Hondo Canyon to Saddle Peak

11 or less

This is an out & back section of the beautiful Backbone trail. The trail head is 1/4 mile up the intersection of Old Topanga Canyon Rd with Topanga Canyon Blvd. Look for the Botts’ dots built into the road, which slow traffic through this area of ample roadside parking.

Google map link: https://goo.gl/maps/usmnB

Start down the single track leading from the southwest side of the road. There is sign posted which reads, “Backbone Trail.” Immediately, the trail crosses over a shallow creek where some rock hopping is required. On the other side, follow the trail to the right as it climbs up fields of green grasses.
The trail remains easy to follow as it approaches Hondo Canyon, crossing a rocky perch with a nice view up and down the canyon. From there, the track climbs the east bank of the canyon, staying high above the small creek below. The trail switches through a dense forest made up largely of California bays (and a patch or two of poison oak). In the spring, flower seekers will find intermittent purple nightshade and tree poppies along the trail. The top of the ridge is never out of sight for long, but it takes an awful lot of switchbacks to get to.
The trail finally reaches Saddle Peak Road, where one one gets a view down the other side of the ridge at the ocean below. Cross the pavement and trot up the opposing ridge to gain a slightly better perspective down on the big blue.
From the top of Hondo Canyon Trail, a section of the Backbone Trail labeled “Fossil Ridge Trail” continues west above the road for 0.6 miles, connecting to Lois Ewen Overlook at the base of the trail Topanga Lookout (the Lookout is 0.9 miles from the junction). Just across the pavement, the Backbone Trail continues, reaching Saddle Peak after one mile. Both extensions are highly recommended, and add sweeping views to the secluded hike up Hondo Canyon.
We then turn around and run back to Hondo Canyon trail.

Since this is an out & back, one can turn around sooner for a shorter run.

Please watch out for poison oak.