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aerial photograph of Malibu Creek State Park

Malibu is one of California’s prime beach locations.

However, when visiting its sands you should also take the opportunity to check out Malibu Creek State Park. It offers just as much in the way of recreational enjoyment.

Established in 1976, this picturesque 8,215-acre California state park forms a part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

Starting just before Lake Malibu and stretching all the way to the Pacific coast, the park preserves the Malibu Creek canyon. It has been called ‘the Yosemite of Southern California’ and because of its pristine natural beauty has featured in countless films and TV shows, including Planet of the Apes and M*A*S*H.

Comprising three nature preserves, every year more than 300,000 people come to the park to enjoy outdoor recreational activities like fishing, hiking, birding and picnicking.

You can also go on a number of ranger-led and self-guided excursions, and for those who want to camp overnight, there are several campsites available at its rustic campground.


Visitors can engage in a wide range of outdoor recreational activities whilst they are at Malibu Creek State Park.

Outlined below is a brief rundown of some of the many things you can see and do whilst you are there.

Century Lake at Malibu Creek State Park

Reagan Ranch at Malibu Creek State Park

Between 1957 and 1967 Ronald and Nancy Reagan owned a spectacular ranch at Malibu Creek State Park.

This ranch is available to visit today and sits on a beautiful rolling meadow. It features over 700 miles of horseback trails.

The original stables have been converted into the ranch’s headquarters and exhibit plenty of information about the Reagan’s, the ranch and the surrounding area.

Mesa Peak Hiking Trail at Malibu Creek State Park

You’ll definitely want to bring your hiking boots with you to the park because there are several different trails you can tackle.

One of the most popular trails to attempt is the Mesa Peak Hiking Trail. Although it will provide a strenuous challenge for some to get to its summit, the views you will get on the way up, and whilst on it, are sensational.

Malibu Lagoon State Beach at Malibu Creek State Park

Although it is not technically in Malibu Creek State Park, Surfrider Beach is a terrific place to go to if you want to ride some top notch waves.

It is also a very good spot for bird watching, particularly during the migratory season, as well as picnicking and saltwater fishing.

At sunrise and sunset the light here is perfect for photography.

Hillside on a clear day at Malibu Creek State Park

Adamson House at Malibu Creek State Park

If you love looking at beautiful architecture, then you should make a point of visiting Adamson House.

Previously referred to as Vaquero Hill, this stunning structure was built in 1929. It has many notable points of interest, but one of the main ones is the ornate handmade tiles that were used to decorate it.

Made by more than 100 different craftsmen, these spectacular tiles were made in Moroccan, Mayan, Moorish, Saracen and Persian-inspired designs. Other highlights include a dog bathtub and a number of stunning fountains.

The best way to explore the house is by a docent-led tour. This will provide you with deeper insights into its design, original furnishings and architecture.

Malibu Pier at Malibu Creek State Park

Another popular destination at the park is the Malibu Pier.

Recently restored, the historic pier provides a lovely seaside experience that taps into America’s old Riviera.

The pier is a lovely spot to fish and surf and also has plenty of shops and restaurants. Whilst looking out to the water, you might also see dolphins too.

Corral Canyon Cave at Malibu Creek State Park

Fans of Jim Morrison and The Doors will want to come to Corral Canyon Cave, as it is reputedly the place where the brilliant frontman penned some of his most famous songs.

You will have to do a bit of a hike to get to the cave. But it is a lovely walk and the views along the way are also spectacular.

Once you arrive there, you will be in an area of real tranquility. It might even provide you with the inspiration to write a song of your own!

sunset at Malibu Creek State Park

Castro Crest at Malibu Creek State Park

Another excellent trail to do at the park is the Castro Crest Trail.

Extending for over 10 miles, the trail comprises an out and back route. It is popular with birders, cyclists, hikers and photographers and showcases magnificent views of the ocean.

Should you tackle it in the winter, you’ll also get to marvel at the spectacular snow-capped mountains that hover in the distance.


The park is renowned for being pet-friendly, although several conditions on their presence are set in place.

To clarify what they are, it is worth contacting the park’s main office for a full overview of their pet policy.


For those who want to stay overnight, the Malibu Creek State Park Group Campground offers plenty of options.

The campground is situated near the hiking trails and most of the park’s main attractions. Although it is a little rustic it does accommodate 63 sites and there are restrooms and showers available.

Several of the sites at the campground are wheelchair-accessible. They can also host RVs of up to 30 feet.

While at the campground you will find a dump station. Generators can also be used at specific times of the day as well.

Should you intend to visit the park in a group there is a separate campground you can stay at. This campground can be reserved in advance of your visit and has hot water showers, restrooms and lots of space to congregate outside.

Park Location

Malibu Creek State Park
1925 Las Virgenes Road
Calabasas, CA 91302
Phone: 310.457.8144

Park Website



Here is a short YouTube video showcasing several attractions at Malibu Creek State Park: