Solstice Canyon in Malibu Has a Perennial Waterfall and Much More

Solstice Canyon is a worthy local hiking destination, located at the intersection of Corral Canyon and Solstice Canyon Roads in Malibu. It is home to one of the only year-round waterfalls in the Santa Monica Mountains and there is a handful of nice trails to explore.

The main trail is the Solstice Canyon Trail, a fairly easy, not too steep, 2.1 mile round trip hike, largely paved, to the stone and brick ruins of the Fred and Florence Roberts ranch house. This is called the Tropical Terrace. Missouri native Fred Roberts founded Roberts Public Market, a chain of grocery and liquor stores, in the late 1920s. He sold the chain in 1949, while in the meantime amassed nearly 1,000 acres in Solstice Canyon.

A large portion of the Solstice Canyon Trail is paved.

A large portion of the Solstice Canyon Trail is paved.

In 1952, Roberts hired renowned African-American architect Paul R. Williams to design the home, which featured beautiful architectural design that blended into the serene environment and incorporated fire protection features using pumps, pipes and water collection pools. Roberts passed away in 1976. In 1982, the Dayton Canyon Fire burned the site to the ground.

Remains of the home of Fred and Florence Roberts at the top of Solstice Canyon

Remains of the home of Fred and Florence Roberts at the top of Solstice Canyon

Today you can see the foundation, fireplaces, steps and other interesting features, then explore the shaded rock pool area, where you'll see the waterfall (which in drought years can be quite small, but perennial nonetheless).

Waterfall access is the right (east) of the Roberts home.

Waterfall access is the right (east) of the Roberts home.

Naturally canopied rock pool area where the waterfall can be seen and explored.

Naturally canopied rock pool area where the waterfall can be seen and explored.

On the way to the Roberts House, you will see a sign, "Built of Stone and Tin." Read about the wood cabin purchased by Henry Keller in 1901 that was destroyed by a fire two years later. Keller, who enjoyed hunting and fishing in Solstice Canyon, rebuilt the one room hunting lodge in stone and tin to withstand future fires. Over the years, wood porches were added. The structure was scorched in the Corral Fire of 2007.  But the stone walls are still there today...and are considered to be the oldest still-existing in Malibu today.

You can walk fairly close to the Keller House ruins.

You can walk fairly close to the Keller House ruins.

Other trails include the:

  • Dry Canyon Trail - 1.2 mile easy round trip canyon trail that in the winter brings a 150 foot waterfall and stream
  • TRW Loop Trail - 1.5 mile round trip loop that is fairly easy
  • Rising Sun Trail - 1.5 mile moderate trail on the eastern ridgeline of the canyon that connects at the top to the Solstice Canyon Trail near the waterfall
  • Sostomo Trail/Deer Valley Trail - Moderate to strenuous extension from near the top of the Solstice Canyon Trail of roughly 4 miles

There is a small amphitheater at the main parking area, public restrooms and several picnic areas here. A great place to bring the kids! Dog friendly too (except not dogs in the waterfall area), as long as they are on leash.

Solstice Canyon was opened as a public park by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy in 1988 and today is managed by the National Park Service. More information at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/solsticecanyon.htm.

One way to get to Solstice Canyon from Thousand Oaks is to take the 101 south to Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road, south to PCH, where you'll turn right (west). Turn right on Solstice Canyon Road (a light) and your first left is Solstice Canyon. There is limited parking at the entrance, but the main parking lot is about 1/4 mile up the hill.

Spring Flowers and Green Hills at Charmlee Wilderness Park in Malibu

View of Zuma Beach to Point Dume State Beach from Charmlee Wilderness Park.

View of Zuma Beach to Point Dume State Beach from Charmlee Wilderness Park.

Charmlee Wilderness Park, a 532 acre park at 2577 Encinal Canyon Road in Malibu, is a "must visit" for anyone who lives in the local area. Located in the Santa Monica Mountains, its eight miles of trails dispersed through 532 acres of land provide unbelievable spectacular views of Zuma Beach to Point Dume in particular.

The Park is also blossoming with wildflowers and is green as can be in March 2017 after our significant winter rainstorms.

Park hours are 8 a.m. to sunset and the nature center is open on weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or dark, whichever comes first). Parking is $4.

Green envelopes the trains here in early March 2017.

Green envelopes the trains here in early March 2017.

From Charmlee, I noticed this beautiful flower display on a hilltop home and had to take a pic and post it to Instagram. Little did I know that this is apparently Caitlyn Jenner's hilltop home.

From Charmlee, I noticed this beautiful flower display on a hilltop home and had to take a pic and post it to Instagram. Little did I know that this is apparently Caitlyn Jenner's hilltop home.

Charmlee2017_4.JPG

Wildflowers in Full Bloom at the Ray Miller Trail in La Jolla Canyon, Point Mugu State Park

We knew this was coming. A sea of orange and purple wildflowers in La Jolla Canyon at Pt. Mugu State Park in northwest of Malibu. It may take you about a half an hour to get there from Thousand Oaks, but it is well worth stopping by the Ray Miller Trail in La Jolla Canyon to catch a glimpse of these colors. More on the Ray Miller Trail at THIS LINK. Directions from Thousand Oaks at THIS LINK.

DSC01388.JPG

The Truck Escape Ramp on Kanan Dume Road at the Intersection of Pacific Coast Highway

From time to time we take Kanan Road in Agoura Hills to Malibu for quick access to Zuma Beach, Westward Beach and Point Dume State Beach as well as Escondido Canyon Park, Paradise Cove and other great outdoor spots in Malibu.

From the 101, Kanan Road is about 12 miles from Pacific Coast Highway and takes roughly 15 minutes without traffic. Something that has always puzzled me is why it is called Kanan Road all the way from its juncture with North Westlake Boulevard in Thousand Oaks to the 101, through Oak Park and Agoura Hills, down to its intersection with Mulholland Highway in Malibu and then becomes Kanan Dume Road.

Runaway Truck Escape Ramp

The southernmost section of Kanan Dume Road is particularly steep, with an 8% grade over three miles.  My kids always ask about the "Escape Ramp" at the bottom of Kanan Dume Road at its intersection with PCH.

The Truck Escape Ramp was built in 1987 after a series of crashes and resulting deaths due to runaway trucks. The escape ramp, or arrester bed, is an 800 foot long, pit in the middle lane of the road filled 2 1/2 feet deep with gravel. The allowable weight limit for trucks on Kanan Dume was also dropped in 1987 from 14,000 to 8,000 lbs.

The arrester bed was renovated in 2014 to make it wider and improve signage. Thankfully we have never seen the escape ramp used, but it is there if it is ever needed.

Tunnel Vision

There are three tunnels on Kanan Dume Road between Latigo Canyon Road and PCH built in the late 1960s to early 1980s. They are affectionately referred to as T-1, T-2 and T-3. T-3 is two-lane tunnel located at approximately 1142-1208 Kanan Road in Agoura Hills, roughly five miles from Highway 101. A short distance later, you will drive through T-2, located just northeast of Rocky Oaks Park. About 2 1/2 miles from T-2 is the T-1 tunnel, just south of the Newton Canyon Backbone Trail trailhead.

One of three tunnels on Kanan Dume Road in Malibu. This one is called T-3. (Clever, eh?)

One of three tunnels on Kanan Dume Road in Malibu. This one is called T-3. (Clever, eh?)

Signage indicating approach of the truck escape ramp on Kanan Dume Road.

Signage indicating approach of the truck escape ramp on Kanan Dume Road.

A closer view of the escape ramp gravel pit. My son asked if we could drive in it (in my minivan). I said, "um, no" although if our brakes gave out, sure, I would use it.

A closer view of the escape ramp gravel pit. My son asked if we could drive in it (in my minivan). I said, "um, no" although if our brakes gave out, sure, I would use it.

9th Annual Waves of Flags Display at Pepperdine University to Honor 9/11 Victims Will Be Open September 10 to 26

On Saturday, September 10, Pepperdine University’s Alumni Park will become home to the University’s ninth annual Waves of Flags installation. The display will commemorate the lives lost in the terror attacks of September 11, 2001.

Waves of Flags will feature a display of a total of 2,977 full-size flags—2,887 American flags for each American life lost and 90 various international flags representing the home countries of those from abroad who died in the 9/11 attacks.

On September 10th at 1 PM, a group of over 150 volunteers, including Pepperdine faculty, staff, students and Malibu community members, will join together to install and raise the flags.

The installation became a Pepperdine tradition in 2008 when the College Republicans, inspired by a similar display, wanted to bring the tribute to the University. Now in its ninth year, Waves of Flags has become a significant service project for the Pepperdine community.

In addition to the Waves of Flags installation, the University is the permanent home of Heroes Garden, a public space for visitors to reflect and honor all those who live heroic lives, including Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr. (MBA ’95), a passenger on United Flight 93 whose life was cut short in the 9/11 attacks.

The garden's plaque reads: “Dedicated to freedom's heroes of September 11, 2001, and the passengers of United Airlines Flight 93, among them Pepperdine alumnus Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., who sacrificed their lives to overcome terrorists’ intent on destroying American lives and landmarks in our nation's capital. We shall never forget.”

Waves of Flags will be open to the public for viewing and visitation at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Malibu Canyon Road from September 10 to September 26. 

The Adamson House in Malibu is Listed on the National Register of Historic Places

AdamsonHouse_front.JPG

The Adamson House at 23200 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu is a National Historic Site and a registered California landmark. The house and grounds share one of the most beautiful beach locations in Southern California, with a view of the Malibu Lagoon, Malibu Beach and the Malibu Pier. In addition to its world-famous Malibu Tile, the house contains hand-carved teak wood doors, hand-painted murals, molded ceilings, hand-wrought ironwork and lead-framed bottle glass windows.

AdamsonHouse_sign.JPG

The house was built in 1930 for Rhoda Rindge Adamson and Merritt Huntley Adamson, originally as a summer cottage and in 1936 as the family's primary residence. It is located on the 13,315 acre Malibu Rancho that was purchased by Rhoda's parents, Frederick and May K. Rindge, in 1892.  Mr. Rindge passed away in 1905 and left the ranch to his wife, who later gave the parcel to the Adamsons.

USC graduate Merritt Adamson met Rhoda Rindge while he was employed as foreman of the Rindge Ranch. The couple married in 1915 and in 1916 Merritt founded Adohr Farms in the San Fernando Valley, named after his wife's first name spelled backwards.

AdamsonHouse_historic.jpg

Rhoda inherited the property after Merritt's death in 1949 and she lived there until her passing in 1962. The land was later purchased by the State of California under eminent domain laws to create beach parking, but local groups and preservationists fought to preserve the property and succeeded. The house was restored and the garage was converted into the Malibu Lagoon Museum and they opened to the public in 1983.

Flooring in the backside of the house

Flooring in the backside of the house

The Adamson House Tour is a guided tour through the house which contains its original furnishings and is decorated with the renowned Malibu Potteries tile. Trained volunteer docents relate the history of the house, details of its architecture and furnishings, and the history of the family that lived in and created this distinctive home. Admission (as of May 2016) is $7 for ages 17 and up, $2 ages 6 to 16 and free for under 6. Cash only. More information at www.adamsonhouse.org or call 310.456.8432.

Piuma Road Overlook Views in the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu

Most of us in Ventura County take Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road down to PCH from time to time.  We look up and feel dwarfed by the canyons of the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains. What do these canyons look like from the hills above? Well make your way up Piuma Road in Malibu to find out!

Views towards PCH and Malibu Canyon Road from first of two overlooks.

Views towards PCH and Malibu Canyon Road from first of two overlooks.

Piuma Road is the road we pass as we're driving to the beach, but rarely stop to think about....unless we're driving to Saddlepeak Lodge for a great meal. And daring cyclists and motorcyclists may know about this winding, hilly joy ride to the ocean. But rarely do the rest of us give it a thought as we're busily navigating our way down Malibu Canyon Road.

Views of Las Virgenes Canyon looking north from Piuma

Views of Las Virgenes Canyon looking north from Piuma

Well if you're looking to take in some eye popping, panoramic views of Malibu Canyon down to Malibu Lagoon, towards Catalina Island looking south, as well as the Las Virgenes Valley on the other side, take a detour up Piuma Road. From the corner of Malibu Canyon Road and Piuma Road to several overlooks is about 4 1/2 miles. Whoever is driving better concentrate because, as you can see, the road is very winding, the elevation rises to 1500' and the views are jaw dropping.

View Larger Map

There are several overlooks where you can stop and park your car. The first one gives you a straight-on view of Malibu Canyon Road and the second provides views of the coastline towards Santa Monica.

Views from the second Piuma overlook looking down the Pacific coastline.

Views from the second Piuma overlook looking down the Pacific coastline.

Deep Malibu Canyon Gorge below. A Gorgeous Gorge it is!

Deep Malibu Canyon Gorge below. A Gorgeous Gorge it is!

About a 1/4 mile before you reach these overlooks, you'll pass the Malibu Canyon Piuma Ridge area, which has a small picnic area. The views of the canyons will take your breath away. The map below, courtesy of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, shows this Ridge area in relation to the overlooks. Don't drive too fast as it is easy to pass by.

PiumaRidgeMap.jpg

Piuma Ridge and Overlook Map excerpt courtesy of Santa Monica Mountains ConservancyAfter you take in the views at the Ridge and/or overlooks, you can either head back or drive another six winding miles to PCH via Las Flores Canyon Road, where you end up at Duke's Malibu.

If you can handle the sound of my noisy kids, here's some footage from the Piuma Overlooks: