Summary: This hike is a bit challenging, but rewards the hiker with some great scenery. The hike starts out following the Inspiration Point loop trail up a ridge line with great views of the ocean and city below. Just past the spur that leads up to inspiration point (at 1 miles), you will turn onto the Backbone trail. A quarter mike or so after you cross a bridge spanning a saddle, you will come to an unmarked trail on the right that drops steeply into Rustic Canyon.
Once you're on the canyon floor, head left towards the Camp Josepho scout camp. This section of the trail is my favorite, with lovely meadow like areas shaded by giant sycamores. When you reach the scout camp, turn around and back head down Rustic Canyon. As the canyon narrows, the woods get quite dense and at times the trail disappears, forcing you to walk in the streambed. Watch for an obvious trail to the right once the canyon flattens out again, leading back to Will Rogers Park. I found a topo map and GPS helpful.
Trailhead: From the San Fernando Valley, take the 405 south to Sunset, turn right (toward the beach), and in 7 miles turn right into Will Rogers State Park. Drive to the end of the almost 1 mile long entrance road. The trail head is behind the visitors center. (Lat:34.0545 Lon:-118.51181)
Trail Guides for Rustic Canyon - Camp Josepho:
Day Hikes Around Los Angeles
by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books, Inc.)
Afoot & Afield In Los Angeles
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers
Ranger Contact: Will Rogers State Park (310) 454-8212
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 13 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Fred on 10/13/2012
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Reviewed by Chris on 1/7/2012
I, along with a few friends, hiked this trail as one of our first trails after deciding to do trails regularly. We hike to find interesting things. lovely views are amazing, but we hike to find mines, abandoned places, etc. the abandoned Nazi Compound is quite a site when you first see it. the hike has a few great views. the stairs however, going down to the compound (if you decide to take them) are absolutely killer. not sure if the trail goes all the way to the compound or not... maybe the stairs are the only way. going down may suck, but you'll be screaming going back up. most stairs I've ever climbed in my life EVER.
Reviewed by DK on 9/10/2011
Did it with a group - yes, pants and long sleeves a good idea for poison oak and brushing by lots of branches. Also, trail down into Rustic Canyon from the top is VERY eroded, with a lot of ruts. Only experienced hikers should take this downhill. Bees were quiet when we were in the Canyon, but we definitely had to back track a few times to find the trail because of many downed trees and overgrown areas. I doubt I'll hike the Rustic half of it again, though it was pretty. Just really SLOW going- 6 miles in 5 hours, including a relaxing lunch stop.
Reviewed by MT on 7/31/2011
Bring a chain saw.
Reviewed by GH on 6/6/2011
I would avoid this trail from Spring till Sept. Has many ticks and it's possible they carry lyme disease. A ton of poison oak so wear long sleeves and pants. Bring GPS. The trail disappers so just keep following the stream even if it's dry till ya get back to will Rogers park. It's a great hike but very challenging as you have to bushwack, climb, go under fallen trees etc. I love this hike and I really don't like it at the same time. Bring a hiking GPS if you can as it's easy to get lost on this one. Go with a hiking group if possible.
Reviewed by Me on 5/5/2011
Its been a while since the last time I came to Rustic Canyon Trail and its very different. More overgrown. Saw two bees nest. They made a road to the old rusty ruins (There was never a road) Also right next to the waterfall there is a tree house up on top of a tree. Pretty neat. But still a great hike. Very careful with poison oak, Rattle snakes and ticks. Saw all three on a Saturday afternoon. If you get lost. Remember the little creek will always take you to the the trail. The creek will always lead you to the trail.
Reviewed by L A Tanzy on 10/23/2010
This hike was great! Didn't really have a map or GPS, but we found our way pretty well. Didn't find camp Josepho, instead we ran around the old ruins. I guess they are ruins of an old Nazi commune?? Spiders EVERYWHERE, watch your face. If you follow the directions (and the water), you will be fine.
Reviewed by Hollie on 10/22/2010
Great hike with beautiful views! I can't wait to bring my friends back to this trail. However, I DO NOT recommend doing this without a GPS and a map. Even as an experienced hiker I lost the trail (very overgrown) and ended up on the wrong ridge on the way back.I had a very hard time crossing the canyon to the original side that I hiked on. Also, I would never do this hike when the bees are busy - I saw a ton of the plants that they usually hive around and would be scared to death to try to walk the path I did today!
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