Zuma Canyon is distinguished for being one of the deepest gorges in the Santa Monica Mountains and unlike Topanga or Malibu Canyons has never suffered incursion by a major road.
Our 5.6 mile loop hike begins in a deep cleft of the Santa Monica Mnts., then winds up a mellow ridgeline with gorgeous ocean views, statuesque sycamores, tall laurel sumac and scattered wildflowers. The first 1.5 miles is slightly strenuous with an 800 ft gain. If that does not leave you breathless, the views will.
While venturing through the canyon, look and listen for the signs of life around you. Walk carefully along the trails and discover tracks of deer, rabbit and coyote. Marvel at the delicate homes of funnel web spiders hiding in the earth’s tiny crevices. Listen for the shy wren-tit, the “voice of the chaparral.” Though rarely seen, its call sounds like a ping-pong ball echoing throughout the canyon.
After-hike shenanigans will take place at Spruzzo Malibu (http://www.spruzzomalibu.com/), right on the corner of Busch Dr and PCH — you pass it on the way out.
Directions: From Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, one mile west of Kanan Dume Road, turn north on Bonsall Drive. Follow Bonsall to its dead end at the mouth of Zuma Canyon. Ample, FREE parking.
Bring at least one qt water, hiking shoes/boots, hat, sunscreen, snacks
Note: When leaving, do not return to PCH on Bonsall. Instead, make a right on Rainsford Place, then left on Busch Dr to PCH.
1. Carpooling is desired. There is a convenient park-and-ride at Kanan & 101.
2. All hikers must stay on established trails
3. No use of flour or chalk to mark trails.
4. Practice “Leave No Trace” – take only pictures and leave only footprints