Calabasas Peak hike Calabasas Peak Motorway trail Los Angeles

Calabasas Peak offers panoramic views of the Santa Monica Mountains, Red Rock Canyon Park, and a sliver of the Pacific Ocean. To the north, the peak looks down on the city of Calabasas and a wide stretch of the San Fernando Valley. The 3.6-mile round-trip hike to Calabasas Peak travels an easy-to-follow fire road. There is 1,000 feet of elevation gain along the way, but that effort is rewarded by great views at every turn.

Cold Creek Canyon
Cold Creek Canyon

The wide dirt trail leaves Stunt Road and rises up to an early U-turn that looks down on Cold Creek Canyon. Views of this round valley improve as the trail turns north and levels out. The hike’s one and only junction comes at the half mile mark. To the right, Red Rock Motorway descends into Red Rock Canyon Park. Feel free to have a rest here on the bench provided before continuing straight toward Calabasas Peak.

Calabasas Peak
Long ribs of porous sandstone run down the southeast side of the peak breaking up the lush greenery

The trail swings to the left before winding back in the other direction. The moderate ascent becomes more earnest, gaining 500 feet in the last mile. A group of sandstone formations just beneath the true summit offer immense views and make for a natural stopping point.

To reach the summit, continue a short distance up Calabasas Peak Motorway and take the path up the ridge on the left to the true summit. Hike a tenth of a mile up the path to a T. The path to the right takes a steep route down the north slope to Calabasas Peak Motorway. Turn left and hike the last 0.03 miles to the summit of Calabasas Peak. There is a register at the top of the small summit. Waist-high brush allows for open panoramic views. Look east toward Topanga, south toward Saddle Peak, west toward Castro Peak, and north over the San Fernando Valley where downtown Calabasas is marked by a cluster of tall dark buildings. The sometimes-snowcapped San Gabriel Mountains are visible across the valley.

Hike back down the way you came to Calabasas Peak Motorway. The road continues north over a ridge on the north side of Calabasas Peak, eventually descending to Old Topanga Road. Another 0.8 miles down the ridge, you will pass the top of Calabasas – Cold Creek Trail. This is an alternative route up Calabasas Peak. If you started from Stunt Road, simply return the way you came to get back to the trailhead.

Calabasas Peak
Looking south down Calabasas Peak Motorway

The geology around Calabasas Peak makes this area an ideal candidate for bouldering. Those up for a bit of off-trail adventure can make their way down the sandstone slabs, carefully exploring the interesting outcroppings, along a more direct path back to the trail below.

To get to the trailhead: From the 101 freeway, exit Las Virgenes Road and head south toward Malibu. After 2.8 miles turn left, (east) on Mulholland Highway. After 4 miles, turn right on to Stunt Road and drive one mile. There is plentiful parking along the right side of the road at the trailhead for Stunt High Trail. The trail to Calabasas Peak starts up the gated fire road on the opposite side of Stunt Road.

From PCH, take Malibu Canyon Road until it becomes Las Virgenes Road. Turn right on to Mulholland Highway and take that to Stunt Road as described above.

Another option for those coming from the west side is to take PCH north to Las Flores Road (across from Duke’s restaurant). Drive 3.4 miles up this narrow twisting canyon and turn right onto Rambla Pacifico Street. After 0.6 miles, make a sharp right onto Schueren Road and descend the backside of the mountain for 5 miles to arrive at the trailhead for Calabasas Peak from the other direction. This scenic route offers a high view on Malibu and the Pacific.

Trailhead address: 1699 Stunt Road, Calabasas Highlands, CA 91302
Trailhead coordinates: 34.095263, -118.64947 (34° 05′ 42.94″N 118° 38′ 58.09″W)

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Photos

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These photos were taken in October of 2009 and March of 2013. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Calabasas - Cold Creek TrailCalabasas Peak via Calabasas – Cold Creek Trail
This 4.5-mile round trip hike starts up a scenic single track formerly know as the Secret Trail and ascends 750 feet to the summit of Calabasas Peak.
Saddle Peak trailStunt High Trail to Saddle Peak
This 8.2-mile hike combines Stunt High Trail and a section of the Backbone Trail to visit the 6th tallest summit in the Santa Monica Mountains.
red rock canyonRed Rock Canyon Park
The trails in the beautifully sculpted Red Rock Canyon are 2.5 and 5.2 miles in length.
topanga lookout trailTopanga Lookout
This 2-mile visits the site of an old fire tower that still offers great views of the surrounding mountains.
Saddle Peak TrailBackbone Trail to Saddle Peak
This 2-mile hike approaches Saddle Peak from the east.
talepop trailTalepop Loop
This 4.75-mile hike climbs 500 feet over a scenic mountain between Liberty Canyon and Las Virgenes Canyon on the north end of Malibu Creek State Park.
Malibu Creek Grassland TrailGrassland Trail to Crags Road and Rock Pool
This easy 3-mile hike enters Malibu Creek State Park on South Grassland Trail, then forms a loop around Crags Road to visit Rock Pool, a popular park retreat.
malibu hike More trails in the Santa Monica Mountains
Explore other destinations in the range.
Similar Trail
sandstone peakSandstone Peak
This 6.25-mile loop summits the tallest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains.
temescal canyon hikeTemescal Canyon
This 2.6-mile loop offers a variety of scenery and decent exercise, despite its relative brevity.
zuma ridge trailZuma Ridge Trail
This wide dirt service road which weaves northwest up the back of the ridge west of Zuma Canyon offering access to several trails in the area.
runyon canyon hike hollywoodRunyon Canyon
This 1.65, 2.65, or 3.25-mile loop tours the most popular dog park in Los Angeles, offering good exercise and views over Hollywood.

One Comment on Calabasas Peak from Stunt Road in the Santa Monica Mountains

  1. Harper says:

    We hiked this yesterday. The geology along the route is great and there are some good views. However, it was a crowded trail and very loud. I’ve been on Griffith Park trails that were more peaceful. Barking dogs and yelling kids. Also, you can hear traffic (motorcycles) and power tools/leaf blowers from the houses nearby. Not a bad hike, just don’t expect your peaceful moment with nature!

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