Solstice Canyon, Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

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Solstice Canyon Waterfall, 3/5/10

Solstice Canyon Park is located near Pacific Coast Highway off Corral Canyon Road in Malibu CA.  The canyon is very scenic.  The trails are well maintained.  Solstice Canyon Trail is wide in most places and not too steep, easy hike.  This is also a good family hike. 

On this page, our hike up Solstice Canyon Trail, taking the TRW Loop Trail through the picnic area staying alongside the creek, past the Keller House ruins, the Roberts Ranch House ruins and "Tropical Terrace" to the waterfall. 

The waterfall cascades down a rocky hillside just above the Roberts Ranch House. 

This canyon has a history of wildfires.  It burned last in 2007 but has recovered nicely.  To learn more about Solstice Canyon see the official website at:  http://www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/solsticecanyon.htm

Click any picture on this page to enlarge. 
(Most pictures on this page were taken 3/5/10, toward the end of the page new July 2010 pics--canyon is still green and the falls are still flowing).

First a few interpretive signs you will see in the park
The hike to the waterfall is just over a mile (one way).  Dogs are allowed (on leash).  Horse back riding is also allowed (bring your own horse).  The last few hundred feet of the trail to the waterfall no horses or dogs...when you get there you will see why.  Habitat restoration after the fires is still underway, some interesting facts about that are presented along the way.

Click the pictures below to enlarge.

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Trail map

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Trail marker near the parking lot stating the rules

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About the fires and habitat restoration.

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Too much of anything is a bad thing, another downside of too many wildfires.

Next, Solstice Canyon Creek pictures, near the parking lot (on 3/5/10)

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Next we took the TRW Loop Trail through the picnic area along Solstice Canyon Creek.
This trail meets back up with Solstice Canyon Trail, you will see a bridge across the creek, cross the bridge and then follow the trail to the right just after the bridge.

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A few trail pics between the TRW Loop Trail and Tropical Terrace
Notice how the trail forks in one picture below, either way the trail merges together again and takes you to the same place.  You pass the Keller House ruins in this segment of the trail.

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Roberts Ranch House ruins (Tropical Terrace)
The pics below give you just a glimpse, the ruins cover a much larger area than shown.  Interesting, something you have to see for yourself (if you like historical ruins).

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The first waterfall
Near the Roberts Ranch House ruins look for the sign to the waterfall...which will be very near the first waterfall.  Follow the stone steps above the first waterfall to see the larger falls.

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Cascading Waterfalls
Not far up the stone steps a series of smaller waterfalls cascade down the creek.  The stone walkway quickly turns to a very short boulder scramble.  The largest waterfall is at the end (shown at the beginning of this page).

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July 5, 2010 photos:

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Solstice Falls on July 5th, 2010

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7/5/10 on the trail to the falls.

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Sages & bush sunflowers in bloom, 7/5/10

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Blooming hillside, 7/5/10

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Butterfly, 7/5/10

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Wildflowers

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More wildflowers, 7/5/10

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Side view & up close of the waterfall--less water than in March but still flowing.

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The stream, near the parking lot, 7/5/10

Trail Maps:
You should be able to pick up a printed trail map at the kiosk near the parking lot or one is available online here:
http://www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/upload/map-solstice-2.pdf
A map of the entire Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is here:
http://www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/upload/SAMOmap1-2.pdf

Directions and parking:

From Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu take Corral Canyon Road and turn on Solstice Canyon Road (on the left) which ends in the parking lot.  No parking fees, entrance fees or day use fees!
 

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More to do
Another waterfall 150' high is said to be on Dry Canyon Trail (seasonal).  Deer Valley Loop trail is high on the ridge with a view of the ocean.  The Rising Sun Trail is an alternative route along Solstice Canyon Creek to the waterfall, but higher on the ridge looking down into the canyon and creek below.  We didn't have much time to explore other trails as it was dusk when we hiked out...next time.