Solstice Canyon hike in Malibu takes in ruins of old estate

L.A. Walks: Solstice Canyon hike brings views of ocean, canyons and the ruins of an estate

Just off the Pacific Coast Highway between Pepperdine University and Point Dume, Solstice Canyon is an unusually scenic hike to the ruins of a once-grand private estate. Along the way are magnificent views of the Pacific Ocean.

1. From the PCH, turn on Corral Canyon Road, find one of two public parking lots or grab a space on the street if you're not there early enough, about a quarter mile inland. Catch the stone stairs leading to the TRW Trail from just below the public restrooms.

2. Continue on the TRW Trail as it crosses a paved road and parking lot, then meets the Rising Sun Trail and begins to climb to the ridge. While you're climbing, enjoy increasingly dramatic views of the ocean behind you, the mountains before you and the colorful canyon-clinging hillsides around you. If you hear squawking bird calls, look into the canyon to catch sight of the bright green wild parrots.

3. The Rising Sun Trail will follow the ridge, then wind along a canyon wall dotted with sage and wild anise before beginning a rapid descent through a series of switchbacks to the ruins of the Roberts estate.

4. Architect-to-the-stars Paul Williams designed the elegant "Tropical Terrace" home for Fred and Florence Roberts in 1952. A fire destroyed the structure in 1982, but its stately skeleton remains. Wander among the dry pools where guests once swam and among the waterfalls at the rear of the residence.

5. Return along Tropical Terrace Trail, a wide dirt road (paved occasionally) through the sycamore- and oak-lined canyon.

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6. Follow the fork to your left for a shadier, quieter stroll, or stay to the right for a more direct route back to your starting point.

The stats

Distance: 3.4 miles

Difficulty: 4, on a scale of 1 to 5

Duration: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Details: Dogs on a leash are OK. Free parking. Metro bus line 534.

Fleming is the author of "Secret Stairs: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Los Angeles" and "Secret Stairs East Bay: A Walking Guide to the Historic Staircases of Berkeley and Oakland."

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