Backbone Trail (BBT)

Mesa Peak Motorway (Backbone Trail)
  • Visit our Maps and Information page to learn about the different trail sections.
  • Learn more by visiting our FAQ's page.
  • You can also download the GPS coordinates to create your own BBT hike.
  • Interested in Hiking the Backbone Trail next year?
    Signups for the NPS led 8 day (2 Saturdays a month, Jan thru April) hike of the Backbone Trail are accepted from October 25-31. The Backbone Trail Application is needed to be eligible for the hiker lottery held the first week of November.

About the Backbone Trail

You will see how many public and private agencies, organizations and individuals have joined together to create Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area in general and the Backbone Trail which has been designated as a National Recreation Trail.

As individuals you can help support the park in many ways. You can share your knowledge by telling others about the parks and events. You can increase your knowledge by attending programs and lectures listed in our calendar. You can contribute your time by becoming a State or National Park Service volunteer. You can help maintain the Backbone Trail and other trails by volunteering for trail projects with various partner organizations.

Download the Backbone Trail Map and Brochure
Download the Backbone Trail Map and Brochure (PDF)


As hikers on this trail you will enjoy the Mediterranean ecosystem, found only in five places in the world, experiencing its many unique plant and animal communities. By being able to escape from city life, you enjoy the health benefits of hiking and learning a lot about our own unique area. You will also learn some history of the area through the trail as you travel through Coastal Sage Scrub, Chaparral, Oak Woodlands, Meadows, and Streamside areas.

If you have read through the Backbone Trail (BBT) information and still have questions, contact us.

BBT Infographic 6 (1)
BBT Infographic 6

Download the handout.

Full text displayed on the infographic here:

Welcome to the Backbone Trail!
Look west from Los Angeles you’ll see not just the Santa Monica Mountains, but also the gateway to one of America’s premier long-distance trails. Stretching 67 miles, the Backbone Trail invites nearby residents to explore surprisingly accessible nature.

What can I do?
Of the trail’s 67 miles: Hikers can access all 67, Mountain bikers 43, Equestrians 67
Other activities: Rock climbing, Birding, Picnicking, Photography Trail running

Why Should I Visit?
The Backbone crosses the best-protected stretch of coastal Mediterranean habitat in the world and offers an amazing diversity of trail experiences. You’ll experience deep wooded canyons, rocky outcrop spires, ocean vistas that include the Channel islands, and sweeping inland views to the San Gabriel Mountains and downtown LA.

Dogs are welcomed on National Park Service trails, as long as they are leashed and under control.

There are only a few campgrounds on and near the Background Trail. We recommend day hiking in section rather than attempting a multi-day backpacking trip.

What will I see?
Plants: Coastal sage scrub, chaparral, riparian woodlands, freshwater marshes, oak woodlands, and oak savannas
Wildlife: Coyote, mule deer, red-tailed hawks, turkey vulture, California quail, California towhee, scrub jays, western fence lizards, Pacific rattlesnakes, and king snakes

Where should I go?
Ocean Views: Ray Miller Trail at Point Mugu State Park
Summit Ascent: Sandstone Peak at Circle X Ranch
Awesome Rock Formations: Castro Crest at Malibu Creek, State Park and Upper Solstice Canyon
Hollywood History and Easy Access: Inspiration Point at Will Rogers State Historic Park

For more information, visit:

Last updated: June 19, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

26876 Mulholland Highway
Calabasas, CA 91302


(805) 370-2301

Contact Us