Zuma Ridge Trail (also known as Zuma Ridge Motorway) is a wide dirt service road that weaves northwest up the ridge west of Zuma Canyon. The hike starts at the base of the flood plane, but quickly leaves the shrubby canyon for grassy mountain slopes. The views improve as the trail climbs, offering several great lookouts over Zuma Beach, Point Dune, Malibu High School, and the ocean beyond.
Zuma Ridge Trail swings north providing long views west of Trancas Canyon. After 2.7 miles (and 1,390 feet of elevation gain), the trail comes to a marked intersection with Edison Road. Enjoy this perched view of Upper Zuma Canyon and evaluate the options.
Option 1 (the obvious one) is to turn around, for a 5.4-mile out-and-back hike.
Option 2 is to continue straight ahead and hike an additional 3.2 miles to Encinal Canyon Road for a possible car port.
Option 3 is to turn right on Edison Road and take the long way home, dropping down into Zuma Canyon and climbing up the opposite ridge. To complete this 10.6-mile loop, hike Zuma Edison Road for 3.9 miles and turn right on the Zuma Canyon Connection Trail, Take this to Ocean View Trail and descend to the Bonsall Trailhead. To return to the Busch Trailhead at the base of Zuma Ridge Trail, take the 0.6-mile Ridge-Canyon Access Trail (off the Zuma Loop Trail).
Option 4, typically completed in the opposite direction, involves an off-trail trek through the Zuma Canyon narrows to get back to Zuma Canyon Trail for an 8-mile loop. Zuma Ridge Trail leads to less-traveled corners of the Santa Monica Mountains. Parking at the trailhead and the views of the Pacific are free, so get out and enjoy!
To get to the trailhead: Follow PCH to Malibu and make a right on Busch Drive (about a mile west of Kanan Dune Road and just before Zuma Beach). Drive north on Busch Drive, turning right at the second intersection to remain on Busch Drive. The trailhead starts at the dirt parking lot at the end of the road.
Zuma Ridge Trail is also reachable from the adjacent Bonsall Road Trailhead, which also services Zuma Canyon. Those starting from Bonsall Road should take Zuma Loop Trail, which connects to Zuma Ridge Trail after 0.4 miles.
Trailhead address: Zuma Ridge Motorway & Busch Drive, Malibu, CA 90265
Trailhead coordinates:[masked], [masked] (34° 02′ 01.46″N 118° 49′ 04.87″W)