Malibu's Backbone Trail stretches with promise and possibility. Spanning from Will Rogers State Park to Point Mugu State Park, this scenic route offers mountain bikers a unique adventure. However, it's essential to note that large portions of this trail are not accessible for mountain bikes. This review shines a light on some bike-legal segments worth exploring.
Getting to Know the Trail
- Distance: 65 mi
- Level: Very Easy
- Route type: Out & Back
- City: Malibu
- State: California
Notable Trail Features
- Scenic Vistas: Unbeatable panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean await as riders descend from Topanga Canyon.
- Varied Terrain: The trail offers a blend of semi-challenging climbs, flowy sections, rock gardens, and shaded canyons. Expect some sections to be overgrown, but these usually open up further down the trail.
- Safety Measures: For challenging segments, such as steep and narrow rocky paths, railings are present to ensure the safety of riders.
- Trail Amenities: There are sections well-suited for both beginners and intermediate riders. It's mostly non-technical, with the main challenge being the moderate climbs.
Personal Takes from Cyclists
Several riders shared their personal experiences:
- "Backbone offers fantastic views, hard to believe that one's right in the midst of one of the densest population areas in California."
- "While there's great scenery, parts of the trail can be very overgrown. However, some sections are better maintained than others."
- "For those visiting from out of town, consider renting from Topanga Creek Bicycles. They offer helpful maps and insights into the trail."
- "A word of caution: The trail system isn't marked well for mountain bikers, especially at Will Rogers State Park."
- "Though a great cardio trail with some technical areas, some riders wished for more single tracks."
- "Despite the occasional overgrown area, the trail remains a must-do experience in SoCal."
Tips and Recommendations
- Biking Etiquette: As a shared trail, bikers are advised to slow down for hikers and be on the lookout for horses.
- Parking: Most riders opt to park at Will Rogers State Park, starting their ascent from there. However, for an added adventure, consider the route from Topanga Creek bike shop to Will Rogers. It totals about 25 miles with a 4200 ft vertical gain.
- Mapping Out: For first-timers, stopping by Topanga Creek Bicycles for a detailed map is highly recommended. Their staff, especially the owner Chris, is knowledgeable and more than willing to guide riders.
The Backbone Trail in Malibu offers a unique biking experience with its scenic views, diverse terrains, and the promise of an unforgettable adventure. Whether a beginner or a seasoned rider, this trail promises an experience that many would want to revisit.