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.

Woolsey Fire Update: Most of Malibu Creek State Park is closed following the November 2018 Woolsey Fire. The state park quickly reopened the Tapia Traihead (and the hike to Mesa Peak). However, the main area of the park remains closed and was badly damaged. The reproductions at the MASH site were ruined by the wildfire. Numerous structures within the park were destroyed. Check the Malibu Creek State Park website for current visitor information.

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!

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
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
34.1052,
-118.7318
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
34.10625,
-118.7323
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
34.1052,
-118.7318
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
34.0964,
-118.71673
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
34.0964,
-118.71673
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
34.10353,
-118.7137
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
34.10345,
-118.7140
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
34.097733,
-118.72929
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
34.07994,
-118.7038
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
34.07994,
-118.7038
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
34.079,
-118.75556
View Santa Monica Mountains in a larger map
Or view Los Angeles trails and campgrounds in a larger map
hikespeak
Las Virgenes View Trail Las Virgenes Valley Hike Malibu Canyon Las Virgenes View Park Calabasas California Santa Monica Mountains
Las Virgenes View Park preserves nearly 700 acres of the Santa Monica Mountains adjacent to Malibu Creek State Park. The park has one established trail, Las Virgenes View Trail, which rises to a panorama-boasting ridge. The trail traverses grasslands and oak woodlands near Las Virgenes Road and then runs up a canyon to a ridge where it forms a small loop with mountain views in all... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: December 7, 2018
Heartbreak Hill Trail Santa Monica Mountains Hike Liberty Canyon Agoura Hills California
The heart pounding on Heartbreak Hill comes from the heavy dose of elevation on this short trail, which climbs 600 feet in a little over a mile. The trail is steep from the start, but does taper out before a rapid rise to Heartbreak Ridge, just below a summit crest. The hike is easy-to-reach, setting out from Agoura Road near the Liberty Canyon Exit of the 101 Freeway. The top of the hike... Read more.
OK! Add to trails I’ve hiked
OK! Add to trails I want to hike
Tagged with · Agoura Hills · Free Trails · Dog-Friendly Trails · Santa Monica Mountains
Distance: 2.1 miles · Elevation change: 600 feet
By: Published: Last updated: December 7, 2018
Anza Loop Trail Santa Monica Mountains Hike Calabasas Agoura Hills California
In a rolling, grassy stretch of the Santa Monica Mountains near the 101 Freeway, Anza Loop Trail plots a course through history. Pause along the trail to study panels and plaques about the past - or just breeze through the loop and enjoy the present sights and sounds. Like Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, Anza Loop Trail takes its name from Juan Bautista de Anza who led an expedition up... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: December 7, 2018
Calabasas Stairs Anza Loop Trail Calabasas California Concrete Steps Workout Hike
Do you want to combine a hike with a stair workout? If the answer is yes, head for the Calabasas Stairs, a long, straight flight of 375 steps that climb a slope in the Santa Monica Mountains below a Calabasas neighborhood. It is a 0.6-mile hike from Calabasas Road (just off Highway 101) to the base of the steps. Venturing to the top of the steps and back to the road is 1.4 miles round trip... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: December 7, 2018
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 of McAuley Peak... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: January 17, 2018