Solstice Canyon Loop Trail

MODERATE 543 reviews

Solstice Canyon Loop Trail is a 3.4 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Malibu, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, trail running, and nature trips and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
3.4 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
918 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

river

views

waterfall

wild flowers

wildlife

bugs

This is an incredibly picturesque, mostly shaded canyon hike in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Solstice Canyon Trail is a popular, well-maintained route with some spur-trail opportunities for more adventurous travelers. Some of the highlights include the oldest still-standing stone building in Malibu, a small waterfall and creek, and several ruins - including the ruins of a moderate mansion. From the gate, follow the service road that runs along the right side of the creek. Bear right at the dirt road that takes you up to the 2 odd looking buildings that house the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. To the right of the second building, take the Rising Sun Trail. This trail heads up the ridge, with great views of the ocean, then drops down into the somewhat mysterious Tropical Terrace. This is actually the ruins of a home build in the 1960s, and burned in 1982. There are exotic plants, lovely pools, a 30 foot waterfall (if there has been rain recently), and a hidden statue of the Virgin Mary just before you cross the creek heading into the ruins. This is really a fun place to explore! You can carefully scramble up the rocks on an extremely steep trail to get above the waterfall to a number of lovely pools. The return route is a pleasant shady service road that runs parallel to the stream.

hiking
22 hours ago

So far our summer hikes have been at the higher elevations where it’s usually cooler. But this weekend we opted to head towards Malibu and explore Solstice Canyon. I knew this was a popular spot with some of the trails being on exposed hills, so we got there early before the crowds and the heat.

We arrived just before 7 am and there was still plenty of parking. Our options were to head straight to the falls via the Solstice Canyon Trail, an easy walk down a paved fire road, or to head up the stairs to the right and take the Rising Sun Trail which climbs upward on more rugged terrain. We opted for the later. Just a few feet in we were already getting some nice views of the pacific. The morning light was gorgeous and it reflected a beautiful golden hue on the summer wildflowers along the trail. It was still early in the morning, but the exposed hills had us working up a good sweat. As we reached the crest, the first view of what remains of Tropical Terrace mansion became visible down in the canyon. This mansion was built in the 1950s, but it burned down in 1982 in a wildfire. As we began to descend down into the canyon towards the ruins, we could hear the waterfall and the vegetation became noticeably greener.

We spent some time exploring Tropical Terrace and the small but very pretty Solstice Canyon waterfall. Afterwards, we walked south along the paved Solstice Canyon trail for a quick minute to pick up the Sostomo Trail. The Sostomo Trail took us straight up on a less maintained more difficult trail to some very pretty views of the whole canyon and the pacific ocean. We passed the ruins of a few more cabins along the way, dropped down in the the canyon and rock hopped over the creek a few times and eventually reached the junction of the Deer Valley Loop. The Deer Valley Loop took us up even higher where we were able to get a birdseye view of Point Dume. There were some parts of the loop that leveled off and opened up to meadows full of golden wildflowers and also beautiful Oaks. This area was covered in white butterflies. I believe they were Cabbage Whites, but they kept us company almost our entire time on these two trails. I should note some of the other butterflies I saw here which were Swallowtails, Skippers and Marine Blues.

After finishing the loop, we met back up with the Sostomo Trail and headed back the way we came. It was about 10:30 am and now the crowds were starting to arrive. We passed a few sweaty hikers who asked us if the climb was worth it. It was actually pretty hot by this time, so a few of them decided to turn back.

Once back down, we finished the hike on the Solstice Canyon Trail. (I actually don’t have any photos from this part of the hike because when I was downloading the images, some of the files got corrupted. Not sure what happened there, but thankfully the rest of the photos were fine.)

Overall, I really enjoyed this hike and the change of scenery. I would definitely like to come back and do this one in the spring when everything is green, as I’m sure it would be full of different species of butterflies and the hills would be even prettier.

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23 days ago

Gear hike with kids. They loved running around the ruins. The hike was a bit up hill for a while at the end but nothing too bad. The kids had to stop for a breather a couple times.

hiking
24 days ago

I love this trail. The canyon valley is filled with life. The bottom half of the trail is a super shaded fire road and the upper portion (rising sun trail) is uphill and a pretty good but quick workout. There seems to always be rangers in this park and the place is heavily monitored because of its historical landmarks. When I was hiking there was a couple groups of younger college age people who were talking pretty load which was not that cool and there is a lot of the waterfall area that is "closed" now but it's a beautiful place with lots to see. Great place to bring a little picnic.

hiking
24 days ago