Cistern Trail to Lookout Trail

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Malibu Creek State Park

Cistern Trail to Lookout Trail is a 1.3 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Calabasas, California that offers scenic views. The trail is rated as moderate and is primarily used for hiking.

Distance: 1.3 miles Elevation Gain: 390 feet Route Type: Out & Back

hiking

views

no dogs

The scenic vista point at the top of Lookout Trail provides a beautiful view overlooking Malibu Lake and the surrounding mountains. Park along Mulholland Highway and hike down the quarter mile long Cistern Trail to a T-junction with Lookout Trail. There are scenic views over the park along the way, including a great perspective of the Goat Buttes. Turn right at the junction and head west for 0.43 miles to a junction with Cage Creek Trail. Continue straight ahead on a grassland-crossing single track named Yearling Trail. Just past the marked junction with Cage Creek Trail, there is an unmarked junction with Deer Leg Trail. Turn left here (or make the left at the next junction on a connection trail to Deer Leg Trail) and follow this trail to the base of Lake Vista Trail. Deer Leg Trail heads uphill into the trees for a short distance before turning sharply to the right. There is a footpath continuing straight ahead down a slope toward Crags Road at the bottom of Cage Creek Trail, but this is not the way to Lookout Traill. If you miss the sharp right turn and begin a steep descent, it is time to backtrack. Saplings arch over Deer Leg Trail to provide pleasant shade. Pass through a junction with the connection path coming up from Yearling Trail, and progress westward to the second of two picnic tables. Take the split to the left on Lake Vista Trail. The junction is unmarked and easy to bypass. Look for stone steps at the bottom of the trail to verify that you are on the right track. If Deer Leg Trail exits the forest and returns to grasslands toward a junction with Yearling Trail, you have missed it. Ascend the wooded ridge, gaining 260 feet over 0.72 miles. There are limited views through the trees until you reach the top of the ridge and are presented with a sublime view to the west over Malibu Lake. The lake looks seductive from this perch, a gleaming gem of water hidden by tall green mountains. The trail continues for 0.1 miles descending to a junction with an Edison service road. To the left, the road continues another 0.1 miles to a dead end that provides the greatest view of the slender Y-shaped lake. To the right of the junction, the road descends 200 feet over a third of a mile to a trailhead off Lake Vista Drive. The steep road has loose rutted soil and is not the best for hiking. If you are returning to the Cistern Trailhead, it is best to hike back via Lookout Trail. Those who chose to start hiking from the nearby trailhead off Lake Vista Drive, which also provides access to Paramount Ranch, could hike east over asphalt for 0.37 miles to Reagan Ranch (once owned by the former president) at the west end of Yearling Trail. Take that horse-trodden single track for 0.13 miles to a V with the west end of Deer Leg Trail. Turn right and hike a quarter mile to the picnic table, and make a sharp right on to Lookout Trail. From the top of the trail, descend via the service road back to the trailhead off Lake Vista Drive for a 2.1-mile loop. From Cistern Trail to the Lake Vista Overlook is 4.1 miles out and back with 350 feet of elevation between the low and high points of the trail. The elevation profile of this hike is bowl-shapedm with uphill hiking in both directions. Tack on Century Lake or the M*A*S*H set to extend this outing to 4.85 or 6.35 miles. There are exceptional views along Cistern Trail and from the end of Lookout Trail, making for a worthwhile hike.

hiking
over grown
2 days ago

hiking
no shade
over grown
3 days ago

This shadeless trail was easy downhill, and then extremely difficult trail running uphill in 80 degree weather. The plant diversity was gorgeous, slightly overgrown, but with breathtaking views. Overall I got a great work out, but would come back when temp gets cooler.

hiking
no shade
3 days ago

hiking
3 days ago

Beautiful hike!! Sweeping views of the canyon and rockfaces and great lookouts over Century Dam. There are lots of interconnecting trails so you can easily add mileage and pick from many paths - will definitely go back and try another route! Today we took the route mentioned in the full description above - Cistern Trail down to Lookout Trail, went right and followed the trail around to the opposite side of the water, then turned back and returned the way we came. - Moderate - mostly flat until you make the return back up to the road (where you climb a few hundred feet) - Long pants recommended - It was somewhat overgrown in parts, nothing very bad where it's hard to hike but there were some crazy sharp & prickly plants in a few places you won't want to walk through in shorts - GO IN THE MORNING. We started at 9:30am and it was mid 80s (15 degrees hotter than when we started) by the time we finished around Noon. Would have hated to be out there much later with that heat! - Also started to get much more crowded around 11; for the first half we only saw a few people. - The trail down to the lake was closed today, not sure why One of my favorite LA hikes I've done recently! Can't wait to go back and check out some of the other trails.

hiking
bugs
over grown
3 days ago

hiking
4 days ago

Too many people, less than 50% wearing masks. Lots of younger people in groups. Overall not challenging either, more of a stroll.

hiking
over grown
4 days ago

This is our first hike using this app, we loved it! It was beautiful but recommend going in morning during summer because it’s HOT!! Second half was mostly uphill and a little tough for me since I couldn’t find a shady spot to break.

hiking
bridge out
5 days ago

One of the prettiest trails to hike. I take it down to the creek to get to the MASH site. The bridge is out so you have to find another way across to get to the site. Love coming here.

hiking
2 months ago

It was really beautiful

hiking
2 months ago

Our car was broken into while we were hiking. They stole cash and debit cards. BEWARE

hiking
6 months ago

Exit 101 North at Las Virgines, turn south (left), go to Mulholland, turn right. Go 1.8 miles. Trailhead is on the left. Dirt parking next to road.

Took this with my 3 year old, didn’t quite give us enough time to go all the way down to the turn around. But the views were amazing, it was nice to see some green in this area when everywhere else I’ve been had been brown.

hiking
no shade
7 months ago

hiking
7 months ago

Had a chill time walking down to the river, and a killer time charging back up!

hiking
bugs
10 months ago

The natural recovery from the fire is in full swing. For every burned shrub or tree, there are 100 new ones coming up, and there is green everywhere. New Manzanitas are coming up in so many places, and most of the burned Oaks have new branches and foliage, and some have flowers. I was so happy to hike through here this evening and see how beautiful it is, after being completely black just 9 months ago. There is some invasive mustard that needs to be cleared. ❤️

hiking
over grown
Mon May 13 2019

Beautiful trail. There were lots of butterflies today and beautiful, colorful wildflowers. Some areas were over grown but we got through. Saw some rock climbers which was really cool.

hiking
over grown
Sat Apr 20 2019

beautiful short trail down to the creek. Flowers everywhere, and tons of catterpillers. Beautiful mountain range in th background and every hill is green and covered in flowers

hiking
Sat Apr 20 2019

Bridge is out at the creek. Log crossing a few yards past.

Thu Apr 11 2019

BEAUTIFUL!

Tue Apr 09 2019

just WOW!

hiking
Sun Apr 07 2019

So gorgeous! Smells like lavender. Awesome photo ops!

hiking
Sat Apr 06 2019

unbelievably beautiful with wildflowers right now

hiking
Sat Apr 06 2019

Absolutely beautiful trail . Lots of wildflowers poppies lupine !! Not very difficult. Was a cool day so was not too strenuous loved it

Thu May 24 2018

Amazing trail

hiking
Mon Sep 02 2013

A good workout to a great scenic outlook!

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