Malibu Creek State Park, also known as the “Yosemite of Southern California,” is located in the Santa Monica Mountains, about 25 miles south of Los Angeles. This park is home to camping, hiking, fishing, rock climbing and horseback riding. It is one of the most popular parks in the area, and has been used for filming over 100 movies and television shows, including Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H.
The main reason why people visit Malibu Creek State Park is to enjoy the hiking trails, but the park has many other attractions as well. For example, visitors can see a waterfall and swim in a rock pool. They can also check out the Sepulveda Adobe, a historic building that was built in 1863.
This 8215-acre park is a part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and has three natural preserves: Liberty Canyon, Udell Gorge and Kaslow Preserve. This pristine land was once home to the Chumash Indians and is still full of wildflowers, birds and rare plants.
There are 15 miles of streamside trails that allow hikers to explore oak and sycamore woodlands on chaparral-covered slopes, allowing them to experience breathtaking views of volcanic rock gorges, scenic pools and breathtaking views of the Las Virgenes Valley and Malibu Canyon. The park is also home to a large population of quails and a host of other wildlife, including mountain lions, hummingbirds and salamanders.
Some of the best places to find a lot of wildlife are on the trails, so be sure to bring binoculars or a camera and keep your eyes peeled for parakeets, quails, vultures, hawks, woodpeckers, lizards, coyotes, deer and rabbits.
You can find several different trails to choose from, and most of them lead to the park’s visitor center. Some of the trails are a bit challenging, so be prepared for steep climbs and slippery rocks.
We had a great time on this hike, and even found some beautiful flowers along the way. It was a nice place to get some fresh air and spend the day outside, without having to worry about being on the crowded Los Angeles streets.
The trail starts near the parking lot and winds through the creek for a mile or so, passing some lovely trees that line both sides of the path. Once the trail reaches a fire road, you can veer right to go boulder-hopping across the creek or veer left to continue on the High Road, which sticks to the north bank of the creek. The fire road will take you back to the visitor center a little ways down, but I recommend sticking to High Road because it’s more shaded and it’s easier on your feet.
If you’re not interested in the trails, there are plenty of areas to sit and relax and have a drink, and the park also has an interesting visitor center about a half mile away from the main entrance to the park. The center is open on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4pm and has information on the wildlife, rocks and other cool stuff that you can see in the park.