Corral Canyon is nestled just off the PCH and offers some spectacular views of the coastline. This 2.5 mile, dog-friendly loop is the perfect hike to do in the morning before grabbing lunch at Malibu Seafood and then hitting the beach afterwards to cool off - in fact, that's exactly what my friend and I did on our first trip to the Corral Canyon Trail.
The Corral Canyon Loop begins right off PCH in a parking lot located next to Malibu Seafood and Deli. There is a five-dollar fee to park in this lot and it fills up quickly around lunch time due to it's close proximity to the restaurant, so if you don't get there early enough to snag a spot, you'll have to wait it out or search the southern side of the PCH for an open spot.
There is a sign pointing out the beginning of the trail at the northeast corner of the lot. The path promptly descends to Corral Creek. You will make your way over the creek and through a somewhat marshy area before coming to a junction. This is where the trail loop begins and ends.
I recommend heading left into the canyon as this route gives you the best pay off after your ascent to the top. Shortly after you head left you will pass through the remains of an old home - you will see what is left over of the chimney and a bit of the unnatural landscaping. After this point the climb begins and you will start switching up the east side of the canyon. There is a lot of overgrown, tall grass in this area so do be mindful of ticks and where long pants to avoid too many little scratches.
As you make your way up the canyon the views will continue to get better and better. When you find yourself nearing the top of the mountain you will find a path that splits off and up to the left. If you want to enjoy some fantastic panoramic views of the coastline and beyond I definitely recommend pooping off the main trail for a moment and taking it all in from this vista point.
After you have had your fair share of the gorgeous views, head back to the main trail you were on before. This is my favorite part of this hike - after you have trudged your way up the canyon, under the hot sun, you will be pretty sweaty and tired - the descent with it's cool ocean breeze and beautiful views make all the hard work worth it.
Eventually, after a descent of about 2/3 of a mile, you will find yourself back at the junction. Make a left here where you will hop back over the creek and return to the parking lot where your journey originally began. If the nice breeze and the great views weren't enough of a reward for you after this hike, be sure to hit Malibu Seafood & Deli afterwards to endulge in some delicious (fried!) fish! The line can be intimidating, but don't let it deter you - the line is fast moving and the food is so worth it.
As mentioned before, this is a dog-friendly park, and it's best to arrive earlier in the day! Not only will the earlier bird catch a great parking spot, but with the lack of coverage on this trail, you'll save yourself from an exhausting, sweaty hike!
Address: 25653 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
Forgive my map - normally they are interactive, but the html for this map was acting up. If you want to view a more detailed map check it out here: http://www.mapmywalk.com/routes/view/519700370