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Inspiration Point - Rustic Canyon Loop


A popular, scenic loop in Will Rogers State Park with beautiful views and picnic spots.

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1,216' 371 m


315' 96 m


906' 276 m


907' 276 m



Avg Grade (4°)


Max Grade (16°)

Dogs Leashed

Features Fall Colors · Views · Wildflowers · Wildlife

Family Friendly At just over five miles and less than 1000' of elevation, this is a great option for families who have some experience hiking. Bring water and snacks or even a picnic!


One of the most popular loops in Will Rogers State Park. This hike connects the Backbone Trail with a few other trails in the area for a terrific, mid-length day hike option.

Need to Know

Can be hot during summer. Limited water. Watch out for mountain bikers. Limited shade; bring a hat and sunscreen.


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 featured hike.

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). Rustic Canyon Trail is very overgrown and you need to bushwack or walk through mud to find your way.

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.


Shared By:

Zander Göpfert with improvements by Adam Stout and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  3.7 from 31 votes


in Santa Monica


  3.7 from 31 votes
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55 Views Last Month
6,519 Since Sep 24, 2015



Amazing view of Santa Monica, you can see Catalina Island on the left side of the photo
Aug 20, 2015 near Santa M…, CA
Steepest hill climb of the trail.
Aug 20, 2015 near Santa M…, CA
Great view of the Pacific and Santa Monica.
Sep 4, 2020 near Santa M…, CA
Admiring the view at the inspiration point at Will Rogers State Park.
Jun 17, 2015 near Santa M…, CA
Good morning Los Angeles!
Aug 20, 2015 near Santa M…, CA
Chasing the sun rise from Rogers Road.  View of Downtown Los Angeles.
Sep 23, 2015 near Santa M…, CA


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
Bad / Closed 12 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In


Apr 25, 2021
Kevin Curtis
Apr 3, 2021
Michelle Jimenez
10h 00m
Jan 15, 2021
Jay Castro
Jan 15, 2021
Micaela Holzwanger
5.2mi — 2h 48m
Aug 3, 2020
Garrett Johnston
Very fun hike! But I would not recommend for beginners. The back half has very difficult parts with steep rocky terrain + a slippery riverbed. 5.1mi — 1h 48m
Jun 29, 2020
Jun 7, 2020
Kathy Hwang
Hike with Michelle. To the bridge then to Murphy Ranch. 9.5mi — 5h 30m
Jun 6, 2020
Amy L
5.1mi — 3h 30m