Hike to Upper Zuma Falls in the Santa Monica Mountains
Upper Zuma Falls in the Santa Monica Mountains is lesser-known trail that leads to a waterfall that is approximately 120ft tall. In this blog post, I'll take you on a photo tour through the wonders of hiking to Upper Zuma, showcasing why it's a must-visit destination for both visitor’s and locals of Los Angeles.
Trailhead location: Backbone Trail Access at Kanan, Backbone Trail, Malibu, CA 90265
6.1 mile out and back trail
Elevation change: 948ft
Free entry, Free parking in parking lot
Bathrooms at trailhead
Leashed dogs are allowed on this trail
Note: Wear hiking shoes with good traction, Keen (Amazon) is one of my faves
Begin at the trailhead located off Kanan Dume Road. As you step onto the path, you're immediately met by the refreshing scent of sagebrush and the gentle rustling of leaves overhead. The trailhead provides ample parking, and the well-marked route ensures you won't lose your way as you traverse the diverse terrain. We went on this hike in April 2023 when it was really green from all the rain.
One of the highlights of hiking Upper Zuma Falls is the breathtaking scenery. The trail winds through chaparral-covered hills, offering panoramic views of the Santa Monica Mountains and, on clear days, even a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean in the distance.
Nature enthusiasts will appreciate the abundant wildlife that calls the Santa Monica Mountains home. Keep your eyes peeled for hawks soaring overhead, lizards basking in the sun, and the occasional deer grazing in the meadows.
The best part of the Upper Zuma Falls trail is, of course, the waterfall itself. At the end of the trail, you're rewarded with a cascading waterfall surrounded by lush greenery. Take a moment to soak in the serenity and perhaps enjoy a well-deserved snack while sitting on the rocks near the falls.
Pack Essentials: Don't forget to bring essentials such as water, sunscreen, and a hat, especially on warm days. A sturdy pair of hiking shoes is a must for navigating the varying terrain.
Timing is Key: Consider starting your hike early in the morning to avoid the midday heat and catch the soft morning light filtering through the trees.
Leave No Trace: Respect the natural environment by following the Leave No Trace principles. Stay on designated trails, carry out your trash, and minimize your impact on the ecosystem.
Check Trail Conditions: Before heading out, check for any trail updates or closures. Conditions can change, so it's always good to be prepared.
Know any other great hikes in the area, please leave them in the comments below.