Complete with fascinating ruins, picturesque views of the Pacific Ocean, and a perennial waterfall, Solstice Canyon has something for everyone. Explore easy, moderate, or strenuous options in the Santa Monica Mountains. Create a perfectly diverse hiking loop by combining the Solstice Canyon Trail and Rising Sun Trail (map).
Most of the Solstice Canyon Trail is a service road that runs parallel to the stream. It’s an easy walk that passes by the Keller House ruins, the oldest stone building in Malibu, before ending at the Tropical Terrace ruins. In the 1960s, the mansion home was designed by the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects, Paul Revere Williams. Don’t miss the nearby waterfall.
For a moderate challenge, return to the parking lot via the Rising Sun Trail. It’s a climb that rewards you with wide ocean views and a light workout. Around sunset, the valley shines gold while the Pacific shimmers in the distance.
Have you ever gone on a sweltering midday hike, only to realize that there’s absolutely no shade (unless you’re willing to crawl under a shrub)? Well, I’ve been burned that way more times than I’d like.
Thankfully, the well-maintained paths at Solstice Canyon offer frequent shade from a blazing afternoon sun. Comfortably explore the dusty spur trails and creek crossings without breaking a sweat.
There are so many scenic hike options in the L.A. area; you can’t go wrong. However, many trails start from residential areas, and parking can be a challenge. It’s a joy to discover a trail with designated parking. At Solstice Canyon, you’ll find not just one but two free parking lots.
Also, there are plenty of picnic tables, restrooms, and trash bins available for public use. The National Park Service stocks maps at the entrance, though you might not even need it; the trail signage is well-placed throughout and easy to follow.