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Best Hikes with Rock Formations near Los Angeles

Backbone Trail, Santa Monica Mountains

Backbone Trail Loop

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Updated on Jul 16 2024 5:16am

The Backbone Trail is one of Southern California’s best-kept secrets and one of America’s premier long-distance trails. 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. As hikers on this trail, you will enjoy the Mediterranean ecosystem, found only in five places in the world.

This National Recreation Trail passes over impressive ridges, reaching its highest point at Sandstone Peak (which, at 3,111 ft, is the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains), and traverses through chaparral hillsides, canyons, and oak woodlands. Rolling meadows and deep-wooded canyons of the east transition to rocky outcrops and dramatic volcanic cliffs of the west. Other activities include Rock climbing, Birding, Picnicking, Photography Trail running.

In development for decades through the efforts of many public and private agencies and organizations, the Backbone Trail was officially completed in 2016 and designated a National Recreation Trail. 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.

Backbone Trail Loop

Santa Monica Mountains Backbone Trail

Backbone Trail

All Trails Full Map

National Park Service

Download the Backbone Trail Map and Brochure

12 trailheads

Total Length of Trail: 67 Miles

Sandstone Peak, 3,111 feet above sea level

Ray Miller Trailhead, 25 feet above sea level

Santa Monica Mountains Sunset by Drone - Ramy Photography

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