view of hiking in malibu

7 Breathtaking Malibu Hikes with Mountain and Coastal Views

Welcome to Malibu, where there are endless coastline and ocean views!

While these views can be enjoyed by taking a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway or at one of the many Malibu beaches, there are even better vantage points for taking in all the beauty of this coastal city—on a hike in Malibu!

Malibu is full of hiking trails that wind throughout the Santa Monica Mountains and even along the shoreline.

With the ocean being so close, the weather is slightly cooler and ideal for hiking. But as always with hiking in California, be sure to wear ample sun protection as some of these Malibu hikes do not have any shade.

Now lace up your hiking shoes and get ready to witness some of the best panoramic views of the ocean that you can get in southern California!

Note: Each trail listed below will include the link to the park’s website. Make sure to check the park website for more up-to-date information on the hours of operation and other important details on accessibility (e.g., if dogs are allowed, if restrooms are available, etc.).

Malibu is also prone to fires, especially during the summer months, so it’s crucial to be aware of park closures!

Easy Malibu Hikes

Point Dume Cove Trail

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Point Dume endpoint of Malibu hike looking over the blue waters of the Pacific Ocean on a sunny day in Malibu

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 1.4 miles
Elevation Gain: 347 feet
Route Type: Out and back

Point Dume Cove Trail is full of breathtaking sights to see!

While the trail is both short and easy, you will end up spending a decent amount of time with the hike as you soak in the beauty all around you. Bring your camera!

The trail weaves throughout the elevated cape of the Malibu shore. In the spring, you’re likely to see many colorful wildflowers in full bloom.

With the expanse of the ocean right before your eyes, the opportunity to see marine life is abundant.

Not only do sea lions like to sunbathe along the bluffs, but whales and dolphins tend to come above water as they like to swim by the headland—this really isn’t a view you get to see every day, so take your time here!

Trailhead Address: 7299 Westward Beach Road is located at the end of the cul-de-sac where the pavement ends. The trail begins on the sand and the path leads you up the bluffs.

Parking: Very limited parking at the top near the preserve, so park below the bluffs at the Westward Beach lot for $8: 7103 Westward Beach Rd, Malibu, CA 90265.

See the park website here.

Escondido Falls Trail

The rushing waterfall of Escondido Falls after a short Malibu hike after a rainy reason so there is water flowing in the fall

Difficulty: Easy
Distance: 4.2 miles
Elevation Gain: 626 feet
Route Type: Out and back

If you hike this trail a few days after rainfall, you’ll be in for a real treat! 

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In the beginning, you’ll walk up through the paved road of the Malibu Hills where you can see some gorgeous luxury homes!

The road will end and a trail sign will indicate the actual start of the trailhead.

The path is nicely shaded and takes you into the forest where you will eventually reach the first waterfall.

At this point, follow the path that leads you up a steep incline to the right of the waterfall. This is where you must be careful with your footing!

It is highly recommended that you wear hiking boots or shoes with good traction as there is loose gravel and it can be very slippery.

After this, you’ll reach the second waterfall. It’s a little smaller than the first, but still beautiful. After taking in the view, you’ll make another scramble up to reach the final and largest waterfall that is a spectacular 150-feet tall! 

Trailhead Address: 27364 Winding Way, Malibu, CA 90265

Parking: $12 fee to park in the small lot located at 27807 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu, CA 90265.

See the park website here.

M*A*S*H Hike

Rusted vehicle at the endpoint of a popular hike in Malibu on a partly cloudy day

Difficulty: Easy
Distance:  4.85 miles
Elevation Gain: 652 feet
Route Type: Out and back

The M*A*S*H Hike is unlike any other hike in Malibu.

Why? The 1970s box-office hit movie M*A*S*H* was filmed on the trail!

Even if you haven’t seen the movie, it’s still an opportunity to explore and learn about the production set of a unique piece in film history.

The hike takes you along the serene Malibu Creek and straight to the filming site where you can see the restored ambulance truck that was left behind by the studio (also known as the “Welcome Wagon” in the movie).

Take advantage of this sight and get your photo op in!

The hike is well-marked, easy to follow, and without many inclines, so it’s perfect for bringing the entire family.

Trailhead Address: 1925 Las Virgenes Rd, Calabasas, CA 91301

Parking: $12 all-day park entrance fee. When entering the park, drive to the far back lot, which is the closest to the trailhead (a restroom is nearby). There is also free parking along Mulholland Highway (a 1/2 mile away).

See the park website here.

Medium Hikes in Malibu

Temescal Canyon Trail 

Difficulty: Medium
Distance: 2.6 miles
Elevation Gain: 882 feet
Route Type: Loop

The most striking feature about the Temescal Canyon Trail that makes this a favored hike in Malibu is the sweeping, uninterrupted views of the Malibu and Santa Monica coastline. 

When you begin the trail, ascend the path up the steps and take a right. The trail will be a steady incline with some steep portions.

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You will also pass through a bridge that indicates you are at the Temescal Canyon Falls (although there usually isn’t much of a waterfall unless you hike this Malibu trail a few days after rainfall).

Once you reach a junction in the trail, make a left and this is where the magic is!

This trail takes you along the Temescal ridgeline and includes several vantage points where you can stop to take in the beauty of the vast ocean, rugged bluffs, and luxury oceanside homes.

From here on out, the trail is a pleasant descent that loops back to the starting point.

Trailhead Address: 15601 Sunset Blvd, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Parking: $12 self-pay parking in the Temescal Gateway Park, or there is free street parking available in the nearby neighborhoods (e.g., along Via De La Pez street)—the walk from the neighborhoods is about an extra 10-15 minutes from the trailhead.

See the park website here.

Los Leones Trail

Difficulty: Medium
Distance: 1.3 miles
Elevation Gain: 543 feet
Route Type: Out and back

The Los Leones Trail is a short hike in Malibu, but it provides both a moderate challenge and breathtaking coastline and ocean views.

It’s perfect for those who want to get a quick hike in (it should take less than 1 hour!) and still be rewarded with views. 

The trail is nicely shaded throughout the beginning as you ascend the canyon, making it a good hike for hotter days.

When you reach the end of the hike, you will arrive at the Paseo Miramar Viewpoint and be gifted with panoramic views of the Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica coastline.

They say that on a clear day (which happens quite often in LA), you’ll be able to see all the way out to Catalina Island!

If you want to add some mileage and stunning views, continue on to the Parker Mesa Overlook (pictured) for about 5 more miles roundtrip (read more on the hike here)

Trailhead Address: 510 Los Liones Dr, Pacific Palisades, CA 90272

Parking: Free parking in the lot at the trailhead.

See the park website here.

Corral Canyon Loop Trail

Vibrant yellow wildflowers covering Corral Canyon, Malibu, California

Difficulty: Medium
Distance: 2.5 miles
Elevation Gain: 531 feet
Route Type: Loop

The Corral Canyon Loop is a popular trail for mesmerizing ocean-view hiking!

The trail starts with a gradual incline that gets your heart pumping for a moderately challenging workout throughout the hills of the canyon.

The path is narrow at some parts and can also be overgrown with vegetation, so it’s highly recommended to wear long pants for this hike. There is also no shade, so make sure to wear sun protection.

To make the most out of this hike, hike the trail clockwise (turn left at the first junction). 

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You’ll be gifted with the sight of the beautiful Malibu shoreline and majestic sea glimmering beneath the sunlight the entire way down.

Insider Tip: Conveniently enough, Malibu Seafood is right next to the trailhead, so reward yourself with a delicious post-hike meal!

Trailhead Address: 25623 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Parking: $12 parking fee in lot, or free parking along the Pacific Coast Highway.

See the park website here.

Difficult Hikes in Malibu

Mugu Peak Trail

Santa Monica Mountains near Point Mugu

Difficulty: Hard
Distance: 2.7 miles
Elevation Gain: 1,246 feet
Route Type: Loop

Take on the challenge of hiking up Mugu Peak and you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the Malibu coastline!

The entire trail is a steep path containing loose gravel, so it’s recommended to wear sturdy hiking boots and to use hiking poles (especially for the descent). 

Once you’ve accomplished the difficult incline, you’ll walk along the ridgeline that overlooks the ocean and coastline.

You’ll reach the summit once you see an American flag, which means it’s time to take a break and congratulate yourself for all the hard work you did conquering one of Malibu’s most difficult hikes!

Trailhead Address: Pacific Coast Hwy, NAS Point Mugu, CA 93042

Parking: $12 all-day parking at the lot by the trailhead. 

See the park website here.

Where to Stay in Malibu

A stay in Malibu will not be cheap, but it will be amazing! If you are visiting Malibu on a weekend getaway from LA and you need to overnight, be prepared to shell out some big bucks — but also, get ready for a really memorable stay.

One of the most luxurious places to stay in Malibu is the Calamigos Guest Ranch & Beach Club. Located in the mountains on a 200-acre property, it also has its own private beach club for the best of both worlds. With several pools and a spa, it’ll be hard to tear yourself away!

For a more affordable stay, the M Malibu is an option. Honestly, it’s nothing special — and the price is still on the high side — but it’s the best option for the price.

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