Willow Creek Trail to Nicholas Flat Loop

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Nicholas Flat Natural Preserve

Willow Creek Trail to Nicholas Flat Loop is a 6.9 mile heavily trafficked loop trail located near Malibu, California that features a lake and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options.

Distance: 6.9 miles Elevation Gain: 1,988 feet Route Type: Loop

backpacking

hiking

nature trips

walking

bird watching

running

beach

forest

lake

views

wild flowers

wildlife

no dogs

Please note: parking area is reportedly closed due to COVID-19. 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.

hiking
no shade
over grown
6 days ago

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
14 days ago

Parking lots closed because of COVID19. Difficult to find alternative spaces. Hike itself was OK, not my favorite. Very exposed and hot even though it was only in the 70s when I went. Also very overgrown and views were just OK.

hiking
bugs
no shade
over grown
rocky
18 days ago

Needs maintenance, definitely wear something to cover your legs as the thorns might really agitate you at parts. Also, I recommend going both loops clockwise for the best views and potentially more shade at the end of the hike.

Good workout but not maintained well. I guess CalParks said “well, we can’t really keep you from going out here, but we can make it as annoying as possible.” AllTrails recommends counter clockwise for the loops but try clockwise, would probably be better.

hiking
over grown
18 days ago

Stunning views but definitely overgrown dress appropriately! For COVID reasons parking lot currently closed but you can walk from across the street Will come back!

This was an awesome, challenging, beautiful hike! There are wild flowers, including poppy’s, lining the trail at the beginning 1/3 of the route. It’s a bit steep, but worthwhile.

hiking
bridge out
2 months ago

running
no shade
2 months ago

hiking
bridge out
no shade
3 months ago

hiking
no shade
4 months ago

Quick ascent up the hill going clockwise from the first trail head. Great ocean views as you turn to look back at the ground you’ve covered. Not sure how this trail would be after rain given loose small rocks and clay surface. Trail going back down into the canyon has a handful of switchbacks with steep views over the edge into the canyon. Parking lot seems to accommodate a lot of people. It was nice to drive out to this point then make additional stops down the PCH driving back from Malibu to LA.

hiking
6 months ago

This trail will make you sore—some steep uphill and downhill portions! Didn’t see a single other hiker, had the trail to ourselves. Pack a picnic for the flat part at the top with incredible views! This trail has it all: great workout, amazing views, low traffic. 10/10

hiking
7 months ago

I enjoyed the trail. The first half was borderline hard for me. Nice to see the vegetation coming back after the fires. Around the pound a lot of blackened trees with green leaves. I thought it was pretty cool.

hiking
bridge out
bugs
over grown
rocky
8 months ago

hiking
no shade
9 months ago

We didn’t go the whole way because there is no shade and it’s very hot in the summer. Also, while I can’t speak to the rest of the trial, the first loop is fairly unremarkable scrub that is now just growing back from the Woosley Fire. Nice ocean views but the landscape is meh.

hiking
9 months ago

It connects all way to the pond from the beach. No shade. Snakes. Mtn lion scat. Great workout. Views excellent.

hiking
no shade
over grown
9 months ago

Fun trail into some dry Malibu wilderness. There’s a cool old rusty bridge to cross and a weird scum pond. The section just before and just after this first fork is really steep. Once you’re passed there it’s easy. Really overgrown toward the end and the quails in the bushes all sound like rattlesnakes. Didn’t see any snakes luckily just a couple suspicious fallen branches.

hiking
10 months ago

awesome

hiking
10 months ago

I hiked most of the trail yesterday. Had to turn back about 3.5 miles (per my Fitbit) in because I scared a rattlesnake into rattling. There is a bit of overgrowth and I didn’t see it until I heard it rattling. It scared the heck out of me. However, it was nice to see all the growth after the fire. The beauty of this hike is that after the hike, you can take a plunge in the Ocean.

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