Summary: This hike is a great adventure with a wide diversity of spectacular scenery. The trail heads down the abandoned Serrano Rd to the signed Serrano Valley Loop trail on your right. You will have stunning views of the valley and Boney mountain along the way. At about 3.5 miles, you will reach a T junction, bear right on Old Boney trail for .9 miles, then at another junction stay pointed east on the Backbone trail.
As you gain elevation the views and rock formations get progressively more impressive. Continue to a signed junction at the 8 mile mark, and head left towards Split Rock and the Mishe Mokwa trail. Enjoy a break at Split rock and look for Balanced Rock above echo cliffs on the way to the car. The route finding on this hike is a bit challenging. You should pick up the Tom Harrison trail map of the Santa Monica Mountains West. You may also want to take the Mishe Mokwa and Serrano Canyon hikes first before attempting this route.
Trailhead: You will need 2 cars for this hike. From Westlake Village, exit on Westlake Blvd from the 101 Freeway, and follow it south for several miles as it merges with Mulholland highway. Turn right onto Little Sycamore Canyon and it will become Yerba Buena Road as you cross the county line. Proceed on Yerba Buena Road for about 4 miles to the Mishe Mokwa trailhead (about a mile before you hit the Circle X Ranch Ranger Station). Drop 1 car off here. Continue several miles towards the beach on Yerba Buena to Cotharin road, turn, then after a mile or so, turn right on Serrano Road and follow it to the gate. The road past the gate is the start of this adventure. (Lat:34.09462 Lon:-118.97286)
Trail Guides for Boney Ridge Traverse:
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Santa Monica Rec. Area - 805-370-2301
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 2 Submit your own review
Reviewed by sm on 4/26/2011
Did this hike last Sunday. Long and windy drive to get there from westlake. This is not for people who get car sick. FYI the detour on Serrano Road is almost a one way road. There is NO parking at the trail head. You have to park on the side of the road where may be only 2 small cars can fit. If you are taking a big size SUV you may have trouble turning around. Beautiful hike though. Walking through the Serrano valley was a great experience. Then it's straight up for about 2000 ft. Then you get the view of valley from above. You can also see the ocean clearly. When we got to MM trail we went right to keep climbing to Sandstone Peak. We then descended from SS peak and cut back into MM trail to MM trail head off of Yerba Buena
Reviewed by Jennifer on 10/30/2007
All National Park sites in the Santa Monica Mountains are open. Please enjoy them safely! http://www.nps.gov/samo
Reviewed by Ich on 7/30/2007
7 scouts and 6 adult leaders from Troop 730 did the hike on a hot and humid day as a training hike for Sierra Long Term with full packs and about a gallon of water each. Scouts decide to take the Sandstone Peak route instead of following Mishe Mokwa past the balanced rock. Some parts, especially near dry stream beds were particularly overgrown. We were almost out of water by the end.
Reviewed by Louis on 4/19/2007
I had this hike in mind for a while. Hiking the Ray Miller trail I saw Old Boney from the distance and I decided to hike it, not even knowing the name of the beautiful rocky mountain. I read the reviews in this page, but I was more familiar with the access from Sycamore Canyon (Point Mugu), so I went to Google and did a virtual fly over the area. The trail was very clear and gave me an idea of where to go. I started on Sycamore Canyon and after a mile I took the back bone trail through a canyon. After 3 miles in the canyon I got to a nice prairie with high grass. The trail goes north-north west and crosses over the lower slopes to the west of Old Boney. The trail signs in this area are poor, but the trail is clear. There is one section whe
Reviewed by Dan on 4/22/2006
Spontaneously decided to hike this in reverse of the Mishe Mokwa, having read this review... makes it a very easy hike because of all the downhill... I also sidetracked to Inspiration Point which is a worthwhile and brief detour. Do as the review says and plan this out with 2 cars, because I tried and failed to hitchhike back to the Mishe Mokwa trailhead and ended up walking the 5 or 6 miles back to my car.... very tiring after an 11 mile hike! But it was worth it: the hills are green right now, with many flowers, there are some good ocean vistas. Also lots of ticks.
Reviewed by Pat Mac on 10/2/2005
Boney Ridge traverse is a well kept secret. Easy to moderate hike until the end. It is a must to start early and take plenty of water. Very few ticks, bugs or snakes (Sep.) Trails are poorly marked and that explains why the Sheriff's Dept. helicopter is often sent out for overdue hikers. Let someone know your route and take a buddy. The ridge can get foggy and temps cam drop. Bottom line you don't want to be up there in the dark. Take a camera scenes are great. The last portion of the trail can be step, with loose rock, and very narrow. Do it.
Reviewed by Gabriel on 6/24/2005
Wow was this an adventure. We started out loosing the trail quickly beacause of poor trail markings and lots of over growth. When you reach the old barb-wire fence continue into the old farm where you will find the trail again otherwise you will end up on some random mountain looking for the trail from above!! Once on the proper trail it gently climbs from the valley with beautiful scenery all around you. Once about 1/3 into the trail it becomes very overgrown with grass and poison oak. Beware of the poison oak and the plethera of ticks. Our leader in our group found 27 ticks on him with the other two of us finding at least 4 a piece on us. There are areas where the over growth was abouve our heads with a only half of a foot of trail.
Reviewed by Jim Z. on 1/31/2005
Today's hike on the Boney Ridge Traverse was as good as it gets in SoCal. It was unbelievable with visibility over 100 miles. We could see all the coastal islands, as well as the snow capped Mt San Gorgonio, all from the Santa Monica Mountains near Malibu. One of the nicest hikes I have done in ages. The green rolling hills in Serrano Valley were breathtaking, as were the rock formations along the ridgeline. It's a long hike, but worth the effort.
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