“A popular, scenic loop in Will Rogers State Park with beautiful views and picnic spots.”
— Zander Göpfert
One of the most popular loops in Will Rogers State Park. This run connects the Backbone Trail
with a few other trails in the area for a terrific, mid-length day hike option.
Features: Fall Colors — Views — Wildflowers — Wildlife
Need to Know
Can be hot during summer. Limited water. Watch out for mountain bikers.
A mixed tread with dirt and rocks.
From Will Roger State Park, take the Inspiration Loop Trail
as it bends to the southwest and back to the north. After around one mile on the dirt trail, you'll see a sign for the Backbone Trail
, turn left and continue up (north) onto the Backbone Trail
This singletrack trail has some loose rock in the first section but nothing too technical. After reaching the high point of the loop at around 2.2 miles, the first junction comes up with the Josepho Spur Trail
. Turn right onto the Josepho Spur Trail
. The Backbone Trail
continues to the north quite a ways to The Hub. For more info, see The Hub Out-and-Back
Once on the Josepho Spur Trail
, dive down to the northeast until you come to the Rustic Canyon Trail
. Turn right and head south on the Rustic Canyon Trail
as it heads along the west side of Murphy's Ranch and the Murphy Ranch
trail (which you'll see pass on the left after ~0.5 miles).
Continue south on Rustic Canyon Trail
as it gradually descends through the chaparral with views out over Riviera and West L.A. before arriving back at the Will Rogers State Park parking area.
Flora & Fauna
Prepare to encounter a lot of wildlife if you go early, such as deer, foxes, and sometimes coyotes. Poison oak!
History & Background
Backbone Trail is one of the most famous trails in California. This loop heads by Murphy's Ranch, which was a camp built by anti-semitic sympathizers of the Silver Legion of America back in the 30's with a lot of secret spots to explore.