While at Point Mugu, I decided to run the Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail. Over the last couple of months, I haven’t gotten to do as much trail running as I would like.
About the Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail:
The Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail is 10.2 miles located around Malibu, CA. It isn’t far from Point Mugu, and there are plenty of other trails around there. It’s a moderately strenuous trail with about 1200 feet of elevation gain. It is famous for hiking, trail running, birding, and mountain biking. You’ll see views of the ocean and the Santa Monica Mountains.
My Experience at the Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail:
Elevation: 1200 feet gained
The Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail uses a few trails, including Sycamore Canyon Trail, Backbone Trail, Overlook Trail, and Scenic Trail. You can park at the Big Sycamore Canyon Campground but keep in mind it doesn’t open until 8 am. I got there around 7:30, and hard to park on the street on Route 101. This made my journey about 11 miles versus the 10.2
You start the Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail at the yellow gate. You’ll head up a fire road for a couple of miles from there. I thought the Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail would stay on the floor most of the way with small views. Why did I think that? Not much research and I didn’t know the peaks were only 1000 feet up.
After a few miles, you’ll turn onto the Scenic Trail and continue along the Sycamore Canyon Trail. This is where the trail starts to get harder, and you go further up. You’ll follow this for about .75 and then arrive at the junction of Serrano Canyon Trail (it’s tucked right behind a picnic bench and easy to miss).
The trail starts its serious climbing for a couple of miles, and these are probably the hardest miles of the Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail. These particular miles I averaged 13-14 minute miles (while the rest were between 9-10 minutes). I was lucky that the mustard flowers were in full bloom, and it was beautiful.
The Backbone Trail takes you higher, and eventually, you’ll reach the ridgeline of La Jolla Valley and the Sycamore Canyon. Just continue along the Ridgeline and stay to the left until you reach the Overlook Trail. At this point, I couldn’t imagine we would go any higher, but we just kept going up.
The Overlook Trail is where you get views of the Big Sycamore Canyon, Santa Monica Mountains, the ocean, and even Boney Peak (where I did my last trail trace).
From there, you are going down and down fast. The next few miles are relatively easy as you drop elevation and on a wider fire road. I actually saw some deer on the way down, which I did not realize were native to the area. There are rocks, so just be careful of that. I enjoyed the long downhill as the climb took it out of me.
I enjoyed my time at the Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail, and it was such a fun trail run. It’s not the most challenging or rigorous trail out there, but it does provide you with gorgeous views of the area. If you come in the April time frame, you’ll see many different flowers blooming. I definitely suggest if you are in the area!
You can see more hikes and trail runs here.
Questions for you:
Have you done the Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail?
What is your favorite trail run?