree coverage and beautiful views. It rained over the weekend so the first mile was extremely muddy and slippery.

hiking
Mon May 28 2018

Nice wooded trail, the walk was very enjoyable with the sound of birds along the way, I did this hike on May 19 and the weather was perfect.

running
Sun Apr 08 2018

Challenging but runnable climb, maybe not quite as exciting for hiking but I would still hike it. Part of the the backbone trail that runs across all the SM mountains so I’m glad I know it. Also be sure to continue at least to the fire overlook by making a right at the top of Hondo, behind the old radar tower, it’s a beautiful view.

Mon Jan 01 2018

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

hiking
Tue Oct 17 2017

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.

hiking
Tue Sep 05 2017

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).

hiking
Mon Jul 17 2017

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.

hiking
Sun Apr 09 2017

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.

Mon Mar 27 2017

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

Mon Mar 13 2017

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.

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