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 change. 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 beach east of Point Dume, which is called Dume Cove Beach or Big Dume Beach. Dume Cove has tide pools and a long stretch of sand to stroll across. Take this side trail and the staircase down to the beach to extend your visit.
Continuing past the first junction, the trail out on Point Dume leads to a four-way junction. The trail to the right goes to a trailhead at the northwest corner of the park, which is another place to begin the hike on Point Dume. The trail to your far left explores a level boardwalk out to a viewing platform. The other trail on the left (between the other two trails) goes to the overlook at the top of Point Dume.
Heading to the top first, you will gain 70 feet in a tenth of a mile. Reach a memorial plaque at the high point of Point Dume that 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 Westward Beach and 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.
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.
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. Westward Beach has a parking fee.
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, -118.80581 (34° 00′ 15.28″N 118° 48′ 20.91″W)
You may also view a regional map of surrounding Los Angeles trails and campgrounds.
|Charmlee Wilderness Park |
This 3.25-mile loop is one of several possible hikes in this bluff-top park with ocean views over Malibu.
|Zuma Canyon Trail |
This 2.8-mile hike leaves a coastal Malibu neighborhood to explore rustic Zuma Canyon.
|Ocean View Trail - Canyon View Trail Loop |
This 3.1-mile loop demands more effort than Zuma Canyon Trail and provides great ocean and canyon views.
|Escondido Falls |
This 3.8-mile out and back hikes visits a 200-foot waterfall that is split into two tiers. The upper tier is 150 feet tall and stunning after a rainstorm.
|Solstice Canyon |
This easy and level 2.6-mile out and back hike visits the ruins of a burned down ranch and a small waterfall.
|Corral Canyon |
This 2.5-mile loop offers ocean and canyon views from a unspoiled section of the Santa Monica Mountains in Malibu.
|More trails in the Santa Monica Mountains |
Explore other destinations in the range.