Trail News

A mixture of trail news and a log of the trail work we perform in the Santa Monica Mountain Trails.


  • Etz Malloy Trail now Open! - The Etz Meloy Trail crosses privately owned land, the National Park Service has acquired property and created a trail to link the fireroad to Yerba Buena Road.

  • Trail Etiquette With so many of us enjoying our local mountains, it is probably a good time to talk about trail etiquette. CORBA and the SMMTC have (ok so mostly Steve Messer of CORBA) have put a lot of information into a brochure that outlines basic courtesies for hikers, horses and bicyclists. Read More? Tell us your thoughts. Like it? Love it? Hate it?

  • Las Virgenes Trail Extension, Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky and other dignitaries were at the groundbreaking ceremonies for "The Don Wallace Trail Project". This new trail connection has received permits from both Cal-Trans and the State Department of Fish and Wildlife. The connector has been designed and approved by the L.A. County Department of Parks and Recreation and a contract has been let to a contractor skilled in working in sensitive environments. This extension will allow access for hikers, riders, equestrians and wildlife on trails "from the Beach to the Simi Hills and Beyond". background info.

  • Let's Fix Trail Problems!
Members of the Trails Council and their friends and associates are requested to report issues regarding signage, trails and other situations that need repair:
  • Missing or vandalized signs
  • New signage requests
  • Repair/correction request trails
  • Brushing needed
  • Tread repair needed
  • Erosion correction
  • Removal of dangerous situation
  • Trailheads Access improvement needed
  • Problems may be reported to 818-222-4531 or via email, mail@smmtc.org

April 22 This was a regularly scheduled trail maintenance event. The Trails council was supporting the State Parks and SM Foundation in an Earth Day Event. Trail Maintenance was just one of several activities available for volunteers. There were approximately 40 trail volunteers, including three CSUCI volunteers and six SMMTC crewleaders. Met at the parking lot in Malibu Cree State Park. Over a hundred volunteers were present. After initial announcements, the volunteer were divided into different groups for different activities. Forty volunteers were designated for trail work. The volunteers and SMMTC crew leaders hiked approximately .5 mile the the work site. The State Parks staff had previously cut a new bench for a new section of trail approximately .25 miles long. Today’s volunteers were tasked to groom the new bench. This included sloping the inside bank and out sloping the tread. Completed work hiked back to the meeting place. Completed event. State Parks provided lunch. Total volunteer hours: 13 volunteers x 3.5 = 45.5 hours Feet of trail maintained: 1,320 ft.

April 19 Trail maintenance outing at the request of the Conejo Valley Runners. In all 10 runners participated. Volunteers met at the main parking area, at the Reagan ranch. The following work was completed: - Filled in trenches along the first 3/10ths of the trail. - Moved trail above the trench for a total of 50 feet - Leveled and smoothed bench for a total of 60 feet Total Volunteer Hours: 12 volunteers × 2.5 hours = 30 Hours Feet of trail Maintained: 528 feet

April 12 Weed Whipped 300 yds. Of trail Cleaned out 15 water diversions Rebuilt trail over one earth-slide Removed trees overhanging trail Removed brush encroaching on trail Feet of trail maintained: 3000 feet

April 08 SMMTC set up and staffed an information booth at the annual Thousand Oaks Arbor/Earth Day Celebration at the Thousand Oaks Community Park. Three SMMTC volunteers staffed the booth

April 05 This was an unscheduled event. In response to concerns of the Channel Islands National Park staff, one SMMTC volunteer traveled to Santa Barbara Island to perform a trail damage assessment in preparation for a future SMMTC trail crew maintenance trip to the island. The island is currently closed to visitors (except for those landing from private boats), due to extensive storm damage to the landing pier. The winter rains have also damaged the trail from the landing up to the Ranger Station/Campground. The Park staff is interested in repairing the damage to the trail to improve safety prior to repair of the landing and also for any visitors landing from private boats. While the repairs are not an immediate concern, they would like to have the trail repaired ahead of the landing repairs.

April 01 This was a regularly scheduled trail maintenance event. This section of trail is the last land acquisition to complete the Backbone Trail. At the time of acquisition, there was minimal work done to convert the existing social trail into a maintained trail. It still needs additional work to bring it up to the BBT standard.. There were thirteen volunteers present; nine SMMTC volunteers and four CSUCI volunteers. Met at the Yellow Gate on Encinal Canyon. We carpooled/caravanned to the trail head. Conducted toll talk and safety briefings. Began work at the trail head working in an easterly direction. We chopped weeds and light brush along the trail to create a four foot tread. We did minor lopping, mainly to increase overhead clearance for the equestrians. We cleaned out several drains and installed several new drains. Filled a short stretch of trench in the trail. Total volunteer hours: 13 volunteers x 6 = 78 hours Feet of trail maintained: 1,000 ft.

March 29 This was a Farmers Insurance team building event sponsored by National Parks Service. Volunteers met at Paramount Ranch, next to the entrance to Western Town. The Farmers Insurance team was split into 3 crews, led by Dave Edwards, Jerry Mitcham, and John Kross. After distributing tools and safety talk, we proceeded to the Medea Creek loop trail to commence trailwork. Each crew worked on a different leg of this trail. In all, crews cleared weeds and brush to bring the trail to min. 4 feet wide bench, filled in trenches, did light lopping, and cleaned out 8 drains. Work completed, everyone hiked out. Total Volunteer Hours: 36 volunteers 2 hours = 72 Hours Feet of trail Maintained: 2,620 feet

March 25 Work on the Upper Sycamore Canyon trail in PMSP was done at two sites. Both were the site of extensive damage from the recent rains. At the first site we cut in a trail on the side of a washed-out vertical creek bank which was about 7 feet high and 30 feet long. We took out a large clump of laurel sumac in the middle of the trail. Also several rocks strewn across the creek which made for an uneven crossing were cleared to make for a smooth trail. We improved access into and out of the creek crossing on both sides. Several small trees and some brush were removed. At the second site we also improved access into and out of a washed-out creek crossing. We removed several small trees to allow for temporary access to the main trail. Several more work sessions are required to fully restore the trail to a hikeable condition. About 200 feet of trail was worked.

March 18 Annual Spring Trail Work event during which Trails Council crew leaders survey and flag work areas prior to the event and lead crews on the day of the event. Volunteers met at the Conejo Canyons trailhead on Conejo Center Drive. After registration, at 8a.m. volunteers were divided into teams that ranged between 6 and 14 people, were assigned their tools, and hiked to their designated work area. The following work was completed: Team 1: Filled-in severely eroded ~50 foot section of trail Built rock wall and improved drainage to prevent future erosion Team 2: Cut in trail re-route to get around a very muddy creek area ~400 feet Team 3: Brushed, removed slough, widened bench in places in order to bring trail back to min. 4 feet of bench width (this is an equestrian trail) ~800 feet Team 4: Filled in trenched areas, cut in or restored 8 water bars ~1,500 feet Additional work accomplished Filled in deep trench at the junction of Hawk Cny trail and Hawk Cny fire road ~20 feet Work completed, everyone hiked back for a lunch provided by COSCA rangers. Total Volunteer Hours: 65 volunteers 4 hours = 260 Hours Feet of trail Maintained: 2,770 feet

March 15 Rebuilt 6 water drains Filled ruts, flattened trail and installed out-slope Cleared slough from inside and widened trail.

March 10 This was a scheduled volunteer work project on Santa Cruz Island in Channel Islands National park. Since our scheduled February trip to Santa Cruz had to be cancelled due to the weather, this was our first trip to the Channel Islands this year. The primary objective of this trip was to perform both corrective and preventative trail maintenance as a result of damage inflicted by early rain storms this year. Two SMMTC volunteers had visited the Island earlier this month to assess the damage. Project Totals: Feet of trail maintained: 5,596 (1.06 Mi.) Total Volunteer Hours: 4 volunteers X 24 hours = 96 Individual Volunteer Hours: Jerry Mitcham: 24 Hours Dave Edwards 24 Hours John Reyes 24 Hours Don Brusselars 24 Hours

March 04 This was a scheduled joint project with students from CSUCI. The object of this project was to perform routine trail maintenance on the Nicholas Flats Trail. We havent worked on this section of trail in at least 3 years, so there was much work to be done. There were 6 CSUCI Students and 14 SMMTC volunteers present. Met at the Leo Carrillo State Park day use parking lot. Three of the SMMTC volunteers, Greg Sweel, John Kross and Barry Dydyk. Began brushing the trail using the power brush trimmers. Other volunteers waited at the meeting place for the students. Students arrive. Held tool talk and safety briefings. Began work at the trail head, across the street. We split into two crews. The students and some crewleaders began by clearing the brush cuttings left behind by the earlier workers. The remaining SMMTC volunteers proceeded up the trail ahead of the brush cutter to begin tread work on the upper part of the trail. By the end of the work day, the combined crews had maintained about a quarter mile of trail. Clearing brush, cleaning drains, installing new drains and filling the trenches in the tread. Total volunteer hours: 3 volunteers x 7 = 21 hours 17 Volunteers x 6 = 102 hours Total hours = 123 hours Feet of trail maintained: 1,320

March 02 In response to concerns of the Santa Cruz Island park rangers, two volunteers traveled to Scorpion Canyon to perform a trail damage assessment in preparation for our scheduled maintenance trip later in the month.

February 25 This was an outing with the Coyote Trail Runners. In total 9 trail runners and 9 SMMTC regular volunteers participated. Volunteers met at the Wendy and Potrero trailhead. The runners ran in. The rest shuttled. The following work was completed: - Rerouted stream away from the trail on several locations in order to recover/restore the trail - Removed blockage along creek to allow the water to run back on the creek instead of running on the trail - Extensively restored sections of the trail badly rutted - Realigned the trail on several locations - Deep and steep trenches, about 4 feet deep and 10 across, were ramped and the trail restored - Cleared a land slide that pinched the trail, making it difficult to get by Work completed, we regrouped at Danielson campground. Loaded up tools. Total Volunteer Hours: 18 volunteers × 6 hours = 108 Hours Feet of trail Maintained: 3,168 feet

February 24 Assessment of storm damage in Upper Sycamore Canyon of Pt. Mugu State Park. Lots of work to be done. Trail nearly impassable in three spots.

February 22 widened tread, rebuilt 24 drains and built 2 sets of stairs dug into tread

February 11 We worked on the Saddle Creek trail in Malibu Creek SP. We cleared 2 small trees blocking the trail near the trailhead on Piuma Rd. We repaired a section of trail about 3/8 mile in where a slide occured. The slide covered some 30 ft of trail. One large inside drain was completely reworked. We brushed the trail sporadically for about 3/4 mile beginning about 1 1/4 in from the trailhead. About 4000 feet of trail was worked. A large tree fell across the trail in Dark Canyon and will require clearing with a chain saw at a later date.

February 08 Cleared two trees from Toe Stubber, three trees in Blue Canyon and two trees on the Old Boney Trail.

February 04 This was a scheduled trail maintenance event. The object of this project was to perform routine trail maintenance on the Ridgeline Trail. There were 11 SMMTC volunteers present. Met at the trailhead on Decker Road. Conducted tool talk and safety briefing. Hiked one mile to the worksite. . Began work. The trail in this area was badly overgrown and the tread eroded. We used the chain saw to cut back the overgrowth, widening the trail corridor significantly. We added many new drains to prevent future erosion. .Completed work - began hike back to meeting place.. Arrived at meeting place. Completed event. Total volunteer hours: 11 Volunteers x 6 hours = 66 hours Feet of trail maintained: 1,580

January 31 Cleared three trees on La Jolla Canyon Loop. Scouted out several other downed trees in Blue Canyon and Old Boney Trail.

January 28 Rehabilitation of trail, joint activity with Sierra Club. Addition of carsonite signs with Dale Skinner, State Parks Met at end of Reseda parking lot. Crew drove or hiked in approximately 1 mile to trail head. TC crew started at the bottom and SC crew started at the top of the trail. Goal was to widen trail, repair tread, and brush trail. The trail had significantly narrowed over time, in places only 12 inches wide. Trail widening included making significant cuts into hillsides and rock faces to try to widen to 3 feet, removal of duff and debris, and knocking down berms. Fill from the hillsides was used to repair tread. Brush was cut back to arm's length from the trail. Brush was used to block social trails going straight uphill that had created significant erosion and denuding of the slope. We repaired one switchback with an awkward slope, significantly widening it and changing the slope to make it safer. Two crew members joined Dale to place carsonite signs on this and other trails, rejoining the main crew at lunch. Lunch break. Resumed work, continuing with work described above. Finished work and hiked or drove back to parking lot Total volunteer hours: 10 volunteers x 6 hours = 60 hours Feet of trail maintained: 800

January 25 This was a scheduled project. The object of this project was to perform Spanish Broom removal on Saddle Peak. There were 5 SMMTC volunteers present. Met at the BBT trail head on Stunt Road. Held tool talk and safety briefings. Hiked up to the meadow above the water tank. Treated approximately one acre of infested area using the “cut and paint” technique. There was not a lot a broom in this area. Upon completion of broom treatment, we performed some trail maintenance on the BBT. Removed some fallen limbs cross the trail and cleaned all the drains.. .Finished work and hiked back to the trailhead. Total volunteer hours: 5 Volunteers x 3 hours = 15 hours Feet of trail maintained: 1,500

January 18 Removed downed tree on Hidden Pond Trail. Removed 4 downed trees on Blue Canyon Trail. Removed 4 downed trees and lopped bushes encroaching on Upper Sycamore Trail. Built and remove sediment from 33 water diversions on Fossil Trail. Feet of trail maintained: 7000 feet Total Volunteer hours: 60.0 hours

January 14 This was a scheduled project. The object of this project was to perform routine trail maintenance on the Canyon View Trail. There were 11 SMMTC volunteers present. Met at the Sandstone Peak parking lot. Held tool talk and safety briefings. Began work at the trail head, across the street. Generally, the trail was in good condition. The maintenance tasks performed were light lopping and slough removal.

January 05 Planning and scheduling meeting for work events thru June.

January 04 This was a scheduled, special project. The object of this project was to mitigate a potential erosion problem on and near the Staircase Beach Access Trail. We worked on this trail last fall, filling trenches, building two retaining walls and widening of the trail. Shortly after or work, there was a small brush fire near the trail. In fighting the fire, the fire crew cut a fire break on the slope near the trail, leaving a completely bare strip of slope. Not only did the firebreak leave an area susceptible to massive erosion, it also drained directly onto the trail creating a future serious erosion problem on the trail. Our objective today was to install some waddles on the slope and to install a drain near the bottom of the firebreak to divert water away from the trail. State Parks supported this project by purchasing the materials required. There were 6 SMMTC volunteers present. Met at the beach parking lot, near the firebreak. Two, twenty-five foot waddles had been dropped off nearby. We cut the waddles in half and began installing them across the firebreak. Other crew members began building an armored drain near the bottom of the firebreak. A State Parks employee arrives with two additional waddles. We installed the new waddles with the others. Total volunteer hours: 6 Volunteers x 3 hours = 18 hours Feet of trail maintained: NA

January 03 Removed cluster of trees, vines and bushes that were overhanging trail causing hazardous conditions.

November 19 This was a scheduled project with students of CSUCI. The object of the project was to perform routine trail maintenance on the Scenic Trail. There were 17 CSUCI students and 9 SMMTC volunteers present. Met at the day use parking lot of the Sycamore Canyon Campground. Held introductions, project briefing, tool talk and safety briefing. Hiked to the trailhead. Began work. Work was exclusively tread work to repair the extensive erosion that has occurred on this trail. We installed 9 new drains and cleaned out several existing drains. On the upper portion of the trail, we installed several check dams in the existing large trench in the trail. On the lower portion of the trail we moved in a large amount of soil to fill the large trench. Completed work. Hiked back to the meeting place. Total volunteer hours: 26 Volunteers x 5 hours = 130 hours Feet of trail maintained: 350

November 12 Six volunteers performed brushing, tread work, removal of rocks from trail and cut overhead branches. A power hedge trimmer made quick work of brush encroaching on the trail. Several branches that fallen across the trail were removed from the trail and drains were cleared. 1600 feet of trail were improved upon.

November 05 Eleven volunteers performed brushing, tread work, removal of rocks from trail and cut overhead branches. Two pole saws and four per hedge trimmer made quick work of brush and branches obstructing the trail. Several branches that fallen across the trail were removed from the trail and drains were cleared. 2600 feet of trail were worked on.

November 02 Held a scheduled work day on Saddle Peak. We had six SMMTC volunteers. The objective for the day was Plant new oak trees (replacements for earlier plantings that have died), and to treat new broom growth on the peak. The crew met at the dirt pull-out and then drove to the peak. We planted four new trees using cocoons which we have never used before. The cocoons require a much larger hole that the traditional planting method. The ground on Saddle Peak is very rocky meaning our task was very labor intensive. In addition there was a learning curve which slowed us down a bit. It took four us about three hours to plant the four trees, After the tree planting we used the cut and paint technique to treat new broom growth 2:00 PM Completed work. Treated approximately 1 acres.

October 25 We managed to clear the Danielson Road at the major washout to 7 feet wide. We also cut in a new water drain just above this spot. This ensures that the Gator can get by this spot and haul our tools, etc. to the work site on Dec 7

October 22 This was a follow-on trail maintenance project. The work needed is now complete. A total of 17 CSUCI student volunteers were present, in addition to 6 SMMTC regular volunteers and crew leaders.. Volunteers met at the parking area for the Staircase Beach. We split into 4 groups and proceeded to the trailwork areas. The following work was completed: - Widened 100 feet of the lower section of the trail - Built two rock walls to fix washouts on the lower section of the trail - Lopped and brushed 100 feet around the middle section of the trail - Filled, with road base, ditches in the first 180 feet of trail Total Volunteer Hours: 23 volunteers @ 6 hours = 138 Hours Feet of trail Maintained: 380 feet + 2 rock walls

October 16 Community Outreach at the Thousand Oaks Street Fair.

October 15 This was the annual Conejo Open Space fall trail day event. The project was in the Western Plateau Area and covered several trails in the area. There were approximately 150 community volunteers, including 15 SMMTC volunteers. Collaborated with the COSCA Rangers and held briefings on the project. There were three general areas to work. Screamer Trail, the largest effort was to cut in a 0.5 mile new section of trail, requiring 6 crews. The Hill Canyon Connector Trail, a section of old road to be converted to single track trail requiring 3 crews. Lastly the Hawk Canyon Connector Trail a new connector trail to be cut in requiring 3 crews. Formed the volunteers into crews of ten and dispatched them to the work areas. For the “Screamer Trail”. the route had already been brushed. The volunteers cut about 0.4 mile of new bench, removing many stumps in the process. The “Hill Canyon Connector Trail” crews removed much brush, smoothed tread and installed several drains. The “Hawk Canyon Connector Trail” crews, cut in 0.1 mile of new bench, removed vegetation and smoothed the tread for 0.2 miles. Total volunteer hours: 15 Volunteers x 5 hours = 75hours Feet of trail maintained: 5,800

October 12 Widened trail removing brush from uphill side, removing slough and rocks from uphill side, sloping trail to outside to ensure water doesn't collect on trail. 800 Feet

October 08 Work was on the Phantom trail beginning about 1/2 mile from trail head at end of Liberty Canyon Rd. Work consisted entirely of tread work, mostly widening the trail, fixing old water drains and adding some new ones. We repaired or fixed 13 water drains. About 2000 feet of trail was worked. This was a Red Flag day which prevented us from weed whipping several very weedy sections. The Phantom trail needs lots of work from one end to the other, particularly the middle one mile or so of the 2.8 mile trail.

October 01 Met at locked gate and drove to designated parking. Hiked 2.3 miles to work area. Upper 1000 feet of trail was very rutted due to poor drainage. We repaired existing inside drain where possible and built four new drains to take water off the trail. Brushed trail to 6 foot width and cleared sluff to provide a four foot tread. Due to condition of trail we only completed 1000 feet of trail maintenance.

September 24 This was the annual National Public Lands Day. The Trails Council supported State and National Parks in organizing and executing the event. There were 9 SMMTC volunteers and numerous other community volunteers present. 8:30 AM Met at Malibu Creek State Park. Coordinated with park officials to establish crew assignments and leaders. The trail council was assigned two crews to work on the Chaparral Trail. . 9:30 AM Community volunteers arrived. After sign in, volunteers were assigned to crew leaders. The Trails Council volunteers hiked to the trailhead. We picked up tools at the trail head. One crew began work at the eastern end of the trial, the other crew started at the western end of the trail. Conducted tool talk and safety briefing at eh trailheads. State Parks personnel had already brushed the trail, so we only had to do tread work. Many established drains were cleaned out and several new drains constructed. Trenched sections of the trail were filled in throughout the trail. 11:30 AM Completed work. Hiked back to the meeting place. 12:00 PM NPS provided lunch for all volunteers. (Trails Council provided funds to the park service to purchase the lunches) Total volunteer hours: 9 Volunteers x 3.5 hours = 31.5 hours Feet of trail maintained: 2,100

September 21 Rebuilt three switchbacks including inside drains. Blocked numerous use trails with old discarded brush. Widened stretch of trail removing rocks and sloped to outside to remove water. Removed brush overhanging trail. Feet of trail maintained: 1320 feet Total Volunteer hours: 50.0 personhours

September 19 Dave and John provided Crew leader support ofr several groups of UCLA students at the Los Liones Trail. We worked 4 hours. My crew of 11 did brushing and John's crew of 10 cut in new water drains. There was a total of 128 UCLA volunteers. It was their 8th annual UCLA Volunteer Day. The remainder of students spent their time dragging brush to a roadside dumpster.

September 17 This was a scheduled project with the UC Outfitters Club of USC. The object of the project was to perform routine trail maintenance on the BBT. There were 8 UC students and 12 SMMTC volunteers present. 8:30 AM Met at the large dirt pull out at the 9.0 mile marker on Yerba Buena Road. Held introductions, project briefing, tool talk and safety briefing. 8:45 AM Began work. We accessed the trail about 0.1 mile from the Yerba Buena trailhead. We performed light lopping, removed slough, roots/stumps and cleaned the drains at the four switchbacks. 2:00 PM Completed work. Hiked back to the meeting place. Total volunteer hours: 20 Volunteers x 6 hours = 120 hours Feet of trail maintained: 1,580

September 10 SMMTC volunteers arrive and discuss trail condition, division of tasks, and students. Meet Pepperdine students, sign-in, distribute gloves and tools. Safety talk. Split into 2 groups and hike in to work area and begin work. Two SMMTC crew leaders took 3 students and worked on the eastern portion. Three SMMTC crew leaders took 7 students and worked on the western portion. The eastern crew lopped brush. The western crew improved the trail tread, lopped brush, and cleaned 4 water diversions. Both groups meet and combine work. Stopped work and proceed back to parking area. Return tools and gloves. End of work day.

September 03 Met at Malibu Sector HQ parking lot. Widened the trail to the first turn: removing and bagging invasive ice plant and significant dog excrement, excavating hillside to widen trail bed and shoulder, filling in eroded sections. Rework of next segment of trail to remove deeply cut drainage from the trail. Cleared brush from hillside and excavated to create outside drainage down to the outside edge of the ~ 30 foot drop to the beach. Filled in the badly eroded trail with excavations brought by wheelbarrow down from the top and from roadbase supplied by State Parks. Replaced worn, short railroad ties and created new railroad tie steps on steep curve to mitigate erosion and to divert hikers away from the drop off. Total volunteer hours: 7 volunteers x 6 hours = 42 hours Feet of trail maintained: ~400, 5 steps created