Ocean view from Zuma Canyon, Malibu, CA

Zuma Canyon Connector Trail via Zuma Edison Road

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Castro Peak, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
View of Castro Peak from the Zuma Canyon Connector Trail
Zuma Edison Road, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
Oaks on Zuma Edison Road

Zuma Canyon Connector Trail via Zuma Edison Road

    • Location: Kanan Dume Road, Malibu. From Pacific Coast Highway (19 miles west of Santa Monica; 24 miles east of Oxnard) head north on Kanan Dume Road for 3 miles to a large, unsigned dirt parking lot on the left side of the road. From Highway 101, take the Kanan Road exit (36) and head south for 9 miles. Look for the large dirt parking lot on the right side of the road.
    • Agency: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
    • Distance: 3.4 miles
    • Elevation gain: 750 feet
    • Difficulty Rating: PG
    • Suggested time: 2 hours
    • Best season: All year but hot during the summer
    • USGS topo map: “Point Dume”
    • Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat
    • More information: Zuma/Trancas homepage here; Map My Hike report here; area trail map here
    • Rating: 6
Zuma Edison Road, Malibu, CA
0:00 – Trail head on Kanan Dume Road (click thumbnails to see the full sized versions)

If it were more easily accessible, the Zuma Canyon Connector Trail, with its panoramic ocean and mountain views, would likely be one of the more popular short trails of the Santa Monica Mountains. Located in the northeastern reaches of Zuma Canyon, the trail can be reached by either of the two fire roads it connects: the Kanan Edison Road or the Zuma Edison Road. This post describes a moderate hike from the latter, easily done in an afternoon.

Ocean view from Zuma Edison Road, Malibu, CA
0:23 – Ocean view from the saddle (times are approximate)

From the large but unsigned turnout on Kanan Dume Road, pass by the gate and begin ascending the fire road. It climbs steadily, gaining 300 feet in the first half mile, passing through an attractive oak grove and then taking in an ocean vista only slightly impeded by power lines. Three quarters of a mile from the start, you reach a T-junction with views southwest into Zuma Canyon. Turn left and follow the fire road 0.2 mile to a junction with the Zuma Canyon Connector Trail on the left.

Zuma Canyon Connector Trail, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
0:28 – Start of the Zuma Canyon Connector Trail

The trail is slightly overgrown in spots but never difficult to follow as it makes its way through chaparral, Yerba Santa thickets and more, soon emerging to follow a ridge line. It descends south, views of Zuma Canyon on the right, the ocean forward and Castro Peak on the left. After passing a large rocky knob, it makes a few switchbacks to reach its end at Zuma Edison Road (1.7 miles from the start.) This is a good turnaround point for a moderate day hike. With a car shuttle (or a willingness to walk along the side of Kanan Dume Road for about half a mile), you can make the hike into a loop by heading left on Zuma Edison Road. If you have a car shuttle set up at the main Zuma Canyon trail head, you can continue right on Zuma Edison Road and follow it down to either the Ocean View or Canyon View Trails.

Kanan Edison Road, Santa Monica Mountains, CA
0:50 – Junction with Kanan Edison Road (turnaround point)

Text and photography copyright 2016 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.  By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail.  Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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