Summary: This hike first descends into Upper Solstice Canyon where the pleasant, mostly shaded trail follows a seasonal creek bed. As the trail begins to rise out of the canyon, the views get progressively more spectacular. First, lovely folded green hills emerge, followed by large sandstone formations in the distance. As you gain elevation, ocean views become more promenent. On a clear day, you can see most of the Channel Islands, Catalina, and the Santa Monica coastline.
Once over the crest, seemingly endless layers of mountains abound in an almost 360 degree panorama, including views down into Malibu Canyon and beyond. I found it breathtaking.
Trailhead: From Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu, head 5.5 miles inland on Corral Canyon Road to a dirt parking lot where the road dead ends. Note that Corral Canyon runs between Malibu Canyon Road and Kanan Road. The best way to take this hike is clockwise, starting with the trailhead for the Backbone trial on the west side of the parking lot, then returning on the Castro Motorway (a fire road). (Lat:34.08152 Lon:-118.75781)
Trail Guides for Castro Crest - Upper Solstice Canyon:
Hiking Trails of Malibu Creek State Park
by Milt McAuley (Canyon Publishing)
Afoot & Afield In Los Angeles
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring
User Groups: Hikers, Bikes
Ranger Contact: Malibu Creek State Park, 818-880-0350
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 7 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Viewer on 11/13/2012
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Reviewed by CastroPeak on 3/9/2012
Castro Peak is private property and heavily gated and posted. Newton Motorway and Castro Motorway are closed to the public. Do Not Trespass.
Reviewed by amy on 3/12/2011
maybe it's mel gibson's gate.
Reviewed by BR on 1/14/2011
Very nice ocean views towards the end and a few small creeks ocean views are the best part... most importantly THIS IS NOT A LOOP! do not get lost. its a there and back hike which is disappointing and we found out the hard way fighting to get back before dark while searching for the loop. probably walked over 8-10 miles trying to figure out how the loop works. AGAIN THERE IS NO LOOP! Average hike only because there is only a short while where you have the panoramic views and you have to walk back the way you came. hope this helps and first timers don't try and find a loop and end up lost like some of us... B
Reviewed by Scott on 11/14/2010
Hiked this today (as best I could in light of the gate closure). The Backbone Trail section is lovely and serene, but a bit overgrown and in need of a trim. Gets dark fast down here when sunset arrives! As for the locked gate, whoever owns that stretch of land has some serious issues. Double surveillance cameras, intricate system of 6 padlocks, sign reading "What part of no trespassing don't you understand?" Seek therapy, my friend.
Reviewed by GregoryG on 4/24/2010
I was using Milt McAuley's book as a guide. We took the Castro Motorway fire road first, thinking we'd complete the loop via the Pacific Crest Trail. The wildflowers were spectacular and there were some interesting erosion-sculpted boulders too see too. We had an unpleasant surprise when we came to a padlocked gate and 7 warning signs about trespassing. We walked around those, saw a signpost which pointed us towards Newton Canyon and Latigo Canyon. Up a rise and around a bend in the road we came to the barbed wire fence. The signs were threatening and even warned NPS rangers away. Seeing no way around it, we returned the way we came. I wonder if vandalism of the communication towers is why the land owner has put up this nasty fence?
Reviewed by Scott on 2/4/2010
With regards to the fenced-off sections, there apparently is a vehicle easement but it does not apply to hikers, bikers, or equestrians. No matter - the Backbone Trail (lower) section is better than the Castro Crest (upper) section anyway. I don't know why LL mentions a lake. There is no lake here, just a series of creek crossings, and those dry out come summer anyway.
Reviewed by KN on 7/11/2009
It's true, there is a fence, making it impossible to do a loop, so now the trail is a there and back. And I don't mean just a fence. This thing would feel quite at home at a Supermax prison. It has barbed wire, it stretches way off over the side of the trail. In short, impossible to go around or over. I don't understand why anyone would do this. It's annoying.
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