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Top 5 Things to Do at Malibu Creek State Park

Top 5 Things to Do at Malibu Creek State Park

Learn all about the beautiful Malibu Creek State Park and the top 5 things to do there. Team


4 min read

July 06, 2023

Nestled in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu Creek State Park is a spectacular California state park offering a quintessential blend of natural beauty, history, and adventure. Spanning over 8,215 acres, it extends from Malibu to Calabasas and is home to hiking trails, picnic spots, campsites, and breathtaking scenic views. Just an hour's drive from downtown Los Angeles, it's a must-visit location for nature enthusiasts and city dwellers in need of a peaceful retreat.

The history of the park is equally captivating. It was once inhabited by the Chumash people, an indigenous tribe, whose traces can be found in several archaeological sites. Later, it became part of the Spanish Mission landholdings, before being converted into a prominent movie location by 20th Century Fox Studios. The park has served as a backdrop for numerous films and TV shows, including the classic TV series, "MAS*H". In 1976, the State of California purchased the land, marking the birth of Malibu Creek State Park.

The historic Malibu Creek State Park is one of the many great parks in California worth visiting.

When to Visit

Malibu Creek State Park is open all year round, offering unique experiences in every season.

Spring is a fantastic time to visit. The park blossoms with native wildflowers, and the creek's flow is at its peak, making it an ideal season for nature photography. Hiking is enjoyable, with mild temperatures and scenic trails brimming with vibrant flora and fauna.

During the summer, the park turns into a sun-soaked haven. Although it can get quite warm, the trails are usually well-shaded, providing a comfortable hike. It's also a perfect time for camping under the stars and engaging in some mountain biking.

In autumn, the park offers a brilliant display of fall colors, creating a picturesque landscape. The temperatures cool down, making it an ideal time for exploring the park's longer and more challenging trails. Autumn is also an excellent time for bird watching, as many migratory species pass through the park.

Winter in Malibu Creek State Park is mild and offers a quiet, serene environment. While the temperature is cooler, it is still conducive to outdoor activities like hiking and nature walks. The park’s deciduous oaks shed their leaves, offering an unobstructed view of the majestic mountains.

A stroll through Malibu Creek State Park is a pristine example of the varied and beautiful landscape California offers.

How to Get There and Fees

Getting to Malibu Creek State Park is straightforward. If you're coming from downtown Los Angeles, you can take the US-101 N freeway. Exit at Las Virgenes Road and continue for about 3 miles. The park entrance will be on your right-hand side.

There's a daily parking fee of $12 per vehicle, payable at the entrance. The parking lots are open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. For those interested in camping, there are 63 campsites available at $45 per night. Reservations are recommended, especially during the busy summer months. Note that all rates are as of 2023 and may be subject to change.

For hiking enthusiasts, there's an annual pass available, the California Explorer Vehicle Day Use Annual Pass, which costs $195. This pass allows day-use parking at most California state parks, including Malibu Creek, and could be a cost-effective choice if you plan to visit frequently or explore other state parks.

Remember that the park also has an entrance fee for pedestrians, bicyclists, and those entering via bus. It's $3 per person, though children under 16 enter for free. The park is highly accessible, making it a favorite among families, solo adventurers, and groups of friends alike.

The rolling landscape of Malibu Creek State Park is a sight to behold for hikers seeking a stunning view.

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Top 5 Things to Do at Malibu Creek State Park

Hiking and Biking

With over 15 miles of trails ranging from easy to moderately difficult, hiking and mountain biking are some of the most popular activities at Malibu Creek State Park. The trails weave through oak and sycamore woodlands, chaparral-covered slopes, and along the banks of Malibu Creek. An absolute must-visit is the Rock Pool, a popular spot for rock climbing and a scenic beauty that offers the chance to witness native wildlife in their natural habitat.

Visit the MAS*H Site

Fans of the classic TV show "MAS*H" can't miss a chance to visit the actual film set located within the park. It's a relatively easy 2.5-mile hike to the site where interpretative displays and remaining set pieces transport visitors back to the Korean War-based show. Don't forget to take memorable photos with the iconic ambulance and signpost!

Fans of the legendary television show will appreciate visiting the filming location at Malibu Creek State Park.

Camping Under the Stars

For the full outdoor experience, camping in Malibu Creek State Park is a must. The park's family-friendly campground offers 63 sites, each equipped with a picnic table and a fire ring. Wake up to the chirping of birds, roast marshmallows over a crackling fire, and sleep under the mesmerizing blanket of stars. It's an experience not to be missed!

Birdwatching and Wildlife Observation

The park serves as a habitat for a rich variety of wildlife. On any given day, you might see deer, rabbits, foxes, or even a bobcat. Birdwatchers will be thrilled with the opportunity to spot over 60 species of birds, including red-tailed hawks, woodpeckers, and the occasional soaring eagle.

There's ample wildlife to observe while visiting Malibu Creek State Park.

Photography and Picnicking

Armed with your camera, you can capture the natural beauty of Malibu Creek State Park. Whether it's the vibrant wildflower bloom in spring or the golden hues of fall foliage, the park offers countless photographic opportunities. Pack a picnic and enjoy a leisurely lunch at one of the many picnic spots scattered throughout the park, surrounded by the serenity of nature.

With its unique blend of rich history, diverse flora and fauna, and a myriad of outdoor activities, Malibu Creek State Park offers something for everyone. Whether you're a seasoned outdoor enthusiast or a city dweller looking for a refreshing escape, a trip to this California state park will leave you with cherished memories and a rekindled love for the great outdoors.

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