Leo Carrillo State Park, located 28 miles northwest of Santa Monica on the PCH, has 1.5 miles of beach for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, kiting, surf fishing and beachcombing. The beach also has tide pools, coastal caves and reefs for exploring. Giant sycamores shade the main campgrounds. The park also features back-country hiking. Nature walks and campfire programs are offered and a small Visitor Center has interpretive displays. During the summer, children's programs are available. The park was named after Leo Carrillo (1880-1961), actor, preservationist and conservationist. Leo Carrillo served on the California Beach and Parks commission for eighteen years, and was instrumental in the state's acquisition of the Hearst property at San Simeon. He was related by blood and marriage to a long line of distinguished original Californians. Leo's greatest fame came from his portrayal of Pancho, the sidekick to Duncan Renaldo's Cisco Kid, an early 1950s TV series.

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.

2 months ago

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

3 months ago

Was awesome

Steep, steady incline. Hiking shoes and gear aren’t really necessary. This would be a great running trail, if you’re fit. Saw 4 people during the 3 hours I was there...loved the peace and quiet! And yes, beautiful views!

5 months ago

Went to the peak via Nicholas Flat and then back on Willow Creek. We were the only ones in the trail. Views were worth it!

Great beach with camping near by

Beautiful views from everywhere. We found part of trails but most has been washed out so we walked on the sand.

trail running
8 months ago

My son and I ran up and down this trail on 9/23/17. We ran up the right side to the peak and then back down the loop. Nice view.

9 months ago

If you're doing the full ocean-to-Nicholas Flats hike, it can be very challenging, as the 1-mile portion climbing from the beach to the ridge is an unimproved wash-out, closer to a goat trail than a park trail. This is not a trail for beginners. Highly recommend poles so you don't break an ankle in this portion. Start early, as the sun can be brutal.

The rest of the trail is rolling hills with some good elevation dips and gains (approx. 2100 ft increase in elevation). Great view and terrain throughout. If you're an experienced hiker, I highly recommend this route. If you're a beginner, I don't recommend this trail.

Lastly, don't expect any water in the "pond" at Nicholas Flats, unless we've had heavy rainfall. I've hiked this area over 100 times, and found water only in January 2017.

10 months ago

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Dogs are NOT allowed on this trail...

Sunday, April 02, 2017

April 1st, 2017....started a little late out of Leo, about 10 am, but great ocean breezes. took the left fork to Nicholas Flats with a fairly quick pace. Stopped several times to admire the wild flowers. Water on Nicholas Flats!!! First time in many years. Tad poles galore on the shorelines ....frogs should be croaking in good form soon!
Hike is becoming somewhat more difficult ...the last few heavy rains have made the upper part of the trail rutted and rocky from the natural runoff, thus more technical and slower going. Can't see that it will be worked on in the near feature, so be prepared for a more difficult push just before the ridge line trail. The lush green meadow and full pond/small lake do make it all worthwhile!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Very steep climb in the first 2 miles. Gorgeous views! Make sure you have lots of water!
We did the whole thing and took a snack break by the pond!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Cool awesome workout but everything is unmarked. So ended up hiking an extra seven miles.

on Nicholas Flat Trail

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Great hike. I would rate it as Moderate and not Hard as AllTrails has it rated. The only challenge is the constant upward incline, but it isn't particularly steep and the trail is not technical. Beautiful views and you can go up as far as you want and head back at any time. It is very beautiful in the Spring with lots of wild flowers along the side of the trail. Great workout hike! Amazing views all the way up and also at the top! Park on the street for free or park at Leo Carrillo Beach parking and pay the daily fee.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

We loved this hike! Doesn't get much better then beach to mountains... gained a total of over 2100 feet out and back. Steady incline up. 7.2 miles in 2h40min. The views were spectacular. Mostly cloudy day was perfect for us and the dog. Cool changes in scenery also, wasn't expecting the meadow and although the pond was dry... still an awesome hike!

Saturday, August 13, 2016

Excellent trail

Monday, July 18, 2016

Pretty and just the right challenge for us

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Great trail, hiked up and ran down

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Great to go out early, started trail at 8:30 it was perfect time. incline for approximately an hour be ready total hike is over 6miles. in direct sun but if you leave early Ocean breeze and views are a blessing!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Great trail, gradual incline that makes for a killer workout. From the magnificent aromas to the beautiful meadow at the end, this is a solid trail one of my new favorites.

Monday, March 14, 2016

Solid hike. The uphill was a great workout. Worth the drive!

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Steep. Mostly no shade. Nice views and the flat is pretty cool. Not something you'd expect in the middle of the mountain. 7 miles. Not sure where 5.8 comes from!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Very steep trail that offers little breaks. Great views the entire way up and an amazing panoramic view from the top.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Great quick sunset family hike! I did this with my family last Sat (11/21/15) we did not complete the entire trail only got to the top of the first mountain, but I was absolutely GORGEOUS! The views were amazing specially with the sun coming down and disappearing in the ocean. The trail is in good condition, well kept and safe for kids. I though we were going to do the Leo Carrillo Trail, but we end up in the Nicholas Flat Trail, lol how ever we had a great time & we're looking forward to go back and even camp there sometime :)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

great camping for families with access to beach. nice tide pools for the kids. a little scrambling for the young'ns makes this a great weekend.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

We started late, around 11am 1-19-14, We went left at trail head and met up Nicholas trail about 1 mile in. Cliff Unger gave great directions from there. Temps in the mid 80s and no shade until about half way, but then some shade. Meadows were straw and lake was drained, never the less, both the kids I took had a great time hiking and being in a dry lake bed. Kids were 9 and 12 and experienced hikers, may be too much for kids that don't hike much.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

There is a mobile trailer park for Leo Cabrillo Beach, a small visitors center, as well as the trailhead for numerous paths above PCH highway. I avoided the parking fee by leaving my car on PCH headed east. The fog had lifted by 8 AM on this section of Malibu but remained over the eastern section near Kanan Road. The rock out-cropping's into the ocean provide scenic viewpoints for photographing birds, fisherman, and occasional surfers. The ascent and descent from the oceanside hill is not very dramatic but it's good exercise for moderate hikers and safe for children.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Park on PCH to avoid the fee! Try to time the hike at low tide and then you can explore the sea cave, seaside rocks and tide pools. The beach has a very different feel from the south bay (Torrance, Redondo, Hermosa, Manhattan, etc.) beaches that I more frequently visit. Nice place for a family day of exploration. 5.55 out of 10.

rock climbing
Tuesday, August 28, 2012

$ 12 day parking pass. This was perfect to spend the morning out in Malibu. We got there late which was 10 am & there were very few people around. It was great, one minute we're walking on the beach, the next minute we came across huge rocks/boulders on the beach, so either A) go all the way back & around to get to other side & continue on beach or B) just climb up & over the rocks which is more fun or C) swim out & around the rocks. There's a cool cave walk thru open on both ends, about 20 ft long.

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