Posts tagged malibu
Escondido Falls - Malibu, CA

This rainy weather we're experiencing in Southern California right now has inspired me to FINALLY get my post up about our hike to Escondido Falls. I can only imagine after a long weekend of steady rainfall the waterfalls will sure to be flowing!

The hike to Escondido Falls is about 4 miles of fairly easy terrain. The waterfall has three tiers. The lower tier is about 50 feet high and the easiest of the three to reach. The upper tier, which you can imagine is more difficult to reach, is around 150-feet tall. From what I hear, it's incredibly stunning when the water is flowing in full force. Unfortunately, the day we made our journey was after a few weeks of dry weather, so we didn't attempt to climb to the upper falls.

The hike begins with 0.75 miles uphill along Winding Way, a paved road, just off the PCH that is lined with incredible homes Spanish and Mid-century modern style homes. Quite honestly, this was the toughest climb (and least exciting) of the day. Don't let this small part of your trip scare you off - you'll reach the trail in no time and the waterfall, even at low-flow, is well worth it. You'll gain about 200 feet on this paved climb, then the road will begin to head downhill and drop you at a wooded public park entrance.

The dirt path just past the park sign will take you down through a field of fennel and mustard and on into the woods where a small creek flows. Cross over the creek, and make a left turn headed upstream into the canyon. From here on out the trail is fairly level as it wanders through the forest and field. Thanks to our Spring season timing, we were lucky enough to enjoy a trail lined with beautiful wildflowers along the way. You will need to cross the creek bed a few more times, which I'm sure is a bit more daunting after a good rain, but it should still be easy enough terrain for anyone to navigate. 

What I loved most about this hike were all the serene little pockets along the trail you could sneak off to grab a snack or just sit and listen to the creek flow. We popped off the trail to sit by a tiny little waterfall amidst the creek to snacked on some Three Jerk's Jerky and just take it all in.

After you've been on the dirt trail for about a mile the trail will begin to ascend about 150 feet from a low spot below the road and then you will arrive at Lower Escondido Falls! The beauty of these falls without much water is simply stunning, I can only imagine what it is like on a real flowing day. There are lots of large rocks at the base of the falls where you can set up, take it all in or enjoy a little picnic. Some people complain of a natural sulfuric smell, but that isn't something we noticed. For us, the lower tier of the falls was a far as our journey took us.

There were many other hikers setting off to explore the upper falls. There is a steep trail to the right of the falls lined with tree roots and ropes to help guide your way. If you choose to go this route, make sure you have the proper footwear and attire and hike at your own risk! 

When you're done relaxing by the falls, simply follow the trail back the way you came!

How to get there: Take the PCH to Winding Way in Malibu. Winding Way is a small street about 4.5 miles west of Malibu Canyon Road on the north side of the PCH. There is a free parking lot for the trail on the left at the bottom of Winding Way. Overflow parking can be found along the PCH.

Address: 27807 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265

Zuma Ridge Trail - Malibu, CA

Zuma Ridge Trail or the Zuma Ridge Motorway is a fairly wide dirt service road that meanders it's way up the western ridge of Zuma Canyon. This easy to follow trail is roughly 5.7 miles out and back and as you continue to climb the views open up looking out over Point Dume, Zuma Beach and Malibu High School.

From the small parking lot head north-west to the Zuma Ridge Trailhead (there is a large sign - you can't miss it). 

The trail is incredibly easy to follow, you will simply follow the dirt service road, ignoring any smaller off shoot trails. If you're hiking on a weekend, don't be surprised if you hear some cheering from down below - it's most likely a sporting event at Malibu High School. You also might have the pleasure of passing by some friendly horseback riding groups.

Around 2.75 miles into your hike you will come to a junction - take the trail that ascends to the right (north-east). This is the last push to the top where you will find yourself with some spectacular views out over Zuma Canyon and the Pacific Ocean. 

If you're feeling especially adventurous you can follow Zuma Edison Rd. trail to Kanan Edison Rd and then on to Ocean View Trail to greatly extend your mileage - if not, simply turn back and came back the way you came. Doubling back will leave you with a solid 5.7 mile hike - which, on a hot day with little coverage from the sun was enough for me!

How to get there: Take the PCH out to Malibu and make a right on Busch Drive (a mile west of Kanan Dune Road and just before Zuma Beach). Head north on Busch Drive, stay right at the second intersection in order to remain on Busch Drive. You will dead end at the dirt parking lot at the end of the road.

Address: Zuma Ridge Motorway & Busch Drive, Malibu, CA 90265

Corral Canyon - Malibu, CA

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:

Malibu Creek State Park - M*A*S*H Set Location

Malibu Creek State Park is one of many incredibly beautiful hiking areas in the Santa Monica Mountains. This park is the previous location ranch of 20th Century Fox studios who owned the land between 1946 and 1974. They shot a number of different TV shows and movies here including M*A*S*H between 1972 - 1983 (more information here). There are a number of different trails you can wander off on in this park, but for this particular post I'll be discussing Crags Road (the lower part of the canyon) - the trail that will lead you out to the M*A*S*H Set Location! 

This hike was about 2 hours, and ended up being a round trip of 6 miles - but I think that's mostly in part due to a couple of our missteps in our directions and some exploring. Typically, this hike toward the set location and back should only run you about 1.5 hours and end up being between 4.5-5 miles roundtrip. 

Malibu Creek State Park is located in the Malibu Canyon (detailed directions are listed below). When you enter the park you will need to stop at the ranger station and purchase the parking pass which is $12. After you purchase your parking pass head down to the furthest parking lot. Here you will find some bathrooms and a few drinking fountains. After you park, make your way back to the road you drove in on. There you will find a marked entrance leading you down to the backcountry trails. 


Follow this path and almost immediately you'll find yourself crossing a bridge over the creek. We happened to come on a very busy Fourth of July weekend - it was super busy and there were a lot of families swimming and playing in the water below. 


Once you cross the bridge you will continue on the fire road past the Grassland trail on right until you meet an intersection. You have two options here that will essentially drop you off in the same spot. Your first option is to take the Low Road to the left over the creek. Your second option is to follow the High Road on the right that continues on in a more shaded area alongside the creek. 

We decided to take the Low Road on our way in to the canyon (and we took the High Road on our way back to the car - we needed the shade!). As I said, this path will take you over the creek - however, at this point in time we're in the middle of a drought so unfortunately there wasn't much creek to be seen here. 

After you pass over the creek you will eventually find yourself at the Visitor Center and yet another bridge that crosses over the creek. Follow the bridge, ignoring the dirt paths on your left. Continue on straight, past the High Road on your right, and follow the trail that ascends up into the hills. 

This path will continue to climb offering you some really great views of the Grassland hills and Goat Buttes. At this point, if it's a busy weekend you're sure to hear playful yelling from the creek and the dam below. The trail will begin to descend once you past the steep Lookout Trail. 

When you get to the bottom of the hill you'll see a path to your left marked Century Lake and another path pointing towards the Forest Trail ahead. Ignore the Century Lake trail for now and follow the path ahead of you pointing you in the direction of the Forest trail. Eventually you will come upon another bridge crossing the creek. On the other side of this bridge, the trail splits - follow the Fire Road as opposed to the smaller trail that splits to the left. This fire road will continue to lead you on to the MASH site (you will see a MASH trail marker not far from here). 

This is where the route begins to narrow and becomes a single-track trail leading you over a rocky creek bed. You will follow this path for about 3/4 of a mile. Keep your eyes on the trail here - you'll have to do a bit off rock hopping as you make your way.

As you make your way out from the shade and on to the M*A*S*H Set Location the first thing you will see is one of the old medic trucks. There are more old rusted out trucks, and posts with images and information throughout the site offering a nostalgic look back on this iconic TV show. 

We stayed and explored here for a little while - hiked up to the old helicopter pad which offered a great aerial view of the set below, and investigated a couple of the other off-shoot trails near by. 

Apparently you can follow Crags Road even further - but due to the heat and our previous struggles we decided to head back the way we came.

On your way back, if you feel like exploring a bit more, you can head down to the Century Lake Dam (this is the path I told you earlier to ignore). The views at the dam are really nice, and I'm sure on a quieter weekend much easier to enjoy.  

We worked up a serious sweat on this hike - so I think if you're not planning on taking a dip in any of the rock pools, it's probably best to come in the cooler months. Make sure to pack a whole lot of wage and lather on the sunscreen and the bug spray. There are a lot of bees and mosquitos - I ended up with a few bites even after putting my own bug spray on. It's also smart to be mindful of ticks - especially if you make your way through the Grasslands trail. I didn't see any on this trip, but we  checked each other afterwards just to be safe.

How To Get To The Trail Head: Malibu Creek State Park can be located from either the PCH (follow Malibu Canyon Road inland) or 101 Freeway (follow Los Virgenes Road toward Malibu). From the PCH the park entrance will be on you left. From the 101 the park entrance will be on your right. There is a $12 parking fee per car to enter the park. If you don't wish to pay the parking fee, there is apparently parking along Mullholland and Los Virgenes and you can follow the Grassland Trail into the park. 

Address: 1925 Las Virgenes Rd, Calabasas, CA 91302

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