Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Solstice Canyon Hike, Malibu CA

Opie - the newest
addition to our family
From the moment I heard about Solstice Canyon, I knew I wanted to take the kids and go hiking here. I mean, come on! It's in Malibu, there are ruins, streams with rock ponds and waterfall! It was calling to me! We just recently adopted a new puppy, Opie (no, he was not named after the little boy on the Andy Griffith show. He was named after my favorite character on Sons of Anarchy) and couldn't wait to break him in and take him on his 1st hike.So after he was up-to-date on all his shots, we grabbed a few of the kids friends and off we set for the Malibu Canyon!

Getting there is very easy (just punch in 3998 Solstice Canyon Rd. CA 90265 into your GPS) There is a small FREE parking lot at the first stop. If you drive a little ways further, there is another FREE parking lot that is slightly bigger. However, I am sure it fills up really fast on the weekend. We went on a weekday so we lucked out with parking. We unloaded and off we went on our adventure ... 

The first part of the trail is paved and very easy to walk, which makes it a great trail for kids ... and puppies. You will come to a bridge and after that, the trail is dirt. But it is wide and still very easy walk for kids (and puppies!). 

After walking for a short distance you will come upon a sign on the right side. You have reached the 1st of the ruins ... 

The sign tells of a settler named Sweeney who built a wood cabin. A man named Keller bought the land (and cabin) in 1901. A fire destroyed the wood cabin in 1903 and Keller rebuilt it using stone. It stood for many years until a fire in 2007 destroyed it. The outside walls remain.

You can see the structure through the trees & brush, but do not cross here.  
Even though it looks like there is a small clearing leading up to the structure, the area is surrounded by poison oak. If you just walk a few feet more, there is a clearing where you can walk over to the structure. It is gated off so PLEASE respect the area and do not climb over the gate.

BEWARE of crazy wildlife!

This is where our hike got a little interesting ... The boys and the dog walked a few feet up and myself & the girls followed a few feet behind them (still on the trail). My daughter asked, "What is that sound?" and right as we looked down, a rattlesnake slithered over the path and into the bush right next to the path. It coiled and rattled. I knew that a snake can only strike it's body length, so we took a few HUGE steps backward. I got my zoom lens and shot a picture. Now, snakes don't freak me out. Had it been, say ... a tarantula? My butt would have been outta there!! 
Well, hello!

So, even though I am not freaked out by snakes, I definitely do not want to get to know a rattlesnake up close & personal. We gently backed away and continued on, our ears & eyes on high alert.
Thankfully, we did not encounter anymore snakes, but we did see quite a few of it's relatives ... lizards. There were also lots of butterflies & dragonflies fluttering about. However, I think seeing the snake put the kids on edge a bit and after just a little bit more walking, they were done and wanted to

head back.


What little I did see of Solstice Canyon, I loved. I definitely cannot wait to get back there and hike to the mansion ruins, the stream, rock ponds and waterfall. The scenery was just beautiful, and if you go on the right day, you will have the breeze coming off the Pacific Ocean. So stay tuned for a Part II of hiking in Solstice Canyon ... hopefully without the rattlesnake encounter.

the beauty of Malibu Canyon

Oh, and how did the puppy do on his 1st hiking adventure? Well, I think this picture sums it up ...

Sleepy Puppy