Modern Hiker lists Solstice Canyon as one of the three best hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains. The trailhead is located in Malibu, which is a popular home for celebrities and successful business people. It is also known for its fires. Nice expensive homes and fires do not mix very well, but their influence combines to make Solstice Canyon a pretty interesting hike.
A short hike along the Solstice Canyon trail (or a longer more strenuous hike up Rising Sun Trail), will bring you to the ruins of a burned down ranch house. The ranch house belonged to a “supermarket magnate” Fred Roberts, and was designed by Paul Williams, who also designed homes for Lucille Ball and Frank Sinatra. The house burned down in the 1982 Dayton Canyon Fire but the general blueprint remains, including fireplaces, a bathtub, an old stove, an old oven, and some partially intact walls. The house is surrounded by a number of non-native plants, and a little stream flows nearby creating a waterfall. You can scramble up the waterfall to catch some additional falls and ruins, including a set of the Roberts family handprints carved into the cement.
The ruins are pretty populated, but there was a neat little sanctuary on the eastern side of the stream (just at the end of the Rising Sun Trial) which included a statue of the Virgin Mary. I found it to be the most interesting ruin, but few of the hikers seemed inclined to stumble into it.
In general, the Solstice Canyon trail is a short easy hike. For a more difficult hike consider taking the Rising Sun Trail in and the Solstice Canton trail back. If you need more you can continue up the Sostomo trail, where you have the opportunity to run into more snakes and lizards, and to catch additional ruins and scenic views. If you haven’t had enough “ruins” for the day, you can stop by the Keller House along the Solstice Canyon trail. It is believed to be the oldest existing stone building in Malibu.
Parking is free (and limited) at the trailhead. There is attentional parking at the junction between Corral Canyon and Solstice Canyon Road, and a number of individuals “informally” parked along Corral Canyon next to the entrance, or near the 76 gas station just off highway 1.
Address: 3998 Solstice Canyon Rd., Malibu.