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

    Santa Monica Mountains

    National Recreation Area California

Backbone Trail (BBT)

Hikers cross Eagle Junction on the Backbone Trail.

Photo by Jim Belsley

Interested in Hiking the Backbone Trail next year?

Signups for the NPS led 8 day (2 Saturdays a month, Jan thru April) hike of the Backbone Trail will start on October 1. The date has been moved up to allow more time for hikers to prepare for the rigors on the BBT hikes. The Backbone Trail Application is needed to sign-up for the hike. NOTE: Applications will be accepted annually after 7:00 AM on October 1.

You can also check through these pages to learn about the different sections and download GPS coordinates to create your own BBT hike.

You can also learn more by reading the Backbone Trail Ranger's Blog from the annual hike series. You can also check out the links to your left as well.

Wide landscapes lead to views of the many types of plant communities.

photo by jim belsley

About the Backbone Trail

You will see how many public and private agencies, organizations and individuals have joined together to create Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in general and the Backbone Trail in particular and must continue as partners in its management efforts.

As individuals you can help support the park in many ways. You can share your knowledge by telling others about the parks and events. You can increase your knowledge by attending programs and lectures listed in Outdoors, the quarterly calendar of Santa Monica Mountains events published by the National Park Service. You can contribute your time by becoming a State or National park volunteer. You can help maintain the Backbone Trail and other trails by volunteering for trail projects with the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council.

BBT Map Image
Click on the picture of the map to get the Backbone Trail brochure and guide.

As hikers on this trail you will benefit from our Mediterranean eco-system, found only in five places in the world, experincing its many unique plant and animal communites. By being able to escape from city life, you enjoy the health benefits of hiking and learning a lot about our own unique area. You will also learn some history of the area through the trail as you travel through Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral, Oak Woodlands, Meadows, and Streamside areas.

We hope you will enjoy your traverse of the Santa Monica Mountains on the Backbone Trail.

If after you have read through the Backbone Trail (BBT) information and still have questions, please contact us and an experienced BBT hiker will respond to your question.

Did You Know?

Backbone trail hikes lead to views of mountains, canyons, and the Pacific Ocean.

Piece by piece, a trail is forging its way along the "backbone" of the recreation area. California State Parks took the first step toward a 65-mile Backbone Trail in 1978. With 5 miles left to go, single track trails and fireroads will unite this patchwork of public parklands from east to west.