Nicholas Flat Trail

MODERATE 105 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Nicholas Flat Trail is a 6.9 mile lightly trafficked loop trail located near Malibu, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round.

6.9 miles
2,047 feet



nature trips

trail running




wild flowers


no dogs

Beautiful trail in Leo Carillo State Park that takes you from the beach to the mountains. Nothing too steep or technical, and you'll be rewarded with amazing views. Be sure to check out the wildflowers here when they are in bloom.

7 hours ago

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

17 days ago

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

17 days ago

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.

2 months ago

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.

3 months ago

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

4 months ago

Was awesome

6 months ago

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!

7 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!

trail running
10 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.

11 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.

Monday, August 14, 2017

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.

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.

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.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dry and dusty hike. Work is being done around the pond by state crews -- some needed improvements. I spotted deer(2) on the Natural Preserve side and it was much greener on this side with some much appreciated shade.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Hiked on 6/9/12. Cool morning with marine layer; hit trail at 8:30.

The trail starts right near the entrance kiosk to the Leo Carrillo Park/Parking Lot at a trailhead labeled "Camp 13". About 20 yards up the hill is the Trailhead.

We took Willow Creek Trail (to the right) which meets up w Nicholas Flat after about 1 mile. Turn right where these meet.

Then, just cruise up the ridge line another 1.5 miles and you will get to a T. To the right is the highest point of the ridge and great view of the ocean. To the left, you will walk up about 30 yards and hit the trail marker. Go right here.

Then you cruise down through a bunch of brush, tons of flowers, and a big meadow. At the next major T, take the furthest right option which leads down to the Pond.

Great trail for being relatively close to LA/Santa Monica.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Nice views. Lots of ticks. Found two on my legs and brushed them off before they could attach.

1 day ago

17 days ago

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