zuma canyon

This 2.8-mile hike leaves a coastal Malibu neighborhood to explore rustic Zuma Canyon. The sandy single track shoots north through a brushy open space, crossing and following a stony creek bed. Sporadic oaks and sycamores become more concentrated as the mouth of the canyon closes. Enjoy the increasing shade and lush canyon views. The easy trail climbs only 300 feet and has no steep sections.

After 1.4 miles, the canyon narrows and the trail dissolves. A cluster of large boulders fill the creek bed, signifying the end of the Zuma Canyon out-and-back. Adventurous hikers may continue up the untamed canyon for two more miles through the Zuma Canyon Narrows to a crossing with an Edison Service Road. This slow-going route requires serious bolder-hopping and bushwhacking.

There are other short trails in Zuma Canyon that make nice additions. All trail junctions are well marked. Extension options include:

  • The Scenic Trail, which leaves Zuma Canyon Trail for an additional 0.2-mile loop
  • The Zuma Loop Trail, which travels west exploring another 1.5-miles of the valley floor beneath Zuma Ridge
  • The Ocean View Trail and Canyon View Trails Loop, which forms a 3-mile circuit up the east side of the canyon

zuma canyon map The Zuma Canyon Trail is one of the easiest strolls in Malibu, making it popular with joggers, dog walkers, and horseback riders. For more of a challenge, hikers can climb out of the canyon on either the Ocean View Trail or the Zuma Ridge Trail. No fee or permit is required, so get out and enjoy!

To get to the trailhead: Take PCH to Malibu and make a right on Bonsall Drive, one mile west of Kanan Dune Road (If you pass Zuma Beach, you have gone too far). Drive north on Bonsall Drive for one more mile to the dirt parking lot at the end of the road. The trail leaves from the northwest corner of the lot.

Trailhead address: 5875 Bonsall Drive, Malibu, CA 90265
Trailhead coordinates: 34.031492, -118.81214 (34° 01′ 53.37″N 118° 48′ 43.70″W)

Use the map below to create your own directions:


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Photos

Zuma Canyon Trail
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Zuma Canyon Narrows
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These photos were taken in August of 2009. Click to enlarge.

Nearby Trails
zuma ridge trailZuma Ridge Trail
This wide dirt service road which weaves northwest up the back of the ridge west of Zuma Canyon offering access to several trails in the area.
Zuma Canyon NarrowsZuma Canyon Narrows – Zuma Ridge Loop
This off-trail trek crosses the narrow canyon between Zuma Canyon Trail and Edison Road. Hikers may return along the Zuma Ridge Trail to form a challenging 8-mile loop.
zuma ocean view trailOcean View Trail – Canyon View Trail Loop
This 3-mile loop demands more effort than the Zuma Canyon Trail and provides great ocean and canyon views.
Point Dume Natural PreservePoint Dume Natural Preserve
This one-mile hike explores overlooks on a scenic headland jutting into the Pacific at the northeast end of Santa Monica Bay in Malibu.
Charmlee Wilderness ParkCharmlee Wilderness Park
This 3.3-mile loop is one of several possible hike in this bluff-top park with ocean views over Malibu.
Santa Monica MountainsMore trails in the Santa Monica Mountains
Explore other destinations in the range.
Similar Trail
Solstice Canyon hikeSolstice Canyon
This easy and level 2.6-mile out and back hike visits the ruins of a burned down ranch and a small waterfall.
Malibu Creek Grassland TrailGrassland Trail to Crags Road and Rock Pool
This easy 3-mile hike enters Malibu Creek State Park on South Grassland Trail, then forms a loop around Crags Road to visit Rock Pool, a popular park retreat.

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