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5 Of The Best Hiking Spots in LA with Beautiful Rock Formations

L.A.'s Best Hikes with Rock Formations

#1 Backbone Trail, Santa Monica Mountains Malibu, Los Angeles County, California.

Backbone Trail, Santa Monica Mountains
Backbone Trail, Santa Monica Mountains, LA County, California
Backbone Trail, Santa Monica Mountains in Southern California

Santa Monica Mountains Backbone Trail is a 67 mile lightly trafficked trail across the length of the Santa Monica Mountains, from Will Rogers State Historic Park in the Pacific Palisades to Point Mugu State Park, located near Malibu, California. The trail spans across ridgelines and canyons across the “backbone” of the Santa Monica Mountains. The Backbone crosses the best-protected stretch of coastal Mediterranean habitat in the world where you may enjoy deeply wooded canyons, rocky outcrop spires, and ocean vistas.

Explore cinematic history in the Santa Monica Mountains. The former 20th Century Fox Ranch (now Malibu Creek State Park) was home to Oscar winning epic dramas “How Green Was My Valley” and science fiction classics like the original “Planet of the Apes.” And popular television programs “Daniel Boone”, “The Rifleman” and the legendary “M*A*S*H.” List of movies filmed near the Santa Monica Mountains.


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The Best Hikes with Rock Formations in Los Angeles

#2 Vasquez Rocks Trail, Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park Agua Dulce, Los Angeles County, California.

El Porto, Manhattan Beach, California
El Porto, Manhattan Beach, LA County, California
El Porto, near Manhattan Beach in Southern California

With prehistoric rock structures that date back 25 million years, Vasquez Rocks Natural Area Park is a 932-acre county park just off the Antelope Valley Freeway located within the Sierra Pelona Mountains in northern Los Angeles County, California. This 3.7 mile heavily trafficked loop trail through Vasquez Rocks Natural Area near Santa Clarita highlights some of the fascinating earthquake geology of the area.

This scenic park with prehistoric rock formations has been the backdrop for many movies & TV shows. Vasquez Rocks stood in as the home of Vulcans and the Flinstones in popular culture and were featured in movies such as Dracula 1931, Blazing Saddles 1974, and Little Miss Sunshine 2006. Dozens of classic TV shows have been filmed at Vasquez Rocks, including Bonanza, The Rifleman, Kung Fu, Mission: Impossible, and The Twilight Zone. List of movies filmed at Vasquez Rocks.


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The Best Hikes with Rock Formations in Los Angeles

#3 The Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak, Santa Monica Mountains Thousand Oaks, Los Angeles County, California.

Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak, Santa Monica Mountains California
Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, Thousand Oaks, California
Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak, Santa Monica Mountains in Southern California

Sandstone Peak and the Mishe Mokwa Trail is referred to as the "must-hike" trail in Southern California. The Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak, also known as Mount Allen, will take you to the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, Sandstone Peak at 3111 feet, while you enjoy incredible views of the Pacific Ocean and the Santa Monica Bay. Sandstone Peak was created by ancient volcanic eruptions and once stood at 10,000 feet above sea level. After 10 million years of erosion, Sandstone Peak still offers interesting geological formations, including Split Rock and Balancing Rock, accessible via an unmanned trail off of the Mishe Mokwa Trail.

Explore cinematic history in the Santa Monica Mountains. The former 20th Century Fox Ranch (now Malibu Creek State Park) was home to Oscar winning epic dramas “How Green Was My Valley” and science fiction classics like the original “Planet of the Apes.” And popular television programs “Daniel Boone”, “The Rifleman” and the legendary “M*A*S*H.” List of movies filmed near the Santa Monica Mountains.


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The Best Hikes with Rock Formations in Los Angeles

#4 Eagle Springs Loop Trail, Topanga State Park Topanga, Los Angeles, California.

Pacific Ocean Park, Santa Monica, California
Ocean Park, Santa Monica, California
Ocean Park, Santa Monica Beach in Southern California

Trippet Ranch to Eagle Springs Loop Trail is a 6.1 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Topanga, California. Eagle Rock is a large monolith and consists of a massive granite boulder on which you see the imprint of what looks like an eagle in full flight. Some say it reminds them of Pride Rock from Disney’s The Lion King. Eagle Rock is a unique formation that provides an amazing panoramic view of Santa Monica and is a popular destination for hikers, trail runners, and mountain bikers.

If you would like to perform commercial, student filming, or photography beyond point and shoot at the park, you need to contact the State Park film permit coordinator office at 818-880-0358. See list of movies filmed at nearby Topanga Canyon.


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The Best Hikes with Rock Formations in Los Angeles

#5 Calabasas Peak Trail via Red Rock Canyon Park Topanga, Los Angeles, California.

Calabasas Peak Trail via Red Rock Canyon Park
Calabasas Peak Trail via Red Rock Canyon Park, California
Calabasas Peak Trail via Red Rock Canyon Park in Southern California

Calabasas Peak Trail is a 4.2-mile round trip hike with 900 feet of elevation change that travels an easy-to-follow fire road and passes below the summit of Calabasas Peak, a mountain located in the Santa Monica Mountains in the city of Calabasas. Along the fire road, there is an abundance of geological formations that have been eroded into unusual shapes worth looking out for, as well as a diverse variety of shrubs and trees.

Located in Agoura Hills, California near Malibu Creek State Park, Paramount Ranch served as a Hollywood filming location and outdoor studio for Paramount Pictures. HBO’s Westworld has filmed at Paramount Ranch. List of movies filmed near the Santa Monica Mountains.


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The Best Hikes with Rock Formations in Los Angeles
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