Solstice Canyon, Malibu, CA
As a picturesque, shaded canyon, Solstice Canyon is a great place to rock climb . A popular, well-maintained area with opportunities for less-traveled spurs. Highlights include a small waterfall, the oldest still-standing stone building in Malibu, and the ruins of a burned-down mansion.
Solstice Canyon is a unit of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Just a quick turn off the Pacific Coast Highway north of Malibu, the entrance to Solstice is just a few hundred feet away from the sometimes crowded beaches, but it feels a world away. A short road winds its way through a few hills and over a small stream to a moderately-sized parking lot with plenty of picnic areas, an amphitheater, and some bathrooms. This is a popular trail, and there is an overflow lot closer to the PCH.
At the north end of the parking lot you are presented with your trail options -- you can either take an easy stroll down the paved Solstice Canyon Trail heading straight in, or you can climb a staircase and dirt path that leads to the more rugged, more exposed, more secluded Rising Sun Trail. If you're up for a bit of a workout, track up the stairs to the Rising Sun Trail.