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blueBlack Inspiration Point - Rustic Canyon Loop

  4.0 ( 23 )

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5.1 mile 8.2 kilometer loop


Ascent: 906' 276 m
Descent: -907' -276 m
High: 1,216' 371 m
Low: 315' 96 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)


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Trail shared by Zander Göpfert

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Current trail conditions

Minor Issues 4 days ago See History
Muddy - Josepho Spur Trail is closed till 15th of June

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

Zander Göpfert

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.


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).

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.


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Apr 20, 2019
Ted Kaufmann
Apr 16, 2019
Cassie Rivkin
Mar 31, 2019
Mondo M
Mar 24, 2019
Vladimir Yanov
Mar 17, 2019
Louiza Smith
Will Rodgers State Park — 1h 30m
Feb 22, 2019
Rob Wolk
Jan 27, 2019
Damien Sutevski
Nov 17, 2018
Joe Randolph

Trail Ratings

  4.0 from 23 votes


in Santa Monica


  4.0 from 23 votes
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in Santa Monica


in California


124 Views Last Month
4,479 Since Sep 24, 2015
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

M G  
Great trail..... except the last mile which is very difficult with some rock climbing needed. Our recommendation is to do a clockwise out and back to the top. Jun 2, 2018
Like another comment said, in the last mile, there is some light scrambling. And you do a very small repel with a shoddy looking rope by the "Hidden Waterfall". Though it did look like you may be able to climb up hill to avoid that portion. It is a bit overgrown and has some tough spots, but I thought the last mile was the most fun, especially because you get to follow a creek the whole way! Jan 27, 2019
We did this trail yesterday and it was a great adventure. Currently the Josepho Spur Trail is closed, there were at least some signs lying on the ground, so I am not 100% sure about that. The Rustic Canyon Trail is almost not useable, so be prepared to walk IN the river as the trails on the side of the banks are not useable anymore and you cannot climb up the sides (believe me, we tried, and some others, too). 3 days ago

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