What ancient creature laid upon the earth, slowly eroding and permitting our
feet to walk across its spine? The Santa Monica Mountains once rose upwards
of 10,000 feet in elevation, but millions of years of geologic forces have shaped
and weathered these ridges, leaving behind beautiful rock outcrops and hidden
pockets of wildness. Today the 67-mile Backbone Trail links east to west, inviting
all to explore the riches of the mountains.
For millennia, trails have crossed the Santa
Monica Mountains, but not until the 1970s
did people first propose to link the western
and eastern ends by footpath. The creation of
a national recreation area in 1978 and a shared
vision among federal, state, and local partners
made this idea a possibility. Years of hard work
on and off the trail made it a reality. In 2016,
staff and volunteers completed the last section
INFORMATION and maps are available at the Santa
Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center in
Calabasas, CA. Current conditions and trip-planning
resources are also found at:
www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/backbonetrail.htm
BE PREPARED by taking water, food, map, flashlight,
and first-aid supplies. Water is not available at most
trailheads. Be alert for ticks, bees, rattlesnakes, and
poison oak.
WILDFIRE is a year-round concern. Fires of any kind
are not permitted on the trail. For current restrictions
and fire danger level, visit the homepage at:
www.nps.gov/samo
DOGS are permitted on trails managed by the
National Park Service and must be on leash and under
control. Dogs are not allowed on most trails managed
by California State Parks.
MOUNTAIN BIKES are permitted on certain sections
of the Backbone Trail. Refer to the map on the other
side and follow posted signage. Yield to hikers and
equestrian riders.
HORSES are allowed on the Backbone Trail, though
some sections are narrow, especially Saddle Peak
(Malibu Creek State Park) and Chicken Ridge Bridge
(Topanga State Park). Contact the appropriate land
agency to determine the current conditions.
CAMP SITES are extremely limited along the
Backbone Trail. Since camping outside of designated
campgrounds is prohibited, thru-hiking is not possible
at this time. Existing camp sites differ widely in their
amenities and were not designed to support thruhiking. A forthcoming Trail Management Plan will
propose backcountry camps along the trail that would
be managed through a permit system. Public comment
on the environmental review document for the plan is
expected in 2017, and pending outcome of the public
review, possible construction in the years that follow.
of the Backbone Trail, creating an unbroken
trail experience through the best protected
stretch of coastal Mediterranean habitat in the
world. This unique environment, combined
with easy access from a major metropolitan area,
allowed for the official National Recreation
Trail designation in 2016. No matter one’s
interest or ability, there’s something for
everyone along the Backbone Trail.
Mountains to the Sea
Plan Your Visit
Santa Monica Mountains
Backbone Trail
National Park Service
U.S. Department of the Interior
Santa Monica Mountains
National Recreation Area
Decades in the Making
Castro Crest
MORE INFORMATION
Santa Monica Mountains
Interagency Visitor Center
26876 Mulholland Highway,
Calabasas, CA, 91302
(805) 370-2301
Because the trail crosses multiple land jurisdictions, trail sections may have different names,
access, and regulations. Pick your route and plan ahead so you can safely enjoy the trail.
Boney Mountain, viewed from the
trail east of Yerba Buena Road
Other trails
Corridor
Mulholland Scenic
Campground
Parking
authorized boundary
Recreation Area
Mountains National
Santa Monica
Other public
Service
National Park
parkland campground
Backcountry Equestrian Parking
Drinking Water
Restrooms
101
1
1
1
23
23
27
27
0 4
0 4
1 Mile
1 Kilometer
North
No bikes allowed.
Hikers and Equestrians.
Backbone Trail
Hikers, Bikers, Equestrians
Backbone Trail
12.9 km
8.0 mi
13.4 km
8.3 mi
7.4 km
4.6 mi
7.1 km
4.4 mi
1.9 km
1.2 mi
7.9 km
4.9 mi
3.5 km
2.2 mi
6.6 km
4.1 mi
8.4 km
5.2 mi
3.2 km
2.0 mi
8.1 km
5.0 mi
7.1 km
4.4 mi
1.3 km
0.8 mi
1.9 km
1.2 mi
17.9 km
11.1 mi
Backcountry Camp
La Jolla Valley
Musch Camp
Trailhead
Ray Miller
Danielson Ranch
Trailhead
Mishe Mokwa
Trailhead
Sandstone Peak
Crossing
Yerba Buena Rd
Trailhead
Encinal
Trailhead
Kanan
Trailhead
Latigo
Trailhead
Corral Canyon
Trailhead
Tapia
Crossing
Piuma Rd Overlook
Lois Ewen
Trailhead
Deadhorse
Trippet Ranch
Will Rogers
Trailhead
Old Topanga Rd
Crossing Crossing
Mulholland Hwy
COLD
CREEK
PRESERVE
TOPANGA
STATE PARK
MALIBU CREEK
STATE PARK CASTRO
CREST
POINT MUGU
STATE PARK
CIRCLE X
RANCH
ZUMA/TRANCAS
CANYONS
Westlake
Blvd
Mulholland Hwy
Yerba Buena Road
Cotharin Road Canyon Road
Little Sycamore
Canyon
Encinal
Enc ni al Canyon Road
Decker Road
Pacific Coast H gi hway
Corral
noynaC
daoR
oynaC ogit aL n Road
e muD nanaK daoR
Kanan Road
a M bil aC u noyn dR
Cs er ol F s aL
yna no dR
Tuna C na oy n Rd
dl O oT ap C agn anyon Rd
oT nap aC ag yn no dR
Mulholland Highway
s aL ri V eg en Rs d
Pac fii c Coast H gi hway
RANCH
GILLETTE
KING
Visitor Center
Mountains
Santa Monica
CALABASAS
WOODLAND
HILLS
MALIBU
AGOURA
HILLS
WESTLAKE
VILLAGE
SANTA MONICA
THOUSAND OAKS
Santa Monica Mountains
National Recreation Area
Santa Monica Mountains
U.S. Department of the Interior
National Park Service
Backbone Trail
Other trails
Corridor
Mulholland Scenic
Campground
Parking
authorized boundary
Recreation Area
Mountains National
Santa Monica
Other public
Service
National Park
parkland campground
Backcountry Equestrian Parking
Drinking Water
Restrooms
101
1
1
1
23
23
27
27
0 4
0 4
1 Mile
1 Kilometer
North
No bikes allowed.
Hikers and Equestrians.
Backbone Trail
Hikers, Bikers, Equestrians
Backbone Trail
12.9 km
8.0 mi
13.4 km
8.3 mi
7.4 km
4.6 mi
7.1 km
4.4 mi
1.9 km
1.2 mi
7.9 km
4.9 mi
3.5 km
2.2 mi
6.6 km
4.1 mi
8.4 km
5.2 mi
3.2 km
2.0 mi
8.1 km
5.0 mi
7.1 km
4.4 mi
1.3 km
0.8 mi
1.9 km
1.2 mi
17.9 km
11.1 mi
Backcountry Camp
La Jolla Valley
Musch Camp
Trailhead
Ray Miller
Danielson Ranch
Trailhead
Mishe Mokwa
Trailhead
Sandstone Peak
Crossing
Yerba Buena Rd
Trailhead
Encinal
Trailhead
Kanan
Trailhead
Latigo
Trailhead
Corral Canyon
Trailhead
Tapia
Crossing
Piuma Rd Overlook
Lois Ewen
Trailhead
Deadhorse
Trippet Ranch
Will Rogers
Trailhead
Old Topanga Rd
Crossing Crossing
Mulholland Hwy
COLD
CREEK
PRESERVE
TOPANGA
STATE PARK
MALIBU CREEK
STATE PARK CASTRO
CREST
POINT MUGU
STATE PAR

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