Solstice Canyon Loop Trail

MODERATE 644 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
777 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
2 days ago

Fun trail! Some cool history and ruins along the way. I would suggest going clockwise- your reward after going up switchbacks is a beautiful view of the ocean.

hiking
6 days ago

Easy to stay on the trail, if you do it clockwise - the signage is very visible. Rangers patrol this trail and will ticket if you bring your dogs up to the waterfall area behind the house.

17 days ago

Great trail running spot. Take the Rising Sun section up the side of the hill and then enjoy the views as you wind down the canyon toward the waterfall.

22 days ago

watch out for the snakes =(

23 days ago

Beautiful and covered on the left side of the loop. little waterfall and cool home remains towards the end. right side of the loop goes up but not too difficult for a novice hiker

hiking
27 days ago

Very straight forward trail - just follow the signs. Lots of shade and can be pretty chilly in the early morning. When i got to the trail at 7:30am - the park ranger was just ahead of me to open the gate. There's a small space for one or two compact cars on the right side of the gate if you find yourself arriving early and the gate is still locked. There's a few actual parking spaces right at the gates and a handful towards the trail head - so I recommend arriving a little early. Saw 2 or 3 families circling the lot, fighting for a spot when I finished the hike at 9:30am.

The trail itself is well maintained with some incline as well as branching trails to other hikes. Lots of photo ops as you advance in the hike. Its a nice hike with moderate human traffic. At the peak of the trail (about half way), you get a stunning view of the California coast and beach. I suspect it to be very romantic if you had someone with you - alas, I came alone. Nonetheless, the view was still breathtaking so I held my own hands.

hiking
1 month ago

This hike was a pleasant surprise! I like the fact there there was a piece of history woven in! After you reach the remnants of the home (in which you really need to walk around what remains and read about it) and the small waterfall you continue up and around to get a nice view of the ocean /coastline this part really is what makes it a good hike as there’s a good amount of uphill hiking then as you descend you end up back where you parked. Nice workout and doesn’t take a lot of time! If you are in the Malibu/Santa Monica area you should definitely do this trail!

hiking
1 month ago

I've been to this trail a few times and I appreciate what the terrain has to offer. It is close to the beach and right off of the PCH. 

Solstice Canyon Trail is relatively popular because of the multiple additional attractions you can find along the trail. It is a nice short stroll with barely any elevation change. 
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 Robert's Ranch House. We went on the solstice canyon trail up to Robert's ranch house. 

I went on the 2.1 mile trail up to the waterfall, great place for pictures. The trail is paved most of the way so walking is relatively easy. This is a pet-friendly trail and you will most likely see families with their dogs on and off-leash out there. As you walk I'm sure you will see some beautiful flowers, lizards and hear wildlife in the bushes. Depending on what part of the trail you walk you will have a decent amount of shade as you head up towards the waterfall. The waterfall is small but it runs year round (very rare find) and is nice although the railing around it is a little unsightly. There are connecting trails that go up the canyon sides so you can hike for quite a while. Those are steeper and more open. 

I would say this is a very do-able hike if you are in shape. I actually saw an elderly lady walking while I was on my way there. On my way back down I saw her, and her party still en-route to the waterfall so it's relatively easy to do.

Parking and entrance to the park are free. There is a small lot with about 5 or 6 spaces upon entering the park. If you go further into the entrance of the park there is a lot with about 20 spaces in addition to some parking off to the side of the of the lot. When I can't find parking in those lots I drive up the hill before you enter the initial parking lot and there is an area to park overlooking the beach and PCH. I actually prefer parking there for the picturesque views and walking down to add some steps to my hike.

If you're chasing Waterfalls this is a decent trail to start.

1 month ago

Did the loop in just over an hour. Enjoyed meandering around the ruins of the house and the little dead end that leads to a small waterfall. It was a foggy morning (and beautifully chilly) so no views of the ocean. Guess we’ll just have to go back!

2 months ago

fun little hike with a beautiful view at the (almost) end! fun things to look at keep it interesting, and the steps were fun! it's a very easy hike, that turns moderate when you pass the house remains I'll be back to do this hike with the kiddos minus the steps ❤️

2 months ago

enjoyed this CA hike.

2 months ago

Highly recommend this trail and that is not a Larry David "recommend" recommendation. It's an actual recommendation.

3 months ago

Started on the left trail of the loop. Not well marked in some areas. 1:20 total time. Good bathrooms. Free parking. Deer. Rabbits. Waterfall. Not a lot of water views. Not until end. Still climbing after 1 hour. Def not easy. Dogs allowed.

hiking
3 months ago

Definitely a great hike with great views of the pacific and canyons. If you're looking for a steep incline to start to get that cardio going, pass the main gate and immediately turn right to head up the mountain. Super important to try and climb on cool days and have lots of water as there is little shady coverage!

hiking
4 months 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.

4 months ago

hiking
4 months 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
4 months 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.

4 months ago

Nice trail, it was a little busy and parking extended beyond the front entrance. Shortly after starting the trail there was a park ranger set up and sharing information with passers....Nice to see the park service there. The first half of the trail (to the waterfall) had a descent amount of shade, but if you continue on the loop it is primarily sun. I wish I had listened to the previous post and wore long pants, the brush was thick on the trail beyond the waterfall.

This was a great hike! First part was not much of a trail but you get to explore the ruins. The waterfall is the halfway point. If you go early you can have the bench by the waterfall to yourself and enjoy the serene sound of the water. From here the Rising Sun Trail takes you into the most beautiful part of the hike. The trail is narrow an overgrown so wear pants. The views on this second half of the loop trail are AMAZING. Completely worth making your way through the overgrown path. Beautiful mountain views with ocean in the background. Trail overall was pretty easy.

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