Week 270: Zuma Canyon Malibu

July 10, 2022

 AllTrails Zuma Loop Trail, 2.5 miles.

Drawn by cooler temps near the ocean, Barbara and I drove up PCH to explore the western end of the Santa Monica Mountains above Zuma Beach in Malibu. Although sea fog idled over the Pacific, the marine layer stuck to the water and left us with clear blue sky on this easy trail loop through Zuma Canyon. Zuma and neighboring Trancas Canyons make up the largest piece of federal parkland in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area with a knot of trails spread across both. Considering that mountain trails offer little to no shade, we chose to hike the Zuma Loop Trail for ease and distance. The hike starts at the trailhead at the NW end of the parking lot at the top of Bonsall Drive off PCH. A single dirt trail twisted us up, up, went flat, and then headed down to our goal: the stony, dry Zuma Creek riverbed. We found a tree branch for a "sit"break before heading back up, over, and down the bottom half of the circular trail.  Zuma, "abundance" in Chumash, is a nod to tribe that inhabited the section of the coast from San Luis Obispo to the Channel Islands to Malibu for 11,000 years before the 18th c. Spanish invasion. Rows of green crops lining the hills in the distance evidence the abundance of the land while higher elevations were a sea of brown chaparral with spots of wildflower color. The lower portions of the trail near the creek bed were green with walnut trees in bloom, with the blackened trunks of manzanita trees as the only remnants of the 2018 Woolsey fire that demolished the area. Mother Nature is never predictable and always amazing. We met a few other hikers, horseback riders, and a bunny on the trail, but otherwise this hike was pure escape.








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