Past Meetup

Puerco Canyon Motorway to Backbone/Mesa Intersection (Conditioning Hike)

This Meetup is past

3 people went

Puerco Canyon Trailhead

3800 Puerco Canyon Road · Malibu, CA

How to find us

Driving my blue X5, 818.618.7897

Location image of event venue


This hike will start at the end of Puerco Canyon and proceed to the Puerco Motorway. We will take that until we reach the crossroads of the Backbone Trail and Mesa Peak Motorway. We will stop at the picnic table and grab a bite and then head back. This should make the hike around 7 miles.

Hope to see you on the trails,

Our hike format emphasizes easy-to-access and scenic 5-8 mile Malibu-area conditioning routes with[masked] foot elevation gains, a relatively fast pace with a single rest stop, and optional technique discussions and conditioning exercises (based on individual and group interest). Total hiking time is normally 2.5-3 hours.

We schedule our hikes as late in the day as the season allows, minimizing hiking in the dark while encouraging people with a variety of schedules to get one or more conditioning hikes in during the week and tune-up for bigger adventures.

Here is info on our scheduled hike…hope to see you there!

We also need to thank James Cameron for keeping this hike on the books.

Puerco Canyon to Mesa Peak Motorway

Hike Type: Conditioning

Level: Intermediate

Route Type: Up & back

Distance: 7 miles

Elevation gain:[masked] feet

Terrain: Fire road

Dogs allowed: No

Route summary:

Our hike will take us 7-9 miles roundtrip up to one of the most beautiful sections of the 60-mile Backbone Trail, which runs through the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area from Will Rogers State Park in the east to Point Mugu in the west.

The route begins at the gate on Puerco Canyon Road, just off PCH, and proceeds northerly roughly 3.5 miles and 2000 feet up to a long ridgeline trail that leads to Mesa Peak, with spectacular Pacific views. The terrain is open fire road. Depending on the group and available time, we normally add an additional 2 miles of traverse and sight-seeing along the Backbone Trail after reaching Mesa Peak, which adds roughly 500 feet of elevation gain.

The route begins near the ocean but quickly gives way to open hillsides and ridgelines. Since we begin a short distance from the beach and reach exposed areas above the Pacific, weather can range from calm and humid to misty with ocean winds to quite warm and dry conditions. We will stop at Mesa Peak, or at the endpoint of our optional traverse, to grab a snack and enjoy the great view.


Please wear – brush-resistant pants, one or more wicking shirts appropriate to the temperature, comfortable hiking shoes or light boots, your favorite undergarments and accessories, and a light backpack.

Please bring – at least two liters of water, snacks, an extra layer of clothing, a charged cell phone, identification, a headlamp, a small first-aid kit, bug repellant and sunscreen, a waterproof shell if rain is forecast, and any medications or anything else you might need on the trail.


There is free parking on Puerco Canyon Road.

Please do not leave anything of value in your car, at this or any other trailhead.


From the 101 - Exit Las Virgenes Road and head south toward the ocean. Go approximately 10 miles to PCH. Go right at PCH, drive 1.2 miles, and then turn right onto Puerco Canyon Road.

From PCH - Go to Puerco Canyon Road, which is located on PCH, 1.2 miles west of Malibu Canyon Road.



The hike host is a volunteer and not responsible for the group. Safety should be a priority for everyone in the group. If you become fatigued and unable to continue the hike, it is expected you will advise the hike host of this and return to our starting point on your own. If you are able to proceed, it is expected that you will maintain line of sight with other members of the group at all times and help to promote the group’s safety and fitness goals.

Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you are taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Malibu Hiking Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in events. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.

WAIVER OF LIABILITY: This group, its organizer, assistant organizers, event organizers will not be held responsible for any injuries or accidents that may occur carpooling to and from hikes, or for any injuries or accidents before, during, and after group hikes. If you sign up and come on this hike outing you are acknowledging that you freely and voluntarily assume all risks of injuries and damages and agree to participate in the hike/outing. No +1s or guests allowed at Malibu Hiking events. All attending must be group members.

All participants must be 18 or older, or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.