Distance: 5.2 Miles
Elevation Gain: 371 Feet
Location: Malibu Creek State Park, Malibu, CA
A beautiful, three-for-one hike located in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountain Range, Malibu Creek State Park offers activities for everyone.
The day starts on a paved path near a small pond where you oftentimes see kids jumping off the nearby rocks into and continues onto a relatively flat and wide dirt path running adjacent to Malibu Creek. A fair amount of tree coverage along the river grants a bit of shade for the first third of the hike.
As you move further, you'll come across the first fork – I recommend staying right and heading towards Century Lake first, before heading to the Rock Pools for a great payoff at the end of the day.
After the only, and rather short, vertical climb of the trail you'll reach Century Lake where a fair amount of the original Planet of the Apes was filmed in 1968.
Around these trails you'll spot a bit of everything from horseback riders to trail runners and mountain bikers and even rock climbers.
After crossing over the creek, the trail gets a bit overgrown – but if you're willing to push through, the trail becomes much quieter and less crowded.
About a mile later you'll find yourself at the filming location of the 70s TV-show M*A*S*H where you can refuel before heading back for the Rock Pool.
Now, a few miles back towards the start of the trail, you'll veer right and head towards the Rock Pool. Here you'll be granted some serene peace and quiet to relax, eat some lunch and read while taking in the California sun.
Spend as much time as you like recharging before taking the last mile back to the start of the trail. (Be wary of a bit of trail traffic on the river rock crossings on the route back.)
Overall the trail was a great way to spend half of a warm and sunny day. It has options for the whole family and can easily be revisited time and time again.