Rapid, dramatic geologic changes created the spectacular landscape of Malibu Creek State Park. Its jagged mountains, rock outcroppings, cliff-like slopes and deep gorges were formed over two million years by severe climate changes, earthquakes, erosion and tectonic plate collisions. These forces continue to shape the landscape today. In the early days of the film industry, rugged terrain that could double for far-off locations was difficult to find near Hollywood. Filmmakers transformed this area into exotic locales such as old Mexico, outer space, and an army hospital in Korea. Movies and television shows filmed here include M*A*S*H, The Planet of the Apes, Pleasantville and How Green Was My Valley. The Angeles District Headquarters building here served as the “dream house” in the 1948 classic, Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House. Just 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles, the park features hiking, fishing, bird watching and horseback riding opportunities. There are 15 miles of streamside trail through oak and sycamore woodlands on chaparral covered slopes. 23-mile Malibu Creek in the park is the principal watercourse of the Santa Monica Mountains, from Boney Mountain to Malibu Lagoon. The park is open from dawn until dusk. A visitor center is open on weekends only. The park is located four miles south of Highway 101 on Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon Road.
Really good hike in Liberty Canyon. The trail through the canyon is very tranquil and the hills are nice and green. There is a small burn area near the beginning of the hike that could result in a nice patch of wildflowers this spring. My friend spotted a set of tracks that could be mountain lion. They were the right size, the pad had a chevron shape, and there were no claw marks. There are photos included in the photo section. Lots of deer prints, and deer are a major food source. Finally on the way out about 100 yards from the pavement was a tree full of parrots. Wouldn't have noticed them if they hadn't been making such a ruckus.
Great park to explore. It costs $12 for a day pass and extra for a park map. I came on a Saturday late morning and hiked by myself. The park and trails were moderately populated - just enough to make you feel safe, but not crowded. The trails were pretty well marked. I explored all around - to the M.A.S.H. Set, century lake, rock pools and Reagan ranch. I was able to do this in less than 3 hours as I mixed hiking with some trail rubbing. The hike is pretty moderate, though there is some good terrain to do hill sprints. Also good hike to do as a group as the trails are pretty wide. Also saw a handful of mountain bikers.
Matteos H. on Malibu Lake Trail
I haven't been here since the big drought, so it was a real disappointment to see so many shades of death along the trail. It appeared that all the trees were dry and bare, the riparian landscape was muted and bleak. It's not the place I remembered, but the hike was easy and light.
The MASH film site was in good order! I would warn you that the hike is a bit anticlimactic as it dead ends at a chain link fence without a view of the Malibu dam.
As far as wildlife goes, we saw a few turtles in the stagnant ponds along the creek, but few other signs of life.
If you're coming expecting the same old Malibu Creek, I would suggest waiting until Spring.
Lor L. on Backbone Trail
Very challenging hike but worth it!
I loved this! The Rock Pool was beautiful and yes, the water is safe to swim in. I went on a weekday, so the trail wasn't too heavily trafficked-neither was the Rock Pool. The trailhead I started from was on Mullhulland and across the street from the King Gillette Ranch. I did not have to pay for parking, nor did I even see a parking lot that charged.
The Rock Pool was hard to find, we actually ended up hiking 1.5 miles to Century Lake (at least I think It was Century Lake), and 1.5miles back (3 miles out of the way). So here is a tip for anyone hiking to the Rock Pool. If you took the same trailhead I did, you will come to a clearing that has three large porto-potties. Do not cross the bridge, and do not go to the right, walk straight past the porto-potties. You will come to another fork, do not go to the right, which leads up a slope,if you go up the slope you are going the wrong way! Anyways, hopefully that makes sense, cause the Rock Pool Rules. Going to try to go again next warm day.
Hiked the first three miles and back
Mostly fire road
Picnic table with spectacular view at top
Mostly ridge hike
Not much shade
Strenuous for less experienced hiker
Pay $12 (card only) to park at trail head
Toilet at trail head