Hikes in Malibu Creek State Park

With some of the most picturesque landscapes in all of the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu Creek State Park is an excellent place to hike. Many miles of hiking trails explore the over 8,000 acres protected by Malibu Creek State Park.

Before it was a state park, movie studios operated filming ranches on this land, using the cinematic scenery for over a hundred projects, including Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H. The well preserved and restored MASH site is a popular hiking destination. Rock Pool is an equally popular target for hikers, particularly on warm summer days.

Malibu Creek State Park is located in Agoura Hills, Calabasas, and Malibu, about 27 miles from downtown Los Angeles. The park preserves much of the Malibu Creek Watershed, the largest watershed in the Santa Monica Mountains. Malibu Creek State Park is a few miles inland from the Pacific coast, with a ridge of 2,000-foot tall mountains along the south side of the park. Mesa Peak Motorway, a segment of the Backbone Trail, crosses this ridge. On the north side of these mountains is a legendary park landform, the Goat Buttes. These bold volcanic rock formations make dramatic backdrops for many Malibu Creek State Park trails.

Malibu Creek State Park Goat Buttes
The Goat Buttes in Malibu Creek State Park

Want to spend the night? Malibu Creek State Park has one campground with 63 sites that can be reserved in advance. Learn more about the Malibu Creek State Park Campground.

Malibu Creek State Park has one park entrance with a large parking lot. A vehicle fee is charged for this area of the park, which offers convenient trail access. Hikers can also set out from other spots with free roadside parking.

Directions to Malibu Creek State Park

The entrance to Malibu Creek State Park is located on the west side of Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road between Highway 101 and Pacific Coast Highway.

Coming from the end of Interstate 10 in Santa Monica, take PCH west for 13 miles. Turn right to head inland on Malibu Canyon Road, which becomes Las Vigenes Canyon Road. Drive 6.1 miles from PCH and turn left into the park entrance.

Coming from Highway 101, take exit 32 for Las Virgenes Canyon Road and travel south for 3.5 miles to the park entrance, which is on the right just after Las Vigenes Canyon Road crosses Mulholland Highway.

Park Address:
Malibu Creek State Park
1925 Las Virgenes Road
Calabasas, CA 91301

Malibu Creek State Park Mash Set
The MASH set in Malibu Creek State Park

Great Neighborhood

Malibu Creek State Park is part of of a patchwork of parks that make up the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. Paramount Ranch, Solstice Canyon, and Corral Canyon are highlights among the nearby places to visit.

Malibu Creek State Park Hikes

These hikes are listed roughly from west to east and north to south. Sort the list alphabetically or by distance to pick the trail for you. The listed hikes link to write-ups with complete descriptions and directions as well as GPS maps, elevation profiles, and lots of photos – everything you need to get out and explore these trails!

Malibu Lake Vista175Lake Vista Trail
This out and back hike crosses the west end of Malibu Creek State Park and climbs to a scenic view over Malibu Lake.
4.1 miles
350 feet
Phantom Trail178Phantom Trail
This hike goes up and over a panoramic ridge on the north side of Malibu Creek State Park.
4.8 miles
1,175 feet
Cistern Trail Malibu180Cistern, Lookout, and Cage Creek Trails
This team of trails make a scenic descent to Century Lake for a short loop or longer hikes in Malibu Creek State Park.
2.05 - 3.6 miles
425 feet
MASH hike185M*A*S*H Set
This hike visits the site where the exteriors of the television show MASH were filmed, a 4.75-mile trek from the park entrance.
3.6 - 5.7 miles
200 - 425 feet
Los Cabin Malibu Creek187Lost Cabin Trail
This 1.5-mile round trip extension to the MASH set hike dead-ends in a mountain canyon at the site of a now nonexistent cabin.
5.1 - 7.2 miles
190 feet
Talepop Trail Malibu195Talepop Loop
This lollipop loop crosses a scenic mountain between Liberty Canyon and Las Virgenes Canyon in Malibu Creek State Park.
4.75 miles
500 feet
Grassland Trail Malibu Creek199Grassland Trail to Crags Road and Rock Pool
This easy hike enters Malibu Creek State Park on South Grassland Trail, then forms a loop around Crags Road to visit Rock Pool.
3 miles
125 feet
Malibu Creek Adventure202Malibu Creek Traverse
This adventure hike explores the C-shaped gorge between Rock Pool and Century Lake in Malibu Creek State Park.
4 miles
200 feet
McAuley Peak Malibu204McAuley Peak
This hike up the Backbone Trail leads to to a cool rock formation on a panoramic summit honoring a trailblazing conservationist.
6.15 miles
1,530 feet
Mesa Peak Malibu Creek205Mesa Peak from Malibu Canyon Road (Piuma Trailhead)
This out and back hike ascends the Backbone Trail from Malibu Creek State Park to a subtle summit with substantial ocean views.
6.5 miles
1,375 feet
Mesa Peak Motorway Hike1257Mesa Peak from Corral Canyon Road
This out and back hike travels along a ridge adorned with sandstone outcroppings to approach a peak with ocean views over Malibu. Shorten the outing by stopping at a prominent boulder on a crest above Mesa Peak.
5.35 - 7 miles
465 feet
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McAuley Peak 2049 Backbone Trail Piuma Trailhead Mesa Peak Motorway Milt McAuley hike Malibu California
Existing without an official name until 2015, McAuley Peak was already a convenient destination along the Backbone Trail, hosting a distinct rock formation and panoramic views over the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains. The name - honoring conservationist, author, and literal trailblazer Milt McAuley - adds even more heft to the peak. This hike to the 2,049-foot crown... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: January 17, 2018
Phantom Trail Malibu Creek State Park Agoura Hills California
The beautiful Santa Monica Mountains can be a busy place to hike. One trail you can take to feel like a ghost (not see any other hikers) is Phantom Trail. Located on the north side of Malibu Creek State Park, this scarcely visited single track is not as popular as neighboring trails, but you'll be dumbfounded as to why when Phantom Trail provides early panoramas over the... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: January 16, 2018
Hollywood Sign Mount Lee Cahuenga Peak Burbank Peak Lake Hollywood Reservoir Loop Hike Los Angeles California
You might not realize that Hollywood has a lake until you look down on it from the top of Mount Lee by the Hollywood Sign. Numerous hikes lead to the Hollywood Sign and a level hiking trail wraps around Lake Hollywood Reservoir. To visit the Hollywood Sign, three peaks on the west side of Griffith Park, and Lake Hollywood, set out on the Hollywood Sign – Hollywood... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Hollywood · Lakes · Griffith Park · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 7.4 miles · Elevation change: 1070 feet
By: Published: Last updated: January 11, 2018
Burbank Peak Hike Wisdom Tree Hike Griffith Park Hollywood Burbank Peak Trail Wonderview Drive Los Angeles
Burbank Peak is a summit-like perch at the end of a ridge extending west from Cahuenga Peak, the highest point in Griffith Park. Hikers have many reasons to reach the top of Burbank Peak. One popular motivation is delivering a message to the Wisdom Tree, a long pine on Burbank Peak that rises above the surrounding brush. The viewpoint also hosts an America Flag in honor... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Hollywood · Dog-Friendly Trails · Griffith Park · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 1.6 miles · Elevation change: 740 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 31, 2017
 Hollywood Sign via Innsdale Drive Trail Mulholland Highway Trail Mount Lee Drive Hike Griffith Park Los Angeles California
With the public access closure of the trailhead at the top of Beachwood Drive for the Hollyridge Trail, hikers have lost a key route to the Hollywood Sign on Mount Lee. Those wanting to hike to the sign are now being encouraged to start up Brush Canyon Trail from a trailhead on Canyon Drive for a 6.4-mile hike to Mount Lee's famous sign. While this is a great option for... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Hollywood · Dog-Friendly Trails · Griffith Park · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 4.6 miles · Elevation change: 750 feet
By: Published: Last updated: January 18, 2018