• Stars appear behind a dramatic landscape of rocky mountains, rolling hills, and fields of grass

    Santa Monica Mountains

    National Recreation Area California

Backbone Trail from Mulholland Hwy (mile marker 5.2) to Latigo Canyon parking area

Note: For the Latigo Canyon parking area, a small lot is on your left is 3-miles east of the intersection of Kanan Road and Latigo Canyon Road.

  • Mileage: 7.9
  • Agencies: NPS (except for one gap still privately owned).
  • Flora: The trail crosses brushy chaparral covered slopes then dips up and down through shaded stream cut canyons and Oak Woodlands. Notice how the slope aspect (north or south facing) of the canyon affects plants and animals as you walk in and out of the shade.
  • Human history: The trail was constructed in pieces as lands were purchased by NPS over many years. There has been great difficulty in negotiating with private landholders. This accounts for the trail gaps noted above.
  • Cautions: Parking on Mulholland is very limited, be sure to observe the signs. There are many road crossings and many intersecting trails in this section of the BBT. You'll cross Encinal Canyon Rd., go through Zuma -Trancas Canyons, cross the Backbone Trail parking lot at Kanan Road, then up and over the top of Kanan Road through Newton Canyon to Latigo Canyon. Use a good GPS or a good topographic map for this section. Hiking poles are recommended due to ascents and descents on the trail.

Did You Know?

A community project led by the National Park Service has restored Zuma Lagoon.

Many hands spanning different generations and agencies continue to turn back the clock on damage to the fragile environment at Zuma Lagoon. After the removal of debris and the restoration of native plants, beach visitors now find a living wetland with 108 species of birds and colorful wildflowers.