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Outdoor Day in L.A. # 45-It's a Newton Day

HIker on Shady Kanan Trail
HIker on Shady Kanan Trail
Linda Ballou

The Newton Canyon Trail head off Kanan Dume Road, just north of Tunnel#1, provides access to two great hikes. Most trail guidebooks send you up over the tunnel on a back country walk through vine-covered slopes with vistas of the ocean in the distance. I entered the path to the right that takes you through a shady woodland, cool in the shadow of the mountain, where frilly ferns and mosses dress up the forest floor. This option which is a stretch of the Back Bone Trail that extends the length of the Santa Monica Mountains, takes you on a switchback down to a ledge overlooking Newton Waterfall where sun-shot sycamore leaves shadow a secret glen. There is a trail that goes down the canyon that allows the intrepid a view of the fall from the bottom, but it calls for a bit of scrambling and is not recommended. Stay on the main trail enjoy sunshine and a view of Zuma Canyon with the sparkling Pacific. This trail hugs the ridge overlooking a canyon with a sleepy creek fringed with black walnut trees. It is lined with the usual coastal shrubs and Coyote bush flush with white blooms. Yellow-rumped warblers flit happily in the chaparral, while Towhees scratch in the leaf litter and butterflies waft on the breeze. This roly-poly, well maintained trail crosses three bridges on the way to Encinal Canyon Road where it makes sense to turn around.

The Malibu Café a few miles up Kanan is a secluded respite tucked inside the Calimigos Ranch. Check out their site for hours and to make reservations. They pride themselves on chic outdoor dining with gourmet cuisine. If you want something more casual with the tang of a sea breeze, roll down Kanan to PCH, take a right and go to Point Dume Plaza. There you will find a host of eateries with outdoor tables, and lounges enjoyed by Malibu locals. Check out the Bank of Books while you are there. You will find loads of bargains on used books, a great selection of regional books and books by local authors, including my very own, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales