Solstice Canyon is located in the mountains of Malibu. This is an easy hike that offers many sights and hidden gems.
It features two ruins of old houses. The first house you’ll reach on the trail is the Keller House that burnt down in 2007. The second is the Tropical Terrace of Robert’s Home that burnt down in 1982. Each hold the canyon’s history and provide a unique hiking experience to see nature reclaiming territory.
I did this hike in December so the other main feature of this hike, claimed to be the “most popular feature”, a waterfall, unfortunately wasn’t falling. There was a small pond though, where I could image a waterfall to be during wetter times of the year. A metal sign points the way to the now barely-trickling waterfall at the very back of Robert’s Home.
The hike is 3.2 miles there and back and took a half hour to reach the second ruin (Roberts Home) including the time it took to stop and look at the first. To reach Robert’s Home, you follow the paved road and signs for Solstice Canyon. The trail is well-maintained and is mostly paved road and hard-packed dirt road. Most of the trail has shade due to the many tall trees covering it, so it became chilly even during the day that I visited.
My favorite part of the hike was reaching Robert’s Home and seeing how many fireplaces he had. These structures are the main survivors of the fire, and they stand tall and strange against the mountains and trees growing around and into them.
The Keller house was used as a hunting cabin. It was built by Matthew Keller around 1865 and is so believed to be the oldest existing stone in Malibu. The Corral Fire of 2007 burnt down most of it but the main house structure is still there today. It can be seen clearly from the trail if you take the first right after spotting the plaque description of the house.
Robert’s Home was the retirement home of Robert and his wife Florence. It was built by the renowned African-American architect Paul Williams. It was Robert’s dream to own a ranch and he slowly bought property in Solstice Canyon until this dream was accomplished (Robert’s home is also known as Robert’s Ranch). After Robert’s death, the pumps and pipes that protected the house from fire were not maintained and the house unfortunately burnt down in the Dayton Canyon Fire of 1982.