ABOUT THE BACKBONE TRAIL
The Backbone Trail is one of Southern California’s best-kept secrets that provides an easy escape from the urban jungle to surprisingly wild places. The 69-mile trail follows the spine of the Santa Monica Mountains from Los Angeles to Point Mugu in Ventura County and offers an incredible diversity of landscapes. Rolling meadows and deep-wooded canyons of the east transition to rocky outcrops and dramatic volcanic cliffs of the west. With panoramas of the glistening ocean to views of endless ridges disappearing into the horizon, the Backbone Trail is a truly unique Southern California experience.
A National Recreation Trail
This National Recreation Trail traverses through a Mediterranean-type ecosystem that is only found in four other places in the world, including Central Chile, Southern Africa, Southwestern Australia, and the Mediterranean itself. In contrast to most other mountain ranges in North America, which run roughly north to south, the Santa Monica Mountain Range has a distinctive east - west orientation, making the Backbone a rare gem amongst long-distance trails. Another distinguishing factor is that Los Angeles, the second largest metropolitan area in the United States, is the only city in the world that is divided by a mountain range and one of a few cities that has such a large expanse of open land readily accessible to so many millions of people.
Half a Century of Perseverance
The vision for creating a continuous ridgeline trail through the Santa Monica Mountains took nearly 50 years of hard work and perseverance to become a reality. This cooperative effort involved more than 70 government agencies and decades of dedication from volunteers, activists, and conservation groups to patiently connect the patchwork of public parklands. This shared vision among local, state, and federal partners also inspired the creation of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area - through which the Backbone Trail now runs - and is the largest urban national park in the world.
BACKBONE TRAIL MAP
MULTIPLE UNIQUE TRAIL SECTIONS TO CHOOSE FROM
LEARN ABOUT EACH SECTION BY CLICKING THE BUTTONS IN THE LEGEND ABOVE
Explore This Incredible Gem
With the Backbone Trail’s official completion in 2016, this diverse footpath is still relatively unknown with limited camping opportunities, thus making it difficult to complete a full thru-hike from end to end on a multi-day adventure. To open up this experience to more people, Trail Magic Adventures has teamed up with organizations to secure campsites within the Santa Monica Mountains for an unbroken trail experience. We have divided up the 69-mile trek into Five Sections, which anyone with a spirit of adventure and a bit of grit can complete. These Sections can also be customized into Day Hikes or modified to longer or shorter overnight experiences. Thru-Hiking is also available for those who wish to complete the entire trail in one go from one end to another. Whether you’re a trekking champ or a hiking novice, if you want to have an experience filled with comradery, growth, and fun, we encourage you to join Trail Magic Adventures in exploring this incredible gem.