Text and photography copyright 2011 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
Zuma Canyon: Ocean View Loop
- Location: Malibu, near Point Dume. From Pacific Coast Highway, head north on Bonsall Drive (a mile west of Kanan Dume). Follow the road a mile to its end and park in the dirt lot.
- Agency: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
- Distance: 3.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 850 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: All year (hot during the summer)
- USGS topo map: “Point Dume”
- Recommended gear: sun hat; hiking poles
- Recommended guidebook: Day Hikes In the Santa Monica Mountains
- More information: here
- Rating: 8
Plotted out on a map, this loop, which links the Canyon View and Ocean View trails in Zuma Canyon, might not look all that challenging or impressive, but in reality, it’s a good workout that also provides a lot of scenic rewards.
From the parking area, head into the canyon on the main trail. Soon, you pass the Ocean View trail on the right (your return route). In half a mile, head right on the Canyon View Trail. The early going is easy, but once the ascent starts, you’ll be catching your breath frequently. The good news is that each time you do, the views of the canyon, mountains and oceans become better and better.
After a mile or so on the Canyon View Trail, the grade finally levels out. You make your way around a huge stone outcrop, climb a little more and soon get the full panorama of the ocean in front of you. The trail descends to the Kanan Edison Fire Road. Bear right and soon (0.1 miles) take another right on the Ocean View Trail.
The Ocean View Trail certainly lives up to its name, giving you all the Pacific you could possibly want as it makes a steep descent back to the canyon. After a mile, you cross the canyon and shortly after you meet up with the original trail. Take a left and retrace your steps to the trail head.