Malibu Creek State Park is a great get-away place for the whole family. It’s also especially popular with bikers and hikers who live anywhere near the Santa Monica Mountains. If you’ve never had a chance to visit, a real outdoor adventure awaits you. It’s close enough to escape the hubbub of the city for an hour or two or go enjoy a full day visit. It’s also a great place to sneak in a day or two of camping.
The park entrance is located at 1925 Las Virgenes Road, between the communities of Calabasas on the east with Lake Malibu on the west. The park spreads over thousands of acres in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains and the creek eventually drains out to the Pacific Ocean at Malibu Lagoon far to the south.
If you look at the history of the area you’ll find that the Chumash settled in these hills thousands of years ago. European settlers eventually supplanted the Indians and occupied the mountains.
The park was established in 1976 with a large portion of the land donated by the famous comedian Bob Hope. Additional parcels came from Paramount and 20th Century Fox movie studios that owned and used the land for movie locations
In fact, the site where M.A.S.H., a highly popular TV series filmed here depicting life in an Army field hospital during the Korean War, left their iconic signpost that was seen on TV. The sign has arrows with mileage to cities and places faraway from the fictional Korean War post. There are also plaques with cast photos and other illustrations describing the site. TV re-runs of the series are still popular late night and this spot is very popular with visitors.
For day visitors the park has a picnic area, restrooms, and easy-to-do short excursions. Crags Road leads from the parking lot at the entrance on the east side of the park exit by Malibu Lake on the other side about 4 miles west. The road is broad and perfect for bikers as well as hikers. The road will lead you along Century River to Century Lake and then to the M.A.S.H site.
However, Malibu Creek State Park truly is a multi-use park complete with campsites. The campsites are usually available during the week but fill up fast on weekends.
A central feature of the park is Century River. It flows through the park generally in an eastward direction and is dammed at one point forming Century Lake. There is a shaded Rock Pool that beckons the weary to sit a spell and relax. The more adventurous, to cool off on a hot day, will splash around in the pool.
Another draw to Malibu Creek State Park is that it is in the Santa Monica Mountains. So even though suburban towns are nearby a number of wild animals reportedly roam the area. Notice that the park’s trash receptacles are the type designed to keep wild animals from getting into the trash. Rattlesnakes make this area home as well as coyotes. Check with the ranger before you go hiking or biking deep into the hills and canyons. By the way, dogs are not allowed on the trails. Check with the rangers at the entrance for park regulations.
If you’d like to learn more about the park before you visit go to www.parks.ca.gov. Use “Visit a Park” in the drop down menu, type in “Malibu Creek SP”. This will bring you to the website for Malibu Creek State Park. Here you can find information regarding parking, day use, camping registration and regulations, a calendar of upcoming events, map and directions, and other information.
To get to the Malibu Creek State Park, take the 101 Freeway to Las Virgenes off-ramp and go south to Mulholland Highway. The entrance is just southwest of the intersection. Fee parking is available. However, to avoid paying the fee many people, especially bikers, park on Mulholland Highway.
Whether you gather up the family and load up the bikes for a quick spin in the mountains, or make reservations for a short camping trip you’ll agree that Malibu Creek State Park is a great get-away for the whole family.
Enjoy your trip.