Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Trancas Zuma Canyon

After the other weekend's marathon hike, I decided to throttle it back a bit and go on a more genteel hike. After a bit of an Internet search, I came across this very pleasant hike in Malibu.

There are two trailheads but with one of them knocked out of commission due to the Saturday rains, I chose the Busch Trailhead.

As you wind your way through mansion-ed hillside, you eventually come to the trailhead which looks nice and flat.

That changes a bit as you make your way about .60 miles down into the canyons. What was mind blowing about this trail was that this trail (along with most of the trails in the canyon area) is HEAVILY used by horses

So much so that the trail is a good 6-8 inches below the sides of the trail. Stick to the sides!

As you make your way down to the canyon floor, the ground gets really flat and gives you beautiful shots of the mountains and floral and fauna.

Eventually you come to a trail junction with many loop trails for you to explore. I love loop trails because eventually you get back to the starting point (well, you HOPE you do) but its a different trail, different environment. Out and back trails aren't high on my list.

If you tack about .10 miles to the North you come to the Ocean View loop which I suggest you take (especially those wanting a bit of a workout on this hike).

Now this trail sets out on a nice little incline but as you start making your way up, up, up the hills, it gets pretty taxing. There is loose rock

and these damn floods control bands everywhere.

Still, when you get up there, the views of the Pacific remind you of this great coastal state we live in. Chanel Islands and mountain pics anyone?

Eventually you make it to the ridgeline when the trail turns into the Canyon View Trail. Oddly, the ocean views are better on this part of the trail and the canyon views not so much. How about naming it Ocean View Trail (inthecanyons)? Some great nature shots as well.

One bad part about going down this trail is that you are in horse central again which makes going downhill more like hopping from one flat place of the trail to the next. Really, I have never been on trails so chewed up due to Ed. It makes hiking a very different experience given the state of the trails.

Eventually you get back down into the canyon floor and I started heading on the Zuma Loop Trail. Just a little ways up, I found the Zuma Canyon Trail (not very creative naming the trails, granted...) and was intrigued by this sign.

Trail ends (no exit!?!), take me to where the trail ends!

I think sometimes when you are on the trail, you get caught up in where you are going. When am I going to make the summit? Where does this trail intersect with this other one? How are my MPH? There is something being on a trail that ends that puts all of that out of your mind. The trail is straight, it ends, so you end up just enjoying the trek.

And enjoy it I did. You go through a flat, wooded trail with beautiful views of the canyons all around you.

After only about .70 a mile, you come to the end, and what does the end look like? THIS

I spent about 10 minutes just chilling out and enjoying a Fall-like view like this.

I then backtracked and kept going on the Zuma Loop Trail. You wind your way West

and up

but nothing too bad. There are a few spurs off the trail which if you are looking for a workout, I highly suggest taking. The mileage on any given loop isn't bad, if you do them all, it really adds up and starts kicking your butt.

I set out to do about 5 miles given the 14 mile death march I went on the other weekend. However, on this one, I ended up doing 8 with all the side trails and was glad I did (although my calves, not so much).

Overall, there is a lot to be said for this little jaunt in the SM Mountains. It is a definite recommend if you want to be reminded again of the great dichotomy between ocean and mountain here in SoCal.

If you want more info on the canyons and a trail map, check it out here!: http://www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/loader.cfm?csModule=security/getfile&PageID=376841


  1. I'm looking for a hike to do this coming weekend, and after reading this, I may go here. Thanks!

  2. Danny did you end up doing this one? If so, hoped you liked it!


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