Backbone Trail - Trailhead Improvements Project

The Back Bone Trail (BBT), a National Recreation Trail, traverses the Santa Monica Mountains from Point Mugu State Park on the west to Will Rogers State Historic Park on the east. The BBT passes through State and Federal holdings with a small length passing through other agencies and over public easements from private land owners.  Providing access to the trail are over than 30 ingress/egress points or trailheads, varying from well “furnished” or improved to nothing more than a location where you can enter or exit the BBT.

The Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council (SMMTC) has put together a project to improve a select group of trailheads with amenities defined below. The project provides improvements to twelve BBT trailheads, broken down into four subprojects.

Implementation of the project will be by a team comprising agency representatives from National Park Service and California State Parks along with SMMTC members and volunteer organizations.

The Agencies and the SMMTC will provide guidance and much of the funding and materials.

Trailhead amenities were designed to provide a BBT user with a satisfying entry/exit to the BBT. Not all amenities will apply to every trailhead but will be applicable depending on usage and accessibility.

Michelob Ultra and the American Hiking Society awarded a grant of $21,800 to the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council through participation in the 2016 "Go The Extra Mile Fund" initiative. Twelve trails across the country were selected and competed for a share of $200,000 based on the percentage of online votes each received. Funds granted to the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council will support improvements and maintenance of the recently completed Backbone Trail within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area. Designated a National Recreation Trail by the United States Department of the Interior in June 2016, the Backbone Trail, sixty-seven miles long was decades in the making.


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Trailheads Included in This Project
Project Site Amenities/Improvements
Ray Miller TrailheadTrailhead Kiosk
Danielson Group CampgroundTrailhead Kiosk
Mulholland HighwayTrailhead Kiosk, Picnic table & improve signage
Encinal Canyon RoadTrailhead Kiosk & Picnic table
Latigo Canyon RoadTrailhead Kiosk & Picnic table
Corral Canyon RoadTrailhead Kiosk & Picnic table
Piuma Trailhead on Malibu Canyon RoadPicnic table and update kiosk
Piuma Road at Hairpin TurnKiosk and bench
Dead Horse Parking LotAdd map and BBT sign
Musch MeadowTrailhead Kiosk, and improved signage
Musch CampgroundKiosk
Will Rogers Historic State ParkAdd Kiosk at parking lot at bottom of the scenic loop
The Four Project Groups
  1. Ray Miller, Danielson Group Campground, Coral Canyon Road
  2. Latigo Canyon Road, Encinal Canyon Road, Mulholland Highway
  3. Piuma TH @Malibu Canyon Road, Piuma Road @Hairpin Turn
  4. Dead Horse Parking Lot, Musch Meadow, Musch Camp, Will Rogers State Historic Park
The Complete Plans in PDF Format
The amenities are:
  • An information kiosk to present the BBT map with a “YOU ARE HERE” arrow, and other agency specific information.
  • Picnic table.
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Activity Report: November 18/19 2017
“On Saturday the SMMTC advisors met with the Eagle Scout candidate and a crew of eight Boy Scout volunteers. The group caravanned to the BBT trailhead at the end of Coral Canyon Road. The task here was to assemble a six foot picnic table and to install the legs for a display kiosk (the actual display case to be installed later). The most challenging part of this day was to dig two holes for the legs into solid rock. This took several hours of hard labor. The legs for the case were put in the holes and cemented in place. The picnic table was assembled quickly and was in place by lunch time. Within an hour of completing the table, the first hikers were there to put it to good use. On Sunday, the SMMTC advisors met with the Eagle Scout candidate and his crew of eleven boy scout volunteers. The volunteers caravanned to the Ray Miller BBT trailhead in La Jolla Canyon. The only improvement for this trailhead was to install a display kiosk. The first task was to remove the remains of the original kiosk destroyed in the Springs fire. The remnants of the old kiosk were removed and new kiosk legs cemented in place. The crew then drove to the Danielson Campground in Sycamore Canyon to dig the holes for the display kiosk. The crew will return to all three locations in a couple of weeks to install the display cases on the new legs.”
Activity Report: December 2 2017
This was the third workday of an Eagle Scout project to implement the first sub project of the TH Improvements Project. This workday resulted in the completion of installation of fixtures at the Coral Canyon, Ray Miller and Danielson Ranch Backbone Trail trailheads. The previous two workdays of this subproject installed the legs for thedisplay kiosks at each trailhead. Today's tasks were to complete the assembly of the kiosk, add a "Backbone Trail" sign and attach the kiosk to the previously installed legs. There were two SMMTC volunteers (plus one adult scout member) and four minor boy scouts present. Arrived at the Coral Canyon trailhead. Began work. Attached the pre-assembled roof and added the custom made "Backbone Trail" sign to the Kiosk. Stood the kiosk upright and attached to the legs. Carpooled/caravanned to the Ray Miller BBT trailhead in La Jolla Canyon. Arrived at the Ray Miller Coral Canyon trailhead. Began work. Attached the pre-assembled roof and added the custom made "Backbone Trail" sign to the Kiosk. Stood the kiosk upright and attached to the legs. Carpooled/caravanned through Sycamore Canyon to the BBT trailhead at the Danielson Ranch Group Campground in Sycamore Canyon. Arrived at Danielson Ranch Group Campground. Began work. Attached the pre-assembled roof and added the custom made "Backbone Trail" sign to the Kiosk. Stood the kiosk upright and attached to the legs.. Total volunteer hours: 3 Volunteers x 6 hours = 18 hours Feet of trail maintained: NA