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Malibu Creek

Some of the highlights along Malibu Creek, in central Malibu Creek State Park.

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Rating: 5 out of 5 by EveryTrail members
Difficulty: Moderate
Length: 7.9 miles
Duration: Half day
Family Friendly

Overview :  Malibu Creek State Park is a sprawling 10,000 acre park that protects 25-mile long Malibu Creek, the largest watershed in the Santa... more »

Tips:  This park is probably most comfortable in the winter and spring, when temperatures are reasonable. It can get pretty hot in the... more »

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Points of Interest

1. Dirt Road

After parking , head to the western end of the parking lot and look for the High Road Trail - a dirt path heading into the park. The path is relatively wide and level, and is located near the restrooms.

2. Grasslands Trail

Stay on the now dirt-path High Road and ignore the Grasslands Trail, which veers sharply to the right.

In the spring, after winter rains, the grassland here will become a lush, verdant green. For most of the rest of the year, though, it's a rough, dried-out beige.

If you'd like, you can take a short side-trip onto this trail to get a taste of... More

3. Side Road

Ignore the side road that crosses Malibu Creek and continue on the High Road on the north side of the creek.

4. Shaded Stretch

As you continue on High Road, enjoy this rare stretch of shade, provided by sycamore and oak trees. This area also provides some first-rate views of the Santa Monica Mountains to your south. The combination of jagged mountains and rough, grassy meadows are exquisite SoCal scenery.

5. Visitor Center Junction

At the junction, keep right to stay on the High Road to the north of Malibu Creek.

Here, the road makes a sharp turn toward the north and takes a moderate incline before continuing to the west, where you will soon have views of the remnants of Century Lake.

If you'd like to, take a short side trip across the bridge to the visitor's center,... More

6. Lookout Trail

Ignore the Lookout Trail on your right and continue on what is now called Crags Road.

Here, the trail descends from the small pass and enters a long flat valley. This area was formerly Century Lake - an artificial lake built by the owners of the Crags Country Club for fishing, duck hunting, and casual sailing. Over time, the lake silted up,... More

7. Cage Creek Trail Jct.

If you've taken the side trip up the Lookout Trail, you'll come back to Crags Road here. Otherwise, ignore the trail on your right and continue on Crags Road heading west.

After passing the junction with the Forest Trail, the Crags Road trail narrows and becomes much rockier as it makes a turn toward the southwest. Here, you're hiking through a... More

8. Lost Cabin Trail

Ignore the short side trip on the Lost Cabin Trail here. It's a short, overgrown, flat trail ... and the real highlight of the area is just down the Crags Road ...

9. M*A*S*H Set

Here there are several remnants of the M*A*S*H set - the popular Korean War dramedy that taped here in the 70's and 80's. You can still see the remnants of a military jeep and old ambulance - burned in a brush fire in 1982 that was actually written into the show's finale.

The two car husks and a flattened area that served as the camp's... More

10. Bulldog Road

Bulldog Road is a winding, meandering fire road that will take you from the Malibu Creek canyon up into the more mountainous landscape in the southern part of the park. It's a 4.2 mile (one-way) trip from Crags Road to the Castro Peak Fire Road, where you can tackle the summit of 2824' Castro Peak if you're up for a more strenuous hike.

If all... More

11. Junction to Malibu Lake Dam

Keep right at the 3-way junction to continue on Crags Road toward Malibu Lake.

12. End Of Trail at Malibu Lake

Here, the trail ends at the southern shores of Malibu Lake - another artificial body of water formed by a dam.

The park's boundaries end here, and the land is fenced off. While you cannot reach the lake's shores, the creekside has several very nice spots for a picnic lunch. Relax, then head back east on Crags Road.

13. Forest Trail

On your way back out, keep right at the 3-way junction with the Forest Trail.

This trail is a lightly-traveled path on the south shores of Century Lake. It's a lovely shaded route that features several seemingly out-of-place coast redwood trees planted by the Country Club.

14. Dam

The Forest Trail ends at the old dam at Century Lake. While it may be tempting to climb across to get to the other side - don't. The drop is very, very steep on the other side. Just enjoy the view, don't hurt yourself.

Return back on the Forest Trail and take a right at the junction with Crags Road to head back out of the park.

At POI 5, veer... More

15. Rock Pool

The Rock Pool is an easily accessible area swimming hole that also doubles as a popular climbing area.

While diving and jumping are prohibited here, you'll often find a large number of people swimming or fishing. Water levels can vary, and the swimming hole is most impressive after a rain. During a dry summer, the pools can completely dry up.

... More