Friday, July 1, 2016

Featured National Recreation Trails: Backbone Trail, California - Full Article

This 67‐mile long‐distance trail connects the largest publicly owned natural and scenic parks within Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The route travels along the spine of the Santa Monica Mountains , offering views of the Pacific Ocean, chaparral‐blanketed mountainsides, shady oak woodlands, rock formations, and cityscapes in the distance.

The trail stretches 67 miles from Will Rogers State Historic Park on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles to Point Mugu in Ventura County, adjacent to the Oxnard Plain. It generally follows the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains range, with elevations between near sea level to just over 3,000 feet at Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the mountains. Trail users can experience the beauty and rich biodiversity of the Mediterranean ecosystem, found in only five regions in the world.

The Backbone Trail is situated adjacent to one of the most densely populated and ethnically diverse metropolitan areas in the United States. Approximately 17 million Southern Californians live within an hour’s drive of one of the trailheads. The trail is popular with a broad range of visitors, from those who played a role in building the trail decades ago to first-time recreational users. Several roads cross the trail at various points along its course, making segment hikes of 6 to 10 miles readily feasible. Additionally , most of the other 450 miles of trails within the recreation area connect in one fashion or another to the Backbone Tail.

A Santa Monica Mountains ridgeline trail has been a vision for more than 50 years. Originally, it was to run from Griffith Park to Point Mugu, but that idea never went forward. In the 1970s, with the establishment of large state parks in the mountains, the notion began to crystallize and a route was proposed that linked Will Rogers State Historic Park in the east with Malibu Creek State Park in the center and Point Mugu State Park in the west...

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