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Echoing what other folks have said: be ready for around 2 miles of elevation right at the start. Definitely wear some thing to protect your legs due to all the tall weeds and bush. In general dress for sudden temp drops in colder non summer seasons. The pond is a gentle reminder of what the years of drought have done to the ecosystem in SoCal.

hiking
1 month ago

Some nice views of the other side of Santa Cruz island but not as amazing as we expected from a national park.

hiking
1 month ago

Went to the Channel Islands for the day and this was one of the 3 hikes we did. Cool views, but not quite as spectacular as we were expecting.

hiking
1 month ago

On Saturday September 8, I returned to this hike solo, starting before 7am this time with 5 liters of water. This hike is a good test of my fitness as you gain 2000 feet in the last 2.7 miles after you leave the fire road and head into Los Padres on the trail. And I am not talking switchbacks here, the last 2.7 miles to the Divide Road go straight up and can be a little treacherous as the trail has eroded in places. And it was HOT. I finished my water coming back when I hit the fire road and I had five miles to go! Lots of trucks surprisingly on a weekend. Love this hike, as I stumbled off the trail some nine hours later, I was exhausted and exhilarated.

hiking
2 months ago

Hot, steep, and exposed, but beautiful! If you’re hoping to escape the typical Malibu crowds and get a solid workout in, this is a great place to hike. You can pop over to the beach after and jump in the water to cool down. Just know that it’s not casual.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful ocean views all around. Not much vegetation.

With high temperatures continuously soaring, the landscape hardly had any sort of vegetation. However, revegetation is being carried through to make sure Santa Cruz Island is abundant in life to ensure ecological restoration. Regarding the hike itself, the trail consisted mostly of going downhill. You’ll also be passing though Smuggler’s Canyon Trail. As a result of hiking past another trail, it was difficult to record the actual amount of time and distance it took me to get to Smuggler’s Cove.

The map displayed that the hike towards Smuggler’s Cove is 7.5 miles, but from my experience, it was half that distance. This indicates, to me, that the distance is the total hike of going there and going back, in other words, a round trip.

When you get there, there’ll be few vegetation and the shore is compiled of rocks.

I put three stars because lack of vegetation and good scenic views.

My son and hiked to mile 4 marker on Thursday August 16 and it was hot! We started late, 10:30am, but even if we had started when we planned too, we still would have needed more water to get to the top. We brought about 8 liters between us and ran out coming down. Great hike with lots of up and wildflowers and budding oaks in burn areas. Lots of truck traffic on fire road including a watering dust suppressant truck that passed us coming and going. All trucks were courteous, slowing down or stopping for us but at least half a dozen passed us. Really looking forward to hiking the top soon.

hiking
2 months ago

Steep climb but well worth it! The trail is exposed and no water available on trail so go prepared.

Fun hike on mostly paved road. Water was nice to swim in at the cove. Great scenery and solitude.

trail running
3 months ago

I was visiting from AZ and was looking for a 10-12 mile out n back trail run with a good elevation and this trail was absolutely perfect. The first 2-3 miles on single track were pretty much all climbing, then it joined a Jeep trail/service road and it was rolling hills and some more great climbs. I stopped at the end of the road at 5.5 miles out and turned around. I ran at sunrise and the views were absolutely incredible with mtn views to one side and ocean views ocean in the distance on the other. The great thing about the trail is that I can be done by any skill level and at any pace. I def plan to come back next time I’m in the Ventura area.

Tuff trail the elevation is a teal thing

I hiked the shortcut up and it is hard and steep
Got off the trail twice
Fortunately All Trail got me back on course
1.5 miles up about an hour non stop

Down was very moderate to easy
4 miles an I mostly did a trail run down
About an hour fifteen down

No snakes
Very buggy on the way up

hiking
3 months ago

I really enjoyed this trail. Awesome, commanding ocean views for the majority of the trail. I could see other islands in the distance and the mountain peaks of the island I was on. The cove was cool, too; I went at low tide and was able to do a little tide pooling. I saw jellies, snails, hermit crabs, anemones, fiddler crabs in the water and tons of lizards and grey foxes on land. Steep hike (definitely got a good glute workout and my knees didn't like me at the end) but a very enjoyable, scenic hike...would do again if I had the opportunity.

This was my second time hiking this trail. From the road and going in the main entrance you can take a left and take the short route following the creek or you can go right to do the Oceanview, I took this route. About 4 1/2 miles in I missed the shortcut route coming down and ended up doing 6 miles almost to the top. Thank goodness I ran into other hikers thar shared I had passed the shortcut path but followed them down. Steep and a bit challenging since the mudslides and gets a little confusing with the new markers. Did 7 miles in 2:45hr. Great hike highly recommend it! Just be sure to pay attention to the shortcut if you’re looking for it!

hiking
3 months ago

Beautiful trail! We ran into no other hikers either the entire hike. Its a hidden gem of Malibu.

So my girlfriend and I hiked this one today. We hike at least twice a week between 4-8 miles each hike. This one was definitely not an easy one.
To add to it we kinda took a wrong route before around the campsite and up some little trail of about 2 miles. Wasted energy and end of July heat was so amazing. Lol.
Overall it’s a great hike with beautiful reward at the end. The pond had water btw. It’s a bit of incline for the first 2.5 miles and totally worth it. Not for beginners though. We loved the solidarity cause no one is hiking this trail. We were the only one there. Probably cause it hard with no waterfall reward at the end. Would do it again.

3 months ago

Great trail.Amazing view.

3 months ago

Had the cove to myself. Did some off-trail hiking near the cove, a dry riverbed. Great solitude, sweeping vistas. Fox followed me much of the way back.

Trail has been devastated by fires and floods. Slowly growing back. We had to take a different track because of washouts. Ended up just hiking up to the hot springs water was flowing into a small pool. More warm than hot. Actually Interesting to see the power of Mother Nature to destroy and rejuvenate.

amazing views of Sandstone peak and Boney, plus very abundant wildflowers but also very overgrown and itchy.

Trail is open, checked it out yesterday and spotted a bear as an FYI. According to another hiker it is a mother who also has a cub

Trail is open, but looks very different. Jeep road is good but following the creek is a new landscape post debris flow.

Am always surprised more people don’t hike this trail. Even on the weekend, there is just not a lot of traffic on this trail. Great vistas in the beginning and solitude for the rest of the hike. While not a difficult trail in terms of technical hiking, it’s quite a bit up, up, up for a while. This is not a beginner hike.

hiking
5 months ago

Trail is SPILLING over with wildflowers! Also even though the Thomas Fire came through this area there is so much new growth in the understory - it’s beautiful! Nice bench to eat a snack at at 2 miles, and another one at 3. You will not be disappointed, don’t skip this one!

hiking
6 months ago

On the last day of my three day camping trip with Wilderness Adventures, most people opted for a 2.5 hour kayaking trip to the sea caves around the island. However, I chose to stay on dry land and do a hike to Smuggler’s Cove, a delightful harbor on the back side of the island that got its name from the illegal sea otter trade that took place between 1769 and 1848. It was one of the most beautiful hikes I’ve ever done. Just two hours out and an hour and a half back, this hike wove through a cypress grove, named Delphine’s Grove, grassy hills with purple clover, yellow mustard, and white and pink morning glories, Monkey Flower, Lemonade Berry, Santa Cruz Ironwood, and many other native plants on this island. The final mile of the hike was down, down, down to the sea. At the beach, we saw island foxes and lizards darting around, both of which are prevalent throughout the island. The island fox, deer mouse, and island spotted skunk are only found on the Channel Islands – and nowhere else in the world

The descent to the Cove was pretty steep and I wondered as I walked down, how I was going to feel climbing back up it. Well it was well worth it – it was such a beautiful beach and quite a dazzling vantage point in every direction. Climbing back up the hill reminded me of the Hobbit story with its rolling green hills and the light brown-red dirt on the paths. It looked like a fairytale to me.

The hike was just short of eight mikes, roundtrip, but the views from the top, coming back to Scorpion Bay were sensational. It was rejuvenating to see everything from the top of the island. This was a hike that I would like to do again.

Steep and gravely first miles levels out but steep about 3/4 mile from smugglers cove.

There are picnic tables at the cove

Nice hike can be windy

l would recommend to go all the way to reyes peak for the amazing view.Take enough water and go very early in the morning it may take you almost a whole day round trip. It gets hard at times because of the uphill, but it is very walkable don't get discouraged. battery on my phone died very quickly up there.But it was worth it.

Beautiful especially when you get into the big trees with interspersed boulders. Hike is about 10 miles round trip when you go all the way to Pine Mountain Ridge road.

hiking
6 months ago

Great trail. Loved it. Not many people on it when I was hiking. Beautiful views.

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