Solstice Canyon Hike | Historical Malibu Hiking Destination

Hiking in Los Angeles

Wildflowers Growing in the Tropical Terrace

Solstice Canyon rests 30 miles west of downtown Los Angeles in Malibu. Most of the hike is done within Solstice Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. This hike starts right off Pacific Coast Highway. To get there take P.C.H. west of Malibu Canyon rd. to Corral Canyon Rd. and make a right. On the corner you will see the Rosenthal Winery and a 76 Gas Station. Follow the road for a quarter mile and make a left onto Solstice Canyon Rd. You will see a sign for the park. As you drive in, you will see the facilities and small parking lot. Parking was free when we went, but double check for an iron ranger. The parking situation can be tough on the weekends because the lot is small. Our recommendation is go early. We went around 8:00 am on a Saturday and we were the first car there.

Hiking Solstice Canyon is a must for any day hikers who love the Santa Monica Mountains. It is a wonderful canyon filled with wildlife and good energy. The trail follows a steady running creek for most of the time. The hike can be done in a few ways. The most popular amongst day hikers was taking the TRW Loop Trail to the Rising Sun Trail. The Rising Sun Trail takes the hiker above the canyon floor on the East Ridge. This approach offers ocean and canyon views and empties the hike off at the Roberts House and Tropical Terrace. We did the hike differently and hiked along the creek in the shade towards the tropical terrace. Along the way we stopped first at the remains of the old Keller house. This summer hunting lodge is said to be one of the oldest houses in Malibu. It was destroyed years ago in a fire. You can cross over the creek and explore the ruins. When I did this I walked around back behind the house. There is a small clearing on the back side. I heard some rustling in the tall grass along the hill. I looked up and sure enough a bobcat was chasing the ground squirrels. I stopped dead in my tracks and so did the bobcat. It was an amazing moment. It just shows if you get out there before the crowds how amazing our parks are.

As we traveled down the trail lined with giant oaks and sycamores the canyon rises above us on both sides. This was in early spring so the wild flowers were just starting to come out. Lizards scurried around on the side of the trail. About mile and a half into the hike we reached the highlight of the trail, the ruins of the Roberts family property. This was grand tropical style house with a private waterfall in back. The property actually had a mechanical dam built to control the creeks water and when closed formed a duck pond. The house and its story can be seen here in a facebook group started by the family.

Solstice Canyon (The Roberts Family Ranch).

It’s very enlightening and we are very excited to share this knowledge. This is a great hike because you get to explore. It makes you feel like a kid again. The water fall is also around 30ft tall and it was big when we were there. It is said that if you scramble up the side across the creek there is small family shrine and also more water falls above the big one. We really enjoyed this part of the hike exploring the remains of the old house. Trying to picture the old house on the ruins is really cool.
Most hikers at this point turn back but we wanted to explore a lot more of the canyon. From the entrance of the tropical terrace we headed up the canyon on the Sostomo trail. Along this trail we got to see the remains of more cabins and crossed the creek a couple times on our way all the way up the west ridge of the canyon. The last section climbs the ridge and is by far the toughest part of the hike. If it were over 80 degrees it would be in the butt kicker category. Once you climb out of the canyon and onto the west ridge you can look down into the canyon and see all the hikers and also get a good look at the people who chose the Rising Sun Trail on the opposite ridge. The Sostomo trail is far less used and we were happy to be removed from the crowds. We were told that this is the way to some awesome ocean views. Along the way the path was actually covered in green moss and grass. I have never seen a trail like this in the Santa Monica Mountains. Jack rabbits were running around all over the path. As we came around the corner and the Pacific Ocean opened up to us and all of our hard work paid off. We could see everything. On a very clear day this is a really special place.

This is one of the better hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains because of the history of the canyon. Throughout the decades people have always connected with this canyon. It is a special place and when you come here you will see why. What else can you ask for in a hike? It has running water, waterfalls, ruins, shade, wildflowers, nice trails and ocean views. This is a great half day hike for anyone. You can take your dog and kids without a problem. Solstice Canyon has a place in the hearts of many hikers in the Santa Monica Mountains including us. We here at Hikes You Can Do strive to bring you all the information you need when looking for a hike in the Los Angeles area. We hope this has inspired you to go out and check out Solstice Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area.

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