What’s not to love about Malibu?! It's so close to the city but yet feels so far away... especially when you're out hiking in the Santa Monica Mountains.
This gorgeous hiking trail is one of the best in the greater Los Angeles area and a perfect way to spend the weekend. Especially in the summer months because you can take a dip in the refreshing waterfall at the end of the trail.
DISTANCE: 2.6 miles (return)
TIME: 1 Hour
ELEVATION GAIN: 300 feet
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Easy
BEST TIME TO HIKE: All year
WATCH VIDEO: Solstice Canyon Trail
Hiking Solstice Canyon
The Solstice Canyon Trail is an easy 2.4 miles round trip along a paved path that leads to several ruins and ends at Tropical Terrace beside a 30 foot waterfall. You may take a dip in the small refreshing rock pool under the waterfall if you feel inclined to do so. This trail is so easy that you could do it in flip flops!
Along the trail you will encounter ruins from the historical Roberts Ranch House which includes several walls and fireplace structures. The ruins are surrounded by tall palm tree’s; hence the name Tropical Terrace. The ruins are protected by the national park service but sadly some of the walls have been vandalized with graffiti. Most of the trail is shaded by Sycamore, Oak and Alder tree’s and in the Spring bright yellow flowers bloom among the chaparral.
If you want to get a bit more of a work out, then head back along the paved trail the way you came but take a left turn on the Rising Sun Trail. At first it will seem as though you are going in the opposite direction of the parking lot but the trail winds up the back of a mountain first before heading towards the ocean again. You need to hike up quite a few steep rocky steps to get to the top but the view is definitely worth the effort.
Of course you can do this hike in reverse but doing it this way allows you to enjoy the ocean views because you are always walking towards it. In addition, on a hot summer day it helps to cool off in the rock pool before continuing on your hike. That way you will be dry by the time you get back to your car!
Above: Here is a picture of the waterfall at the end of the trail. As you can see, the pool is small but can fit about four people. We were a little skeptical about there being a waterfall flowing early summer in Southern California but... there it was. The water was surprisingly very cold!
More photo’s from the trail
History of the Roberts Ranch House
The Roberts Ranch House was built in 1952 and designed by architect Paul Williams for Fred Roberts and his wife Florence. Concerned about the area's high fire risk, Fred insisted that the architect include an elaborate fire protection system for the home. Williams' carefully thought out a system of pumps, pipes, and water collecting pools that would only put off the inevitable. The house was totally destroyed in 1982 by wildfires that frequently happen in this area. Roberts who died in 1976 did not see his dream home come into fruition.
Getting to Solstice Canyon
To get to Solstice Canyon from Los Angeles, take the Pacific Coast Highway northbound and take a right when you get to Corral Canyon Road (there is a gas station on the corner). It is less than a half mile to the trail head parking lot. The parking lot is big however on weekends it still fills up very quickly in the morning. There are restrooms and picnic area's near the start of the trail.