Backbone Trail Malibu

Backbone Trail Malibu
(Latigo Cyn & Kanan Road Trailheads)
Trailhead: There is a parking lot at the trailhead, on the left just past the tunnel on Kanan Dume Road (Google Map View)

Type: Outdoors
Category: Bike, Hike
Company: Friends, Dates
Cost: Free!

Quickie: Located about 15 minutes East of PCH in Malibo, Backbone Trail consists of a few different trailheads to choose from.  90% of the trek will be single-track, perfect for mountain bikers to keep their thrill level high. 

OTC Tip: Check out the extensive trail map for Backbone (and other nearby trails)
From the parking lot, there are two trailheads to choose from - Latigo Canyon and Kanan Road.  Latigo Canyon Trailhead starts heading south from the lot, past a small fence and up a steep and rocky section.  From there it crosses over the tunnel and continues for 1.4 miles of amazing single track riding to a parking lot on Latigo Road. The majority of the first leg is uphill, but all the effort was rewarded with an adrenaline -packed ride back down.  With rocks, roots, jumps, and hikers to avoid/jump, it requires 100% focus. Note that you can continue further East on yet another trail, or head back towards the parking lot. 

OTC Tip: There are just enough blind hairpin turns to keep things interesting on the trip back down, so make sure to take a mental note of where they are so you don't end up skidding into the cliff wall (or off the side into one of the numerous patches of flowers).

After a quick break back in the main parking lot (read: water, energy bar, and a GFB*), head Northwest on Kanan Road Trailhead for a 2.5 mile rollercoaster ride.  Although longer than Latigo Canyon, the hills are less steep overall, and offer a larger array of up-and-down.  There are a few rocky/wet spots where dismounting the bike is advised.  I personally like this trailhead better than Latigo Canyon - it offers a lot more quick turns and switchbacks that will give both your body and focus a heartpounding workout. 

OTC Tip: About 5 minutes into the ride, the trail has a short break to the right.  Take the quick break and enjoy the tranquility of a waterfall.  Then get back on the bike and power through the hills at a speed just past the "Oh Shit" level.

Both these trailheads are just a taste of what Malibu has to offer for biking and hiking.  But now there is the issue of deciding what my next ride will be - do I repeat these awesome trails, or explore the seemingly endless supply of nearby trails?  Either way, it is well worth the drive up PCH. 

OTC Tip: Although both trails have sparse traffic, there will be the occasional herd of slow-moving hikers, as well as other bikers.  Keep an ear perked at all times, and be wary of blind turns.  

*Denotes a Guilt Free Beer - the kind of beer that you deserve after a strenuous workout

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