Archives For National Park Service

Solstice Canyon

January 23, 2012 — 1 Comment

As some of you know, Los Angeles is full of natural wonder, and contrary to popular belief, Angelenos don’t spend all their time in cars or on movie sets. Ok, maybe some of you do, and that is why this is a great opportunity for you to venture out. So if you’re new to LA or just want to explore another hiking trail, visit Solstice Canyon Park in the Santa Monica Mountains.

This is a popular and incredibly picturesque, mostly shaded canyon hike with well-maintained trails, much better then some of the streets in LA. The Park opened on the summer solstice, 1988. The park offers an easy walk alongside a creek in a wide, open canyon. The place is great for an outdoor picnic and a stroll. The wide trail is so level it can be walked in flip-flops, making this one of the most family-friendly hikes in Los Angeles. Don’t forget to pack plenty of water and your favorite snacks.

The big attraction on the hike is a small waterfall next to some interesting ruins. This is a great place to spend some time exploring before returning down the trail. Also a good place to snap a new profile picture.

The trail ends at the ruins of Roberts Ranch House. Designed by architect Paul Williams and built in 1952, the brick structures found harmony with nature by incorporating the creek, waterfall, and landscape into their design. The house must have been a relaxing retreat, until it was burned down by wildfires in 1982. The remaining foundations are now protected by the National Park Service. You can also see ruins of The Keller House which was built in 1865 and is said to be the oldest house in Malibu, but was destroyed in the corral fire of 2007.

Another Solstice Canyon structure of note is a really strange one. It resembles a kind of futuristic farm house that looks like something out of the movie Jurassic Park. From 1961 to 1973, Space Tech Labs, used the building to conduct tests to determine the magnetic sensitivity of satellite instrumentation. Who knew Los Angeles has it’s own Area 51. The building is now headquarters for the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy.

There are a handful of other trails in the park. Canyon Trail is the main drag, and easy to follow. Good for beginners and those with a hangover. Those looking for more of a challenge should try the Deer Valley Loop off Sostomo Trail. The 3.9 miles of rolling trails offer occasional ocean views and plenty of good exercise.

Florence Roberts, expressed her feelings about Solstice Canyon in a poem.

Leave behind your worries and cares,

And climb with us these 13 stairs.

Our bubbling brook, our waterfall,

Here we relax and enjoy it all.

I believe this poem sums it up, so put this hidden gem on you’re ‘to do’ list and tell your friends and family.

For more information, watch this video on Solstice Canyon:

WHAT: Solstice Canyon
WHEN: Daily from 8:00 a.m. to dusk
WHERE: 3999 Solstice Canyon Rd | Malibu, CA 90265

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