Saddle Peak Hike Malibu Ocean View Trail

At a saddle in the Santa Monica Mountains 2,375 feet above the Pacific Ocean and three miles from the coast, the Backbone Trail crosses Stunt Road, creating a high trailhead for nearby destinations like Saddle Peak. The 2-mile round trip hike to the summit climbs just 450 feet but offers fantastic views of Malibu and the Santa Monica Mountains.

Gazania Wildflower Hike Malibu
A spring bloom of gazanias (invasive) along the Backbone Trail

Pick up the Backbone Trail and go west up the center of the V formed by the intersection of Stunt Road and Schueren Road. If you walk a short way down Stunt Road (descending 25 feet), you’ll find a sign for the Stunt Peak Trail marking another start to the Backbone Trail to Saddle Peak. These two routes quickly merge.

After a short distance, the Backbone Trail crosses a section of pavement to the left of a large municipal water tank. Beyond, the trail becomes a single track, which gradually ascends the east side of Saddle Peak.

Just 0.7 miles from the start, turn left at a junction with a trail heading to the summit. Straight ahead the Backbone Trail continues down to Piuma Road (and farther to Malibu Canyon Road). Hikers can take this section of the Backbone Trail to reach Saddle Peak from Stunt High Trail.

Saddle Peak Backbone Trail
Looking back down the Backbone Trail

A short distance from the junction, make another left, heading up to the 2,805-foot summit. Straight ahead, a lower overlook along Saddle Peak Road faces south and offers great views over Malibu.

Saddle Peak is the sixth tallest point in the range and presents and broad perspective east toward Santa Monica Bay. Enjoy the panoramas and return the way your came. Dogs and bikes are not allowed on this trail. No fee or permit is required to hike to Saddle Peak, so get out enjoy!

Saddle Peak Malibu
Looking southwest from the lower lookout

To get to the trailhead: From PCH, turn inland on Las Flores Road (across from Duke’s Restaurant). Drive 3.4 miles up this narrow twisting canyon and turn right onto Rambla Pacifico Street. After 0.6 miles, make a sharp right onto Schueren Rd. and take that for 1.8 miles to the intersection with Stunt Road. Turn left and park along the side of the road. The trailhead for Topanga Lookout is across from the trailhead for Saddle Peak so there will be likely be a few vehicles parked here.

From the 101 Freeway, exit Las Virgenes Road and head south toward Malibu. After 2.8 miles turn left (east) on Mulholland Highway. Turn right on Stunt Road after 4 miles, and drive another 4 miles to the top of the road at the intersection with Schueren Road.

Trailhead address: Stunt Road & Schueren Road, Malibu, CA 90265
Trailhead coordinates: 34.08081, -118.6472 (34° 04′ 50.9″N 118° 38′ 49.9″W)

Elevation Profile
Click or hover over any spot on this elevation profile to see the distance from the start and elevation above sea level at that location, which will be highlighted on the map.
Trail Map

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These photos were taken in March of 2010 and April of 2013. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails


Topanga Lookout Malibu hike Topanga Lookout
This 2-mile visits the site of an old fire tower that still offers great views of the surrounding mountains.
Saddle Peak Trail Stunt High Trail to Saddle Peak
This 7.5-mile hike combines Stunt High Trail and a section of the Backbone Trail to visit the 6th tallest summit in the Santa Monica Mountains.
Calabasas Peak Calabasas Peak from Stunt Road
This 3.6-mile hike on Calabasas Peak Motorway approaches Calabasas Peak from the south, ascending through sandstone formations to panoramic views of the Santa Monica Mountains and San Fernando Valley.
Calabasas Peak Motorway Hike Calabasas Peak from Old Topanga Canyon Road
This 4.2-mile hike on Calabasas Peak Motorway approaches Calabasas Peak from the northeast, providing big views over Topanga and other parts of the Santa Monica Mountains.
Calabasas - Cold Creek Trail Calabasas Peak via Calabasas - Cold Creek Trail
This 4.5-mile round trip hike starts up a scenic single track formerly know as the Secret Trail and ascends 750 feet to the summit of Calabasas Peak.
Red Rock Canyon Trail Red Rock Canyon Park
The trails in the beautifully sculpted Red Rock Canyon are 2.5 and 5.2 miles in length.
Hondo Canyon hike Hondo Canyon
This section of the Backbone Trail crosses fields of grains and forests of bays, climbing 1,550 feet over 3.8 miles to a small ocean view. Extend the hike to Topanga Lookout for an incredible perspective over the Santa Monica Mountains.
Tuna Canyon Park Tuna Canyon Park
This 1.6 to 5.1-mile hike offers spectacular ocean views from a less-visited park between Topanga and Malibu.
Santa Monica Trail More trails in the Santa Monica Mountains
Explore other destinations in the range.
Similar Trail
Temescal Canyon Trail Temescal Canyon
This 2.6-mile loop offers a variety of scenery and decent exercise, despite its relative brevity.
Zuma Canyon Trail Ocean View Trail - Canyon View Trail Loop
This 3.1-mile loop demands more effort than Zuma Canyon Trail and provides great ocean and canyon views.
Grotto Trail The Grotto
This 3-mile out and back hike visits a remote grotto in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
San Vicente Mountain Westridge Trail to San Vicente Mountain
This 7.4-mile hike travels a scenic ridge between a Brentwood neighborhood and a summit that was once used as a Nike Missile site.
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Tagged with · Backbone Trail · Free Trails · Malibu · Ocean Views · Summits · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 2 miles · Elevation change: 450 feet

3 Comments on Saddle Peak in the Santa Monica Mountains

  1. […] Trailhead: Stunt Road & Schueren Road, Malibu, CA. Hikespeak, a website dedicated to helping hikers find their way down trails, offers detailed directions. […]

  2. […] More information: trip description here […]

  3. mike h wrote:

    The eastern summit used to be part of Nike Missile Site LA78, it had an antenna tower similar to the one at San Vicente Mtn Park. There is nothing left now but a flat top mountain. Was up in the clouds Sunday 6/30, did not get the usual spectacular view of the bay and Catalina, perfect day for hike if a bit chilly.

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