1. General Hiking Etiquette

Sandstone outcrop along Backbone Trail

Wear shoes with good tread and carry drinking water. Please demonstrate your care for our precious resources by walking lightly and not picking flowers, staying on the trail and out of the creek, following rules about pets and leash laws with your furry companion, and carrying out your trash. Invasive species are easily spread by attaching to your gear.  Be conscious to brush off your boots and check your gear before leaving the site so that invasive species are not spread to your next hiking destination.

  1. Invasive Species Alert!

New Zealand Mud Snail Prevention

New Zealand Mud Snails (NZMS) are an invasive snail species that can be found in many of the creeks and streams in the Santa Monica Mountains.  They are usually less than 5mm long and can easily get stuck on the bottom of your hiking boots.  It only takes one snail to start a colony of half a million and so it is important to brush off your boots after hiking near or in a creek.  If you come into contact with water in an area known to have NZMS, you must disinfect all gear which touched the water by cleaning and freezing for at least 8 hours, or cleaning and drying for at least 72 hours, or cleaning and soaking in hot water (>140 degrees F) for at least 5 minutes.

iii. New Millennium Trail

From 2005-2007 MRT helped to create an 11-mile loop trail known as the New Millennium Trail.  MRT strived to acquire conservation easements so that the trail could be created and link other trail systems, such as the Bark Park Trail, Juan Bautista De Anza Trail, and the Las Virgenes View Trail.  The trail traverses the mountains of Calabasas and includes opportunities to hike through native oak woodland and oak Savannah habitats including several intermittent riparian environments associated with seasonal springs. It is a popular trail for mountain bikers and offers great vista points.

  1. Cold Creek Trails

The Cold Creek Docents provide nature walks in the Cold Creek area of the Santa Monica Mountains the first Saturday of every month.  Please check our calendar on where to meet and how to RSVP.  The nature walks are also publicized in Outdoors, a quarterly online calendar published by the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service.

MRT also offers unguided recreational hiking trails in its Cold Creek Preserve.  Please note that dogs are not allowed in the Preserve.  The lower section offers easy walks along the perennial Cold Creek. Hiking can also be enjoyed through the rolling chaparral scrub basin, which is surrounded by up-turned sedimentary sandstones and intrusive basalt dikes.  A wide variety of bird life and microclimates may be encountered along the trails.  The  preserve contain the striking red shank  (Adenostoma sparsifolium), a shrub-like tree native only to Southern California chaparral land.


The Stunt-High Trail has two segments leading to the Backbone Trail at the top of Saddle Peak. (The Backbone Trail now extends 67 miles along the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains.) The lower segment offers streamside, grassland, oak woodland and chaparral habitats, while the upper trail segment offers a miniature forest of manzanita and California lilac, with outcroppings of eroded sandstone boulders.

The Cold Creek Canyon Preserve Trail has been closed since 2012 because of the risk of contaminating the clean, pure Cold Creek with the invasive New Zealand Mud Snails (NZMS).  MRT is in the process of restoring the trail so that it can minimize the risk of introducing the NZMS by unsuspecting hikers.

The Stunt-High, Calabasas Peak, Topanga Skyline, Cold Creek, Yucca and Backbone Trails are public trails; no permit or reservations are required.