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Hike Up Puerco Canyon

Today we take you on a hike through the Cameron Nature Preserve off of Puerco Canyon Road—a popular trail for hikers, bikers, and equestrians. The Puerco Canyon fire road leads you past several side roads and trails. Most notably, the ruins of an old ranch presumably consumed by a brush fire. (To my amazement there is little documentation of this ranch or its demise on the internet.) We hiked up the trail to an altitude of 1,835 feet—a distance of 7.5 miles up and down. Around each turn we were greeted by gorgeous views of Point Dume and Coral Canyon. Great thing about this hike is that the great views are almost instant, so you can turn around for home satisfied if you don’t have the time. Round trip took us about 3 hours with time spent hiking, enjoying the beautiful views, and exploring the interesting things along the way.

As previously mentioned, there are many small trails that lead off of the Puerco Canyon Fire Road. One we found most interested was labeled with a newer-looking sign for the “Coastal Slope Trail”. It led through a large piece of flat land, on through the brush and across the mountain. Once we got back to the office, we decided it was worth some research—and there was a lot to be discovered.

The Coastal Slope Trail has been a long term project to connect 15 public spaces throughout the Santa Monica Mountains from Point Mugu Lagoon to Topanga State Park with a 70-mile-long trail. This particular stretch is a newer addition, conceived when James Cameron sold his 24 parcel area of land to the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority for $12 million in 2014. Eventually, the MRCA hopes to introduce a overnight group camp ground to the area.

At the peak of the hike we spotted an old structure off the fire road along a small trail. We made an interesting discovery of a small old building and a set of solar panels. Old electrical wires wrapped around iron posts and the door inside was bolted shut. We enlisted Ryan, ATM assistant operations manager, to do a little investigating in the rusted out hole in the roof, to no avail. We are still completely clueless of what purpose this communications-looking building once served. Our descent took about 45 minutes and we treated ourselves to breakfast at Ollo as a reward for our busy morning.