Backpacking the Santa Monica Mountains’ Backbone Trail
67 MILE HIKING AND BACKPACKING TRAIL IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA
The Backbone Trail traces a rollercoaster path across the spine of Southern California’s Santa Monica Mountains, traversing craggy peaks, lush canyons, and grassy ridgelines, often within view of the Pacific Ocean. It makes for a gorgeous backpacking route in winter and spring when hillsides explode with bright bursts of wildflowers and carpets of impossibly green foliage. Lack of “legal” campsites and natural water sources, however, creates a tricky logistical puzzle for hikers who want to cover its entire length in one go.
After connecting the dots on a recent eastbound winter thru-hike of the Backbone Trail, I hope to demystify this incredible route so that more people can experience what I feel is one of the best—and most challenging—multi-day backpacking trips located near a major city (that’s Los Angeles, if you’re wondering).
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“Her goal is to break the female world record for the most consecutive ultra-marathons in a row by completing 11 daily 31-mile runs,” officials said in a press release.
Hours later, I was hiking up the river, well hydrated with a smile on my face because I wasn't killing my back with all that water I used to carry. It worked!
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