One of the less-traveled trails in the Santa Monicas is hidden in Zuma Canyon. Enjoy a leisure cruise up Bonsail Drive off Pacific Coast Highway, opposite Westward Beach and past celebrity haciendas with mounds of brilliant bougainvillea spilling over white walls to a dirt road that deposits you at the trail head. A steep accent to ocean view and canyon views is a favorite of equestrians so you may run into the horsey set on this trek. Most hikers take the trail up canyon with a couple of creek crossings to a secluded grove of sycamores that make a shady rest stop. Birds I’ve spotted on this walk include flickers sporting bright red mating plumage, and flocks of iridescent green Mexican parrots on the run. You can rock-hop up canyon if you want, or turn around and take the Zuma Loop Trail back for lovely views of this drowsy back canyon and a teasing glimpse of the azure Pacific sparkling in the distance.
For more than 10, 000 years Chumash ancestors walked here, gathering food and materials for tools and shelter. Frederick and May Rindge, “The Queen of Malibu” purchased this property in 1892 and dubbed it Rancho Malibu. Thanks to Mrs. Rindge who used every penny of her vast fortune to keep the railroads from laying track through Malibu, Zuma Canyon remains a sweet oasis of tranquility.
Stop at Spruzzo’s upstairs in the strip mall on the corner of PCH and Busch Drive on the way out of the canyon and enjoy lunch on the rooftop patio beneath sunshine yellow umbrellas. Spruzzo’s serves what is arguably the best seafood pasta in the “Bu” at a very reasonable price along with lots of other tasty choices on the menu. If you can make it past their bakery counter you have more will power than me. On summer evenings enjoy local musicians and sip a cool one while you warm your tootsies at the outdoor fire pit.
The entrance to Westward and Zuma Beach is just across the highway. A snooze on the sand capped off by the best seat in the house for the sunset makes this a great last stop for one of my favorite outdoor days!
Zuma/Trancas Canyon Trail