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.

Length6.9 miElevation gain1988 ftRoute typeLoop
HikingNature tripsWalkingBird watchingrunningBeachForestLakeViewsWildflowersWildlifeNo dogs
Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Getting There

Please note: parking area opens at 8am. 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.

$12 parking in the state park lot, free along the highway on the ocean side there is camping and showers at the state park

Take the PCH (highway 1) to near the Ventura/LA county boundary, the park entrance is on the mountain side.

Weather
UV Index
Daylight
Reviews (333)
Photos (393)
Recordings (314)
Completed (531)
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Byron Umana
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Hiking
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Raisa Ortega
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Hiking

There is almost no shade on this trail, so bring something for sun protection. It was 85° today, so the creek was pretty dry and no waterfall.

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Kris Chau
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Hiking

Great hike! Beautiful today. A bit windy but better than too hot. Second mile elevation gain was rough. But overall great hike!

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stephanie barron
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Hiking

Difficult continuous uphill but doable especially on a cool morning. Gorgeous views. Lake is a wonderful pause.

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TJ McNulty
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Hiking

Jax lost her sunglasses so I went back 1/2 mile to find them, so my recording is a mile longer than the trail.

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Vicente Cue
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HikingGreat!
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Jackie Wiggins
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HikingNo shadeRocky

The trail was well-maintained. Fairly rocky in parts. Definitely a climb up so not for beginner hikers. The descent was tough on the knees but not unbearable. Super windy on the way out. Cold wind at Nicholas Flats pond. Almost no wind on the return. The trail itself isn’t anything spectacular, but the views of the ocean and rock formations are worth the effort. A great way to start 2021!

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Alex Grosse
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Hiking

I loved this trail. Took the left for all loops. It was incredibly clear day. I could see the southern edge of Los Padres, Channel Islands, Catalina and even a sliver of the San Bernardino range. Also a remarkable view of Sandstone Peak which was really enjoyable. The reserve area was very peaceful. Saw some ducks enjoying the little pond. Nice spot to stop for a few mins. I’ll definitely be back.

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Daniel Guzman
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Nature tripsGreat!
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Alia Ollikainen
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Hiking
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Jimmy P
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HikingGreat!

Leo parking lot(or you can park on pch and run across highway.). Go early or on a cool day—no shade at all. Trail was all but empty—a great hike! Hiked clockwise. Good uphill at the start. 10:25. Car. Elevation: 25 10:50. Ocean vista, elevation: 628 11:35. Tallest trail spot w/market Elevation: 1719 12:00. Pond. Elevation: 1405 1:15. Car

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Vignesh Patel
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Hiking
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Joe Owens
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Hiking

Great trail. Hot, very little cover. Avoid the heat of the day. Went clockwise on each loop.

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Mike Patrick
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Christopher Smith
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Hiking

Grueling start.

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sapphire reels
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Hiking

Not the hardest of hikes, but definitely a workout. Would not recommend for people who do not hike regularly. All incline for the first part of it, and then the back is mostly decline, which can make it hard on the knees. But if you're up to it, it's worth it. Gorgeous views—especially on a clear day, you can see all islands. Like others have said, make sure to bring lots of water and sunscreen since there is no shade. The pond on the second loop is a great place to stop under some trees and have a mid hike snack.

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Mitch Wil
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Hiking

Really great accent. I would go lefts on the loops so you get the views on the way down. Watch out for rattlesnakes- they’ll warn you. The views were incredible.

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Anthony Herrera
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Hiking
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Alec Wittschiebe
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HikingNo shadeRocky

Beautiful trail, but as said in many reviews, it’s a serious hike. I didn’t do the “loop” section at the end but still ended up hiking 7 miles. The first half is ALL uphill. Bring water and sunscreen, no shade on this trail. Afterwards I crossed the highway (bridge tunnel) and let my feet cool down in the ocean. A great way to spend a Saturday or Sunday.

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Ally Drake
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HikingNo shade

Amazing views! This trail is strenuous so you will need to bring your hiking bag with water and snacks! We didn’t go up the whole trail because we didn’t bring everything we needed but it was beautiful and 100% recommend!

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Paul Ricard
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Tyrone Roach
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Hiking

Nice trail. Warm day, but ocean breeze made it doable for the most part.

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Zoe Greene
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HikingNo shade

This is not a hike for the faint hearted. Constant incline and very little shade. The pond was the perfect spot for a pit stop to rest and have a snack. There’s a few trees for shade. Great hike but can be a bit grueling for some. Worth it for the views and the reward of finishing it. Get there early to avoid the heat and enjoy the beach after!

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Bret Rungren
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Bryce Otanez
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Hiking

Peaceful and relaxing. The lake was a perfect spot to catch my breath and enjoy some snacks. You have the beach to enjoy if you start early.

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isabella sledge
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Hiking

Hiked this starting by 6:30. Left one car up at Nicholas flats trailhead so only hiked up. That was the way to go on this super hot day. Climbing the rock ledge gets you to a great resting spot in the shade looking down at the lake.

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Reuben Perin
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Hiking

Waaaay to hot at 8am. Need to be out by 6

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Karen Ehnert
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Hiking

It is a gradual climb to a great view and upper valley. No shade so it should only be done on a cool day. It was a workout. Very few hikers today.

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