best hikes in malibu

17 Best Hikes in Malibu

Are you looking for all the best hikes in Malibu? 

Let’s forget all the big mansions owned by celebrities or millionaires for a second, did you know that Malibu has numerous hikes you can try?

This beach city is the perfect place if you want to escape the busy life and embark on a few adventurous activities while enjoying nature. 

Hiking enthusiast and WWB Writer Aina has found you all the perfect hiking spots in Malibu!

best hikes in Malibu

Here are the 17 best hikes in Malibu arranged from easy to difficult, to make it easy for you to plan your next hike. 

  1. The MASH Hike
  2. Escondido Canyon Trail
  3. Tuna Canyon Park
  4. Paramount Ranch
  5. Corral Canyon Loop
  6. Santa Ynez Waterfall
  7. The Zuma Ridge Hike
  8. Saddle Peak Trail
  9. Sandstone Peak
  10. The Grotto Trail
  11. Los Liones Canyon
  12. Solstice Canyon
  13. Big Sycamore Canyon Loop
  14. Zuma Canyon Loop Trail
  15. Mesa Peak
  16. Backbone Trail Loop
  17. Mugu Peak Trail

Disclaimer: This article may contain some affiliate links which means I may earn some commission when you click on it, but no additional cost to you. Hope you will find this article helpful.

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Why Hike in Malibu?

Malibu is a chilled city that allows you to enjoy your time with nature. In addition to hiking, you can do many other outdoor activities in this city. 

Once you have finished your hike, you can spend your time at the beach or go to cafes or restaurants to enjoy fresh seafood.

Your day trip will be packed with fun activities including hiking in Malibu.

Malibu is a chilled city that allows you to enjoy your time with nature. Its dramatic and unusual topographic setting makes this city one of a kind as this land is where the mountains meet the sea.

Most of the hikes will serve you a beautiful seascape. Not only will you see the greenery scenery but also the sea.

The best part is you can bring along your pet dog hiking as there are plenty of trails that would allow dogs. 

Malibu hikes cover all difficulties from the easy hikes until difficult hikes for the expert and you can also custom your trail because some trails are linked to each other

Capture moments and make vlogging easier by using this Durable, Flexible Phone Tripod when hiking and trekking.

best hikes in malibu phone tripod
  1. The MASH Hike

One of the easy hikes in Malibu is the MASH Hike.

This hike gets its name from a long-running television show known as M*A*S*H. Although it is an old television show, the location is still recognizable.

You can visit the site while you are there.

Another attraction here is you can take a dip in the water at Malibu Creek, especially on warm days after finishing your hike.

You can take the 101 Freeway or Highway 1 to go to the Malibu Creek State Park.  You need to pay $12 per car to enter the park.

There will be a few alternate trails in the park but the most popular one is the High Road as it is easy to follow.

After you are done with hiking, there is a nice lunch or dinner stop on the pier called Malibu Farm. They serve local fresh organic food.

  • Distance: 4.9 miles
  • Time: ~2 hours
  • Terrain: Mostly flat with some hills
  • Difficulty: Easy
  1. Escondido Canyon Trail

This hiking trail is good for all skills and levels.

The best part is that the trail is a dog-friendly hike You can bring along your dogs, but they must be kept on a Retractable Hands-Free Dog Leash.

best hikes in malibu dog leash

It is a wide trail, with a mix of slopes and hills and beautiful spring flowers. There are also some ropes to help you throughout the trail.

The Escondido Canyon Trail is one of the famous hikes in Malibu with waterfalls.

Escondido Falls is a three tiers waterfall. The first is easy to access but the other two are more difficult and need extra caution.

If you want some adventure, you can try to hike up to the third tier to experience it. Also, be cautious of bugs and ticks on the trail.

The parking lot is just off the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) and keep in mind that there will be no restroom, at the parking area nor along the trail.

You will be charged $12 for the parking fee or you can park on the roadside as parking lots are limited, but your car might get towed, vandalized, or broken into.

  • Distance: 3.7 miles
  • Time: ~ 2 hours
  • Terrain: Flat with some rocky hills
  • Difficulty: Easy
  1. Tuna Canyon Park

I can say this trail is a true local secret because you will see not many people hiking here. Perhaps it is because the trailhead is barely marked.

Hiking at Tuna Canyon is more of a walk and it is an ideal scenic nature tour for beginner hikers.

You will get to see an amazing view of the ocean and coastline while hiking up the trail.

Tuna Canyon hiking trail is also one of the dog friendly hikes in Malibu. If you are a beginner hiker and want to bring along your dog, this place is meant for you.

  • Distance: 5 miles
  • Time: ~ 2.5 hour
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Difficulty: Easy
  1. Paramount Ranch

This hiking trail allows the hikers to explore the old filming grounds while hiking.

There are plenty of dog friendly hikes in Malibu, and Paramount Ranch is not excluded. You just need to make sure the dog remains on a leash.

Paramount ranch trail is not a scenic hike, but you will see many wildflowers and wildlife if you are lucky.

  • Distance: 2.1 miles
  • Time: ~ 1 hour
  • Terrain: Some hills
  • Difficulty: Easy
  1. Corral Canyon Loop

Located opposite Corral Beach, this trail is one of the most accessible and easy Malibu hikes.

If you take the left trail, you will experience better ocean views as you climb higher. Once you arrive at the highest point, you will see the entire California coastline.

It is a fun and simple hike with ocean views throughout the trail. 

Plus, Corral Canyon Loop trail is one of the Malibu dog friendly hikes that you should not miss. Let your dog enjoy the walk and the view together with you.

There is a seafood restaurant right next to it but the parking lots are limited. So, you need to choose the right time which is early in the morning to get parking easily.

You can drop by Malibu Seafood for a quick classy meal after you are done hiking.

  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Time: ~ 1.5 hour
  • Terrain: rough and no shade
  • Difficulty: Easy
  1. Santa Ynez Canyon Trail

This out-and-back trail is one of many hikes in Malibu Ca that has waterfalls.

Although the trail seems short and easy, there are some things you need to be aware of while hiking here, such as poison oaks and bugs.

Other than that, Santa Ynez Canyon trail is a nice trail with a lot of shade.

  • Distance: 2.2 miles
  • Time: ~4 hours
  • Terrain: Mostly flat with some rock climbing
  • Difficulty: Easy
  1. The Zuma Ridge Hike

Zuma Ridge Hike is known for its rough canyon hike. You will have constant views of the Santa Monica Mountains and Pacific Ocean.

That is why this trail is in the best hikes in Malibu list. The hike will feel very short as you have a nice view along the way.

Unlike some other trails, this trail is free from poison oaks, so you can let your guard down.

You can bring your dog to this hike as it is a dog-friendly trail, but you must put them on a leash at all times.

  • Distance: 5.5 miles
  • Time: ~ 2 hour
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Difficulty: Easy
best hikes in malibu
  1. Saddle Peak Trail

Saddle Peak Trail is an out-and-back trail which is located near Topanga, California. 

This trail is a truly underrated hiking spot that you should experience while in Malibu. This trail will bring you to the top of the sixth highest peak of the Santa Monica Mountain.

Doesn’t it sound fun but exhausting? Fret not, the peak is only 450 feet from the trailhead.

This trail is one of the best hiking trails in Malibu Ca if you want to enjoy exquisite scenery along the trail. You will see full blooming native Humboldt lilies and wild berries along the wooded area.

Once you are out of the wooded area, a cool ocean breeze will accompany you for the rest of the journey. You will also encounter stunning rock formations and see some expensive estates in the hills. #bringthebinoculors

  • Distance: 3.4 miles
  • Time: ~2 hours
  • Terrain: Mostly flat with some rocky hills
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  1. Sandstone Peak

Known as the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, this hike is famous among locals because it is one of the best dog friendly hikes in Malibu. 

You can bring your dog but it must be kept on a leash.

Sandstone Peak is an out-and-back trail. You can start hiking from the Sandstone Peak Trailhead.

You will see panoramic views in Southern California once you are at the summit.

  • Distance: 3 miles
  • Time: ~1 hours
  • Terrain: Hard rocky route
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  1. The Grotto Trail

If you’re looking for Malibu hikes with dogs, the Grotto trail is one of them.

The Grotto trail is a peaceful hiking spot, and the trail is well maintained. You will like it if you want some privacy to clear your mind.

There will be some rock climbing on this out-and-back hiking trail but it’s still doable.

At the end of the trail, you will see a waterfall that looks like water tumbling off a rock like a showerhead going down 12 feet into a pool.

I would suggest you go on a late evening as you get to see the beautiful colour of the sky as the sunsets.

To get there, you need to drive to the Circle X Ranch Ranger Station which is on the right, and park there. The good part is the parking is FREE.

  • Distance: 2.5 miles
  • Time: ~ 1.5 hour
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  1. Los Liones Canyon

Los Lionel trail is a little bit different from other trails in Malibu. If you want to hike while enjoying greenery, this is the hike for you.

This hiking trail is popular, expect to see many people hiking on weekends. Since the hike is quite long, the number of people becomes lesser the further you hike.

I recommend you hike up until the Parker Mesa Overlook, because the view is worth the effort.

Here is a little help for you to make it to the top.

  • Distance: 4.4 miles
  • Time: ~ 3 hour
  • Terrain: Some shade and many hills
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  1. Solstice Canyon

This popular hiking trail is incredibly picturesque.

A few highlights you need to know when you are hiking at Solstice Canyon are a few ruins including the ruins of a moderate mansion, the oldest still-standing stone building and a small waterfall and creek.

There are also some wild bunnies on the trail if the trail is not crowded but you need to watch out for snakes.

If you come early in the morning, choose the counter-clockwise route as you will get the chance to see the sun rise.

  • Distance: 6 miles
  • Time: ~ 2 hour
  • Terrain:Mostly flat with some rock climbing
  • Difficulty: moderate
  1. Big Sycamore Canyon Loop

The Big Sycamore Canyon Loop is located inside the Point Mugu State Park and is a famous trail among other trails in the park.

The park is open from 8.00 a.m. until 9.00 p.m., and you need to pay $12 for the parking.

This hike is suitable if you want to go for a peaceful hike. Choose the counter-clockwise route and you will have the ocean view on the way down.

The trail is quite easy but the long trail that will test your endurance.

  • Distance: 10.2 miles
  • Time: ~  hour
  • Terrain: Flat
  • Difficulty: Moderate
  1. Zuma Canyon Loop Trail

The Zuma Canyon Loop trail is quite popular, because it is one of the best hikes in Malibu.

Since the trail is quite long, you will see fewer people hiking there. I recommend you start in a clockwise direction

Along the way, you will see great ocean views and virtually unspoiled canyon views. The challenging part is that you will be climbing two mountains.

This trail is also a popular equestrian route so you will need to watch out for horse poop.

  • Distance: 12 miles
  • Time: ~ 3 hour
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Difficulty: Moderate
best hikes in malibu
  1. Mesa Peak

Mesa Peak is the next best hiking place in Malibu that you need to try.

This undulating hike will give you great mountain views in one direction and ocean views in another direction with cool sandstone formations throughout the hike.

To get to the trailhead, you need to go to the Malibu Creek State Park and park your car at the Backbone Trailhead parking area.

There is another trail you can use to reach the Mesa Peak via Mesa Peak Motorway from Corral Canyon Road.

  • Distance: 6.5 miles
  • Time: ~  hour
  • Terrain:
  • Difficulty: Hard
  1. Backbone Trail Loop

The Backbone Trail Loop connects to numerous trails and is a loop through the Will Rogers State Park.

Presenting a breath-taking panoramic view over Los Angeles, this hiking trail in Malibu Ca is lined with eucalyptus trees.

Some tips for you:  It is better if you start hiking counter-clockwise but if you enjoy downhills, you can choose the clockwise route, and don’t forget to bring along at least one hiking pole.

You should stay on the trail once you reach the oak forest because there will be tons of poison oak.

This loop trail is challenging, as there will be some unexpected rock climbing along the trail.

  • Distance: 7.5 miles
  • Time: ~4 hours
  • Terrain:
  • Difficulty: Hard
  1. Mugu Peak Trail

The uniqueness of this trail is the Californian landscape of native grassland which you cannot see on other good hikes in Malibu.

This hike will serve your eyes spectacular coastal views, low rolling mountains and sweeping meadows of native grass.

Spring is the best time to hike, as you will get the best experience especially if you visit in the morning.

The Mugu Peak trailhead starts just outside the Point Mugu Naval Academy Base. You have to slow down once you’re getting close to the Navy grounds because you can easily miss the parking lot.

  • Distance: 5.2 miles 
  • Time: ~ 3 hours
  • Terrain: Mostly flat
  • Difficulty: Hard
best hikes in malibu

Things to Watch Out For When Hiking in Malibu

  • Some trails have poison oaks along the route. You have to be extra careful if you choose to hike there. 
  • Look out for snakes while you are hiking.
  • There will be bugs or hicks throughout some trails, especially the trails with shade. You should bring a Natural Insect Repellant.
best hikes in malibu insect repellant

Other Tips

  • Read other hikers’ reviews of the trail that you want to go on Alltrails and Hikespeak, especially more recent ones.
  • Don’t go hiking without any map or compass. You will end up getting lost. The reason is that the trail will look the same but lead to another way.
  • Look around, especially at the wildflowers along the route. They might look like bushes from afar but if you come closer, you will be mesmerized by their beauty.

All the hikes in Malibu, California have their uniqueness because each hike has different geographical features.

Before you try or enjoy other activities in Malibu, you need to experience some of the best hikes in Malibu. 

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