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Backbone Trail in Malibu

Average Rating:    (4.09 of 5)

No. of Reviews: 33

Great mix of fire road climbing, singletrack speed, rocky technical sections, and lush scenery. Best in the Santa Monica's. From the trail head, climb west to Castro Peak, towards the antennae. The fire road you want to stay on follows the ridge line (Castro Crest), rounds the south side of the peak under the antennae, then drops sharply to a saddle on the west side of a box canyon. Take the singletrack to the west, which leads through Newton Canyon to Latigo Canyon Road and is about 2 miles of (mostly) downhill fun. Cross latigo and continue down to Kanan Dume. This section of trail is over grown thanks to El Nino, but still fun. Turn around at Kanan Dume and double back to the saddle at Castro Crest. From there, take the singletrack down and to the right, into the bowl. CORBA did a great job fixing this trail in the spring, the result is buff singletrack in a lush valley with sections that challenge good riders but are easily walked by the less skilled. The last mile is an easy climb back to your car and your frosty cold beverages.
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Latitude
34.07882486401267
Longitude
-118.79722595214844
Trail Directions
You can reach it from the SF Valley but I like driving up to the top of Corral Canyon Road from PCH (Thomas Guide, page 628). The trail head there is a great place to kick back after the ride (hint: bring a cooler and some beverages). Nearby pseudo-slickrock formations are fun to warm up on.
Trail Length
10? 12?
Trail Level
Intermediate
Trail Type
Singletrack & Fire Roads
City/County
Malibu
   


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Reviews 1 - 5 (33 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5

Review Date
March 11, 2012

Overall Rating
 3 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Ridden Once

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5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: emjayel ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
The trail description is a bit confusing because there are many trailheads for this trail.

I chose to ride from the trailhead on Las Virgenes Road. Trailhead is just west of Piuma Road - it's just a pullout/parking area.

The trail has got a bit of everything in it: singletrak, climbs to make you wonder about your sanity, technical bits to make all but the best at least dab if not hop off and walk a few feet, exposed sun climbs, beautiful canopy covered flats, great vistas.

What it doesn't have is a well marked trail. Expect that you might get lost. Ask other users on the trails. It's an out and back ride so take note of landmarks for the return journey.

I had planned to get to Latigo Road, but fell short of that goal and did not make it. The opening climb took a lot out of me, I guess.

Overall Technical Rating of 3, but there are some 4's in to keep life interesting

Recommended Route:
From trailhead prepare for a grueling climb. The actual trailhead is a tad confusing to find. fuddle about a bit and once you get to up out of the parking lot it gets clearer. Once on the trail proper, the first bit is wide singletrak. Rocky and loose at times...in fact when I was coming back down it I was surprised that I'd managed to make it UP to begin with.

You'll come out on a fireroad. Pause and take a look around so you remember where to peel off when you return in a few hours. Now head up. Just. Keep. Going. Up. The only good news is that the climb is punctuated by drainage flats so there are mini breaks. Bear right when you can, staying on major trail/fireroad of Coral Canyon/Mesa Peak Road. Once you hit tarmac (Castro Motorway), turn right until pavement ends less than 1/4 mile later. In the parking area, look left for the trail to drop down into the canyon. Singletrak for the next 4 miles or so. Here's where it can get technical enough to make even reasonably good rider dab or dismount. Plenty of chainring gouges to prove it. I turned around as the trail started to climb. Ride length: 16 miles, Time 2.5 hours



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Review Date
April 25, 2009

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a week

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5.00 of 5, 2.00 votes

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Reviewed by: MRP Roller ,  Downhiller

Summary:
Great trail so close to the city. Some great single track, especially after a light rain that waters down the dust. Uphills are just long enough to make you hate them if you love to just ride downhill and just long enough to make you love them if you are an XC head.

Recommended Route:
Park in the dirt lot on the right about 8 miles in if you are headed from PCH. Head out on the trail head that starts in the lot. Once you climb out of the first downhill section take the single track that is across the fire road and to the right. its a nice long trail that starts steep and levels out for a great ride.



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Review Date
October 26, 2008

Overall Rating
 5 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 4 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

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3.00 of 5, 2.00 votes

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Reviewed by: rc140 ,  Weekend Warrior

Summary:
Great rolling single trak, climbs are just long enough to make you suffer a bit. Great scenery. A+, especially when everything is green.

Recommended Route:
We like starting just above Malibu Country Club. A great 20+ minutes of really cool single trak before you get to Kanan 3rd tunnel (actually the tunnel is marked T-1).

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Chesebro, Boney, Tapia Park over Camp David Gonzales.



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Review Date
August 23, 2007

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Once a month

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5.00 of 5, 2.00 votes

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Reviewed by: me109 ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
This is what I would call the definition of an XC trail. Lots of ups and downs with some mild technical stuff throughout. Started at the Kanan Tunnel trailhead and rode to Corral canyon (i think?) parking lot, then back.

Lots of fast sections on the return trip. lots of rocky parts. some of the climbing sections can be killer and they last just long enough to make you hate it.

Recommended Route:
Take Kanan Dume south from 101 and park at 3rd tunnel parking lot. Grab the trail that starts pointing directly south. Right from the start its a short killer uphill climb up and over the tunnel heading east. From here it is a couple (2-3) miles of solid XC singletrack, mostly up. Cross Latigo canyon rd and pick up the trail again on the left side of the parking lot. Climb another couple of miles of XC single track that is a little more technical than the previous section. End up at a FR. you will see a peak (castro peak?) and antenna towers to the left. Cross FR veering a little right and pick up a single track down. 1st mile down is rocky with some tight switchbacks and then turns into some really cool fast dry creek bed type of single track with lots of rocks to just fly over. Another 1.8 miles brings you to a parking lot. I think this is Corral Canyon? Then back out the way I came in.

Other recommended trails in the same area:
Sullivan canyon. Cheseboro. Viper. Backbone to Will Rogers.



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Review Date
December 11, 2005

Overall Rating
 4 of 5

Aerobic Difficulty
 4 of 5

Technical Difficulty
 3 of 5

Ridden Trail:
Every few months

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5.00 of 5, 1.00 votes

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Reviewed by: thobry ,  Cross Country Rider

Summary:
Awesome trail conditions. (full parking lot too). Most of the gnarly ruts from last winters rains are filled in which makes for a better ride. only a couple stream crossings. Some of the bushes could be trimmed back. Overall this is a really fun trail network!

Recommended Route:
Parked at Kanan/Backbone trail head. Head west cross Latigo and continue up to Castro peak... turn around and up Bull dog, back down and head home. about 12.5 miles

Other recommended trails in the same area:
chesebro!



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Reviews 1 - 5 (33 Reviews Total) View All | Next 5