This loops features a mildly challenging climb up Zuma Ridge, then down and up the other side of Zuma Canyon. There are great ocean and virtually unspoiled canyon views along the way. There are also many options to extend your run or deviate from this route.
This is a popular equestrian route so watch out for horses along the way. Aside from the watering spigot for horses at about mile 7.2, there isn't any potable water on this trail. The trail along the ridge is exposed, and it will be hot in summer. Bring water. The creek will likely only be flowing in winter and spring after a good rain.
There are multiple options to extend your run and even connect up to the Backbone Trail
at the Kanan-Dume Trailhead.
There is nothing technical. The loop is 60% fire roads with the rest on well-groomed singletrack.
A mildly challenging loop easily accessed from PCH in Malibu. There are two trailheads: one at the end of Busch Drive, the other Bonsall Drive, both with parking (take your pick.) This loop can be done in either direction.
Going clockwise, follow the Zuma Ridge Trail
to where it meets the Zuma-Edison Fire Road
. Turn right and go around the closed wire gate. Descend all the way to the end, passing the equestrian watering station, to the bottom where the trail will lead you across the creek on your right. This is the beginning of the second long climb.
After a long left-hand turn, you'll take the singletrack Zuma Canyon Connector Trail
on your right. It is easy to miss but it is marked. If you find yourself going up the top of the ridge over Kanan-Dume, turn around. Follow the singletrack in a long, steady descent for about 2 miles then take a hard right up and over to the Canyon View Trail
. Alternatively, you can also continue straight down to the Ocean View Trail
. There are trail signs at this junction.
At the bottom, turn left then right to return to the Busch Drive Trailhead or run straight ahead if you came from Bonsall Drive. The trails loop in this area so it is easy to get turned around. There are trail signs and probably more than a few people so you know you are close to the trailhead(s).
For more info, see Jerry Schad's "101 Hikes in Southern California".