Point Dume Natural Preserve Malibu California beach hike to Paradise Cove Pier

If you have driven through Malibu on PCH, then you have seen Point Dume, a dome-shaped promontory jutting into the Pacific at the northwest end of Santa Monica Bay. The point is surrounded by picturesque white sand beaches and sparking blue water. The headland is protected by Point Dume Natural Preserve, a California State Park. A mile of trails on Point Dume’s bluffs lead to two overlooks, one at the top of Point Dume. Additional trails access both a secluded beach and a popular beach on opposite sides of the point. Seasonally, Point Dume Natural Preserve is a great place to spot whales migrating along the coast.

For a short simple hike on Point Dume, begin from the small 2-hour parking area on the bluff behind the point. It is a third of a mile to the top of Point Dume with 100 feet of elevation gain. The route up is obvious from the start, but there are a couple junctions on the way. First you will pass a trail on the left that descends to the tide pools and beach east of Point Dume. Next comes a four-way junction that includes the trail to the overlook at the top, as well as a level boardwalk out to a viewing platform, and a trail to an alternate trailhead at the northwest corner of the park.

Point Dume
The top of the trail down to the beach and tide pools

Heading to the top first, you will gain 70 feet in a tenth of a mile, reaching a memorial plaque at the highpoint of Point Dume. The plaque describes how the point was named by a British sea captain. Walk around the large fenced-in area on the crown of Point Dume and take in the panoramic views. Look west over the white sands of Zuma Beach toward Point Mugu, and inland over the Santa Monica Mountains. To the northwest, the highest peaks in the range are in sight, the Boney Mountains, rocky pinnacles that rise above green ridges.

Point Dume
Zuma Beach from Point Dume Overlook

Return to the four-way junction and head up the gradual boardwalk. The plank walkway ends after 1/8 of a mile at a viewing platform. In the spring, this is a great place to spot whales traveling along the coast, and the ocean views are enjoyable year round. Beyond the viewing deck, a sandy track circles around the west side of Point Dume.

Point Dume
The boardwalk to the viewing deck

It won’t take long to explore Point Dume Natural Preserve. In the spring time, poppies and giant coreopsis bloom along the trail adding splashes of orange and yellow to the park. Hiking off trail is prohibited and dogs are not allowed. No fee or permit is required, so get out and enjoy.

Another way to access Point Dume Natural Preserve is from Westward Beach, which borders Zuma Beach on the west side of the point. This is a popular starting point for a 4-mile round trip beach hike crossing Point Dume to explore the less-crowded waterfront to the east leading down to Paradise Cove Pier. There is a parking fee at Westward Beach.

Point Dume
Point Dume

To get to the trailhead: Take PCH to Malibu, driving 19 miles northwest of the end of the 10 Freeway in Santa Monica. Turn left (south) at the light on Heathercliff Road. Make the first left on Dume Drive and go one mile to Sea Lion Place. Turn right and drive to the end of the street. Make a left on Birdview Avenue, which curves to the left behind the park and becomes Cliffside Drive. Just after the curve, park in the small 2-hour parking area on the right. The trail begins from the parking area.

Trailhead address: 27807 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265
Trailhead coordinates: 34.004245, -118.805811

Use the map below to create your own directions:

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Photos

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These photos were taken in February and March of 2012. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
Charmlee Wilderness ParkCharmlee Wilderness Park
This 3.3-mile loop is one of several possible hike in this bluff-top park with ocean views over Malibu.
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This 2.5-mile loop offers ocean and canyon views from a unspoiled section of the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu.
Malibu hikesMore trails in the Santa Monica Mountains
Explore other destinations in the range.

One Comment on Point Dume Natural Preserve in Malibu

  1. This is one of the most beautiful places in the States! I went there back in 2009 on one of those rare crisp, clear days in the early spring. Definitely recommend it!

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