Backbone Trail Book Signing, September 8

The Eastern end of the Backbone Trail winds through Topanga. Photo courtesy of SMMNRA

The 67-mile-long Backbone Trail extends all the way from Will Rogers State Park in Pacific Palisades, to Point Mugu State Park in Ventura County. The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area’s (SMMNRA) premiere trail system took decades to assemble from a patchwork of state, local and federal parklands, and offers some of the most spectacular views of mountain, ocean, and canyon. Most hiking enthusiasts in the Santa Monica Mountain have walked part of the trail, but only a small percentage of outdoor enthusiasts have tackled the entire 67-miles.  

Authors Doug and Caroline Chamberlin would like to change that. In 2017, the duo published the first real guide to the trail. In The Complete Hiker’s Guide to the Backbone Trail, the Chamberlins break the trip into 20 smaller segments, working from east to west. They explain in the book that the westward direction “makes for a more dramatic experience, [because] the scenery of the Santa Monica Mountains tends to intensify as you head west.” It also allows the hiker to begin with generally easier hikes, working up to more rugged adventures.

The rock formations at the top of Corral Canyon, midway through the 67-mile-long trail are a popular destination for hikers. Photo courtesy of National Park Service

The authors discuss geology, flora and fauna, and point out trail highlights that first-time hikers might otherwise miss. They also discuss trailheads, parking, facilities like restrooms, campgrounds, and also trail hazards.

The Chamberlins will be at the SMMNRA Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch on the corner of Mulholland Highway and Las Virgenes Canyon Road, on September 8, to discuss their book, share stories of their adventures and offer tips for tackling the trail. A book signing will follow the event.

Three talks are scheduled: 9:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 2 p.m. Due to limited seating, reservations are required.


For reservations or more information, e-mail or call (805) 370-2302. This is a free program with free parking.


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