The Backbone Trail runs 67 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains, from the Pacific Palisades to the Pacific Ocean north of Malibu. When it’s completed, it will be a fantastic backpacking route, but as it stands right now there’s only one campground on the trail, and a few sections of unfinished trail that require walking along streets.
It can still be done, with a bit of planning, or you can join up with the Santa Monica Mountains Trail Council for their annual Backbone Trek.
From May 1-8, the group will take a very leisurely approach to the trail, but provide some trail-creature comforts, like shuttles from the trail to nearby camp sites, some food and water, and a car shuttle back to the beginning of the trail when you’re done.
That pace would probably be a bit slow for me, but if you’re just interested in getting acquainted with the area or have some time to kill in early May, I’ve heard good things from people who’ve been on previous Treks. The fee for the event is $350. More information and a contact for questions can be found on their official registration site, along with some photos from past Treks.
Or, you could just bone up on the Backbone Trail yourself and try to tackle it on an extra-long weekend, too!
Thanks to reader Pete for the heads-up.