Backbone Trail Trek 2008
Frequently Ask Questions

Submit your BBTrek 2008 questions to

Q: What are the toilet facilities?
A: Each night we will be camping at an established campground with toilet facilities. There will be periodic "split breaks" on the trail during the day.

Q: Will we be in areas where we can get cell phone coverage?
A: There is usually poor cell phone coverage in the campgrounds. However, during the days we will be hiking over and along high ridges, which usually permit cell phone service.

Q: During the trek, will we be reachable in the event of an emergency?
A: Prior to the trek, you will be provided with an emergency number which friends or family may use to get in touch in case of an emergency.

Q: Will special dietary needs be accommodated?
A: Special dietary needs can be accommodated if the staff is notified in advance. Send your requirements to the BBTrek coordinator at

Q: I am a slow hiker. How fast is the pace?
A: We usually maintain a pace of about 2 miles per hour. However, we accommodate hikers of all abilities. There will be plenty of time to enjoy the views, take pictures, etc.

Q: I am curious about where the camping sites are located. I'm not aware of enough campgrounds spaced at the necessary distances for the hike.
A: Three of the campgrounds are on the trail: La Jolla Group Campground, Danielson Group Campground and Musch Camp. For the other nights, van shuttles will be provided to/from the trailheads. Campgrounds for each night of the trek are listed in the Itinerary on the Backbone Trek 2008 page of the SMMTC website

Q: Will there be time on the hikes to do some geocaching?
A: Yes. We will maintain a pace to allow everyone time to enjoy the views, take pictures, geocache, etc. The SMMTC website has recently been updated to include a page on geocaching, including a list of all the geocaches along the Backbone Trail.

Q: Do you anticipate there will be many wildflowers this year?
A: Yes. So far this year we have had above average rainfall. We expect there will be many wildflowers this spring. If you need a reference for wildflowers in the Santa Monica Mountains, we recommend Wildflowers of the Santa Monica Mountains, by Milt McAuley, second edition, 1996.

Q: Recently, the poisonous plant Turricula parryi (Poodle-dog bush) has been sighted in the burn areas of the San Bernardino Mountains ( Have there been any sightings in the Santa Monica Mountains?
A: According to the local National Parks System botanist, there have been no confirmed sightings the Santa Monica Mountains. However, the plant is native to this climate and local, so we must remain watchful for it.

Q: Will we be exposed to Poison Oak on the Backbone Trail?
A: Yes. We can expect to encounter Poison Oak on many sections of the trail. Due to the recent rains, it is already growing profusely. All hikers should be sure to bring protective clothing such as long pants and long sleeve shirts. If you are one of those folks who have a reaction to the plant, you should consider bringing a treatment such as "Tecnu®").