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.
Super fun hike! Plenty of different trails to split off to if you feel like mixing things up. Recent storms have really done a number on some of the trails however. We tried to get to the M*A*S*H site and were unable to due to flooding and the trails being covered by debris. Other than that, the trail itself is a blast. The Rock Pool area is absolutely gorgeous, and if you're into climbing like we are, it offers plenty of options for bouldering and rope climbing.
Did this hike because Las Virgenes Creek was flowing across the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon trail. This trail was muddy in places but passable. About 3/4 of a mile in you start picking up a lot of deer tracks. Interestingly, about 3/4 of a mile in there are far fewer canine tracks. Dogs aren't allowed on this trail but some people still bring dogs. From the print evidence there are far fewer than other trails and that number decreases with distance from the park. At about 3/4 of a mile I also found what looked very much like mountain lion prints. They weren't excellent prints but you could see certain characteristics that pointed to cat rather than canine. Photos are included under my February 2016 Juan Bautista De Anza Las Virgenes Fireroad recording. When hiking together this past January in Liberty Canyon, a friend of mine also found mountain lion prints. Liberty Canyon is to the west and the two canyons merge less than a mile to the south.
Malibu State Creek
So we attempted to Hike the M.A.S.H site at Malibu Creek State Park but with the storm we had it completely washed out the trail. So we were unable to access it. The Trail leading up to the bridge is a puddle. Just to cross the bridge you had to go over several fallen trees. To cross to the other side of the bridge you have to cross a steam knee high and along the rest of the way you will have to walk through water. We went as far as the caves that are on the left of the trail and couldn't go any further unless we were willing to walk through waist deep in water.
We did get to visit the Dam and explore other areas of the park. It's definitely one of those places you can go back to and hike several trails. We got there before it opened, so we just bought our parking pass through the parking machine which is $12. If you want to avoid the cost, you can park on Mulholland and walk in. I also bought the park map on the way out, which was $2. So next time I return we can explore new trails.
Great trail. We parked at Kanan Dume and Newton Canyon. Because of all of the recent rain, the greenery was a wonderful surprise and the flowing creeks and waterfalls were a rare sight for a state plagued with a drought for so many years. Trail is pretty straightforward and be warned, there are some descent ascents here. That said, I plan on going back. We also saw a big waterfall (by SoCal standards) that was not directly on this trail, so we plan on going back to try and find a way to it.
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.