Located in the Santa Monica mountains in Malibu, this spot is one of the hidden gems of Los Angeles. I couldn’t resist checking it out after reading about its history.
I learned that around 1865, Matthew Keller built a stone cottage, visible from Solstice Canyon Trail and still the oldest stone ruins in Malibu. It survived many wildfires, but was finally destroyed in the 2007 Corral fire, but the some of the walls can still be viewed from the trail, over a small stream.
Another home was built on the property in 1952. Renowned African-American architect Paul Williams designed the house for property owners Fred and Florence Roberts. The house was later featured in an issue of Architectural Digest for its stunning blend of natural features within the design, including waterfalls, creeks and trees. Today, you can see a small part of the past in the horseshoes and colorful pieces of glass glittering in the walkways at Tropical Terrace, near the building’s foundations.
As for hiking, this is mostly a flat easy hike. The Solstice Canyon Trail has well-maintained routes with some spur-trail opportunities for more adventurous travelers. The shaded canyon trail runs along a stream which leads to a constantly flowing waterfall, as well as another seasonal waterfall down the Dry Canyon Trail. It is is incredibly picturesque.
Normally I would be grateful for the shade, however, today was overcast. At one point it actually started down pouring and we had to rush back to our cars. We headed home. For a state that has so little rain, I seem to get caught in it a lot.
Sadly, this may have been my last trip to the Santa Monica mountains before we move. It’s nice to have these scenic and wild places not too far away (at least by L.A standards).
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