Mileage: 10 miles
Total Elevation gain: 2,450 ft
This is an out & back on the a section of the beautiful Backbone Trail. The trailhead is 1/4 mile up the intersection of Old Topanga Canyon Rd. Start down the single track leading from the southwest side of the road, there is a sign which reads “Backbone trail”. Immediately the trail crosses over a shallow creek, then it climbs up a grass field. The trail remains easy to follow as it approaches Hondo Canyon, crossing a rocky perch with a nice view up and down the canyon. From there, the track climbs the east bank of the canyon, staying high above the small creek below. The trail switches through a dense forest made up largely of California bays. In the spring, flower seekers will find intermittent purple nightshade and tree poppies along the trail. The top of the ridge is near out of sight for long, but it takes an awful lot of switchbacks to get to. The trail finally reaches Saddle Peak rd, where one gets a view down the other side of the ridge at the ocean below. Cross the pavement and trot up the opposing ridge to gain a slightly better perspective down on the big blue. From the top of Hondo Canyon trail, a section of the Backbone Trail labeled “Fossil Ridge Trail” continues west above the road for 0.6 miles, connecting to Lois Ewen Overlook at the base of the trail Topanga Overlook (the lookout is 0.9 miles from the junction). Just across the pavement, the Backbone trail continues, reaching Saddle Peak after one mile.