Newton Canyon in Malibu is a canyon in between Kanan Dume Rd. and the Zuma Ridge Mtwy. This not-so-often traveled canyon is part of the Backbone Trail, which is in total a 67-mile trail that runs across the “backbone” of the Santa Monica Mountains. This mostly shaded hike and fern-covered trails lead to some nice stretches of oak at the canyon floor, which curve with the angle of the canyon slopes. If you’re lucky enough, you can catch two very seasonal waterfalls in this area, Newton Canyon Falls and Zuma Falls. Finally this hike ends when the trail leads to Zuma Ridge Mtwy., which can be extended to the nearest road or continued via the Backbone Trail heading westward.
Distance: 5 miles (out and back)
Time: 2.5 hours
Exposure: Mostly Shaded
Elevation Gain: 800 ft
Dogs Allowed: No
Parking Fee: None
We hiked a bit More than what is described in the Write-up hence the 6.31 miles. Elevation profile the same.
Parking and Trailhead: We parked at the coordinates: 34.075858, -118.815319 and headed west towards the kiosk at the trailhead. Here’s a photo of the parking area:
Not much detail will go into this write-up due to the simple route of this trail. If you follow the main trail, there is no way you can lost. Although you will feel like you’re getting out of LA and lost in the shade of Newton Canyon.
The paths here are so lush, green and fresh. As you descend into the canyon, the air gets cooler and the relaxing feeling of the mountain hits you. A very comfortable hike from all the shade along the way.
At about .5 miles the trail opens up and there will be the sound of a waterfall heard from the trail. If you wish to make the side trip to Newton Canyon Falls, follow the sound of the water, there is a small use trail to the left which goes in the right direction.
After visiting the falls the elevation gains about 150 feet in this short area, a little harder, but then the hike will take a dip into the canyon.
Another elusive waterfall can actually be found on this hike. It is Zuma Canyon Falls, but unfortunately they were dry at this part of the season, maybe if you’re lucky you can catch them early spring.
As you continue on the trail, a quant bridge comes into view.
Right past the bridge the most beautiful canyon floor appears.
Continue along the canyon floor and enjoy the coolness of the oaks. The next sections of the trail open up on the ridge of Newton Canyon, but stay mostly shaded throughout the hike.
The ridge trail never splits and continues on the main track. There is one split near the end of the hike, but just take the more obvious route to the left, rather than the left. Take the most defined route and you will see a sign like this:
At this point the hike is on Zuma Ridge Rd is very boring so we recommend turning back and making it a 5 mile hike. Or you can continue to another section of the Backbone Trail, by turning left and finding the trailhead off of Zuma Ridge.
Enjoy the hike and always bring enough water!