Backbone Trail, Day 1:

Start: Will Rogers State Park
End: Musch Campground
Approximate Distance: 10.8 miles
Approximate Ascent: 2,641 feet
Approximate Time: 5 hours (including a 45 minute lunch break)

Since moving to California several years ago, I have often enjoy hiking in the Santa Monica mountains on the weekends. My favorite places to go are Malibu Creek State Park and Will Rogers State Park – I love the expansive views of the Pacific Ocean that can be had from the highest peaks in these parks.


In June of 2016, I was excited to learn that the final portions of the Backbone Trail were completed – starting in Will Rogers State Park in Santa Monica and ending at Point Mugu in Ventura. I feel a special connection to the trail since it links my old home – Santa Barbara to my new home of Santa Monica.  After reading and researching the trail for almost a year, I determined that with a lot of training, planning, and hard work, it would be possible for me to hike the entire 69 mile length over the course of 4 days.

Backbone Trail Map
Backbone Trail Map, with my campsites highlighted.

I started my hike along the Backbone Trail at Will Rogers State Park on Wednesday, April 5. This was the shortest day of hiking for me, at 10.8 miles. I started the hike with beautiful views of the Los Angeles basin and the Pacific Ocean. As I hiked farther, I saw many oak trees, wildflowers, and green grasses.  The highlight of the day was eating my lunch at Eagle Rock, which is an enormous rock formation located in Topanga State Park. I got to Musch Campgrounds a little before noon, so I had plenty of time to set up my tent, listen to a couple of podcasts, eat, and relax.


2 thoughts on “Backbone Trail, Day 1:

  1. Hi Tessa,
    Gary alerted me to your latest adventure when it came into my email (we share a tablet). He has lived in California and has a better grasp of how big it is, and he impressed upon me the seemingly impossible miles you walked ALONE on your hike. Gary focused on the miles and I could only think of lions tiger and bears! OH MY! I am so happy to hear you are safe and back home.
    I’m looking forward to hearing and seeing your impressions, as well as seeing pictures of what caught your interest along the way. Thanks for sending me the link!
    Silly me. I thought that the blogosphere might have one less participant now that your Mexico adventure is over. Aunt Sally and Gary
    P.S. Gary sends his congrats too!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Sally and Gary! The trail itself is 69 miles – but I ended up walking closer to 80 miles due to the fact that I had to walk on the road a few of times to get from the end of the trail in one location to the start of the trail in a different location.(Also some of my campsites were off the trail a couple of miles.) It was definitely a big adventure!!


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