Summary: This is a stunning adventure hike with swimming holes, rocky cascades, wonderful geologic formations and car-size boulders to negotiate around. This hike is at it loveliest after it rains, although also at its most challenging.
The route follows the wooded flood plain near the coast, up through lower Zuma Canyon, bushwacking through the narrows, past the Edison fire road, eventually hitting a junction with Newton Canyon. The final half mile of the hike includes 3 seasonal waterfalls including the 40 ft Newton Falls and the lovely lower Zuma Falls (up a short side trail). For detailed directions go to Chris Brennens Adventure Hike web site.
You must have excellent outdoor skills and carry the 10 essentials to safely complete this hike. Afoot & Afield shows an alternate loop hike that doubles back to the parking area via the Edison fire road and Zuma Ridge Trail.
Trailhead: From the Ventura Freeway (101) in Agoura, take Kanan-Dume Road towards the beach for about 8 miles. With two cars leave one car at the Backbone trailhead parking area between the second and third tunnels (Newton Canyon). Take Kanan-Dume Road 4.1 miles south to Pacific Coast Highway, turn right and drive 0.8 miles, turn right on Bonsall Drive and 1mile to where the road ends in a broad, dirt parking area. This is Zuma Canyon trailhead. Park the second car here. (Lat:34.07631 Lon:-118.81524)
Trail Guides for Zuma Canyon to Newton Falls:
Afoot and Afield in Los Angeles
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring, Winter,
User Groups: Hikers,
Ranger Contact: Santa Monica Recreation Area - (805) 370- 2301
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Eric Altizer, who has posted 13 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Samantha on 12/6/2012
My Hiking friend and I had a blast yesterday on our "Muddy" adventures :-) the trail was so green & lush with our recent rains, it looked so different. It was a beautiful day out there :-)
Reviewed by Samantha on 9/16/2012
Very nice Hike this past week. It was a nice morning, coastal fog, the views were beautiful from the Ocean View trail, my Hiking partner & I really enjoyed this, we ran down all the way!! We went up and around here & there checking it out, first time for us both. Its where we're headed tomorrow :-)
Reviewed by gabe on 5/14/2012
Amazing hike, one of the most gorgeous in the county by far. The greenery is stunning right now, but come with long sleeves, pants, hat, and maybe even gloves for spots where the poison oak gets thick. Carried a stick to minimize the number of spider webs I ran into. Rock formations, boulders with fossils, clear pools, never ending waterfalls, frogs, lizards and an occasional snake. Took the "trail" following the water to Edison road (just when you think you'll never find it, past the overhead powerlines, the road finally appears), lugged up that road, then returned via the ridge trail. If you leave a second car or bikes at the top, its half the distance, less elevation, and much less time to just keep going up the canyon to Newton Falls
Reviewed by Matti on 5/24/2011
Did the canyon up to the Edison fireroad and looped back via the Kanan Fireroad/Ocean View trail. Got a late start, fairly straight-forward until the creek bends and you have to hug a rock wall to continue without a trail. Then there's moderate scrambling over a very active stream, poison oak galore, for quite a while. After passing through the Narrows (which are awesome, btw) the creek bends sharply and the REAL fun begins. Scrambling over huge boulders and the poison oaks never lets up, unavoidable in some parts. Climbing the fireroad was tiring and the Zuma Connector is horribly overgrown, ticks galore. Awesome hike, would do out-and-back next time.
Reviewed by local boy on 7/28/2010
beware the poison oak! depending on the season, you may need to do some bushwacking and poison oak is in the mix.
Reviewed by Ryan on 3/26/2010
Went last week and I agree with the other reviewers' assessments of the hike time. It's a tricky hike. Difficult in some places and very tiring for only being 4 miles long. In my case, I loved how difficult it was - I've never been a big fan of trail hiking and this trip certainly didn't have the feel of a trail walk. The ticks were very active, as was the poison oak. There were a couple places where you didn't seem to have much of a choice about the poison oak, so bringing some Technu or other poison oak scrub is probably a good idea. I wore sleeves and long pants and still ended up with it pretty bad. This is now second to Boney Mtn's "Climbing Route" on my list of favorite local hikes.
Reviewed by Squall on 10/23/2009
Nice Place. I would go after a bunch of rain. even when its dry its still Neat.
Reviewed by 100Robert10 on 10/21/2009
A hint from the Malibu Search and Rescue Team: Zuma Canyon can be hiked in four hours. I've done it. But six hours is a more realistic plan and is more typical of the hikers who visit the canyon. Heed the word where it says the route is through wilderness. There are no maintained trails. So, give yourself plenty of daylight for this hike. MSAR
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