Castro Crest

Back in the Santa Monica Mountains this week, hiking the section of the Backbone Trail from the top of Corral Canyon to Newton Motorway.  There were several interesting sights and it was nearly empty on this cloudy day.

1     2     3   I parked in the same lot I did when I hiked Bulldog Motorway a few months back.  A large fire was started right in this area a few years ago so there are signs reminding people to be smart and cautious.  The main trail runs to the left.  However, I spent the first 45 minutes exploring these rocks and caves near the parking lot in the opposite direction.

5               6

4               20

7     8     9   There was some structure here once, possibly a house.  Down some crumbling dirt and concrete stairs is what appears to be where a pool, built right up against the rocks, once lay.

10                    13

14   Here is a cave, sort of hidden behind a tree.  It’s hard to get a good picture inside the cave because a tree is in the way.  When you squeeze past the tree you’re too close to get a full shot.  Photo 2 is of the top of the cave.

11     12   One can climb down the rocks next to the cave and continue to explore.  There is something of a trail down there.


Remnants of a structure were next to this rock as well, as if a cabin were built right on top of solid rock.

16               17

18               19

More shots around the rocks.  Across the way, a water tower painted with the same “worm” graffiti that is on the old pool.

21       22      23       24

Now on the Backbone Trail.  There are only a couple of junctions along the trail and they are clearly marked.

25               26

After hiking through a well shaded canyon I finally began to climb up to some nice views.


Climbing to the peak.

28       29      30       31

32   The antennae at the top of the mountain can be seen from miles and miles away.  They are one of the landmarks I always use when viewing the Santa Monica Mountains from other mountain ranges.  The Backbone Trail meets Newton Motorway almost three miles into the hike.  I took the Motorway up the hill toward the antennae, but this is about as close as one can get to the top.  Plastered with hostile and threatening signs, here is the infamous gate that blocks the trail.

36               35

34               33

The view from the gate is very nice.  These four shots are panning from left to right.

38               39

Now heading back down Newton Motorway.

37   These rocks look like a dinosaur skull.

40       41      42       43

Photo 1 – Looking back at the peak.  Photo 2The hike took me around a bend to new views, including this Geodesic Dome.  Photos 3 and 4 – The rocks on the trail have interesting circular and oblong patterns on them.

44               45

46               47

Now heading back on the Backbone Trail.  About a mile and half of this section of trail is under cover and crosses the stream several times (all the stream crossings were dry on this day). Watch out for poison oak.

48     49   Nice day, thank you Castro Crest.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *