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As seen in the Nobody Hikes in L.A. guidebook!

Pond at Rocky Oaks Park, Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu, CA

Cattle pond, Rocky Oaks Park

Rocky Oaks Park, Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu, CA

Woodlands in Rocky Oaks Park

Text and photography copyright 2010 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

Rocky Oaks Park

  • Location: Santa Monica Mountains near Agoura Hills.  From the 101 freeway, take Kanan Road south for 5.5 miles to Mulholland.  Take a right on Mulholland and turn right into the park almost immediately.  From Malibu, take Kanan Dume Road north for 6.2 miles and take a left on Mulholland.
  • Agency: Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
  • Distance: 1.2 miles
  • Elevation gain: 150 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: G
  • Suggested time: 45 minutes
  • Best season: Year round
  • USGS topo map: “Point Dume”
  • More information: National Park Service home page here; LA Mountains info page here; trip descriptions here and here.
  • Rating: 5

Rocky Oaks Park is good to know about, whether you are looking for a quick escape from the heat of the San Fernando Valley or a nice little warmup hike before doing a bigger trek  in the Santa Monica Mountains.  The only drag about this hike is that its close location to two major streets means it never really escapes the noise of the cars, but for a small (200 acres) park, Rocky Oaks offers a lot of variety.

The basic layout of the park is built around a pond, the size of which depends on the time of year and the amount of recent rainfall.  The Rocky Oaks Loop trail takes in all of the sights of the park, although I recommend taking a short stretch of the Pond Trail to get closer to the water’s surface and farther from the roads.  Take the loop trail north out of the parking lot (the trail on the lot’s east side is your return route).  Head left at the first junction, passing through a stand of oaks, and stay straight as you cross a fire road.  The Rocky Oaks Loop trail switchbacks up a ridge, providing nice views of the pond and the big homes on the nearby hills, before dipping down to Kanan Road.

Just before reaching Kanan, take a hairpin turn to the right and head back toward the pond.   Take a left to stay on the loop trail, and then a right for the Pond Trail.  After passing by the pond, bear left and stay straight as you cross the Rocky Oaks Loop trail again.  You now enter a picnic area under some large oaks, and you meet the Glade Trail.  Take a right and head back to the parking lot.

If the layout seems at all confusing, make sure you pick up a free map at the trailhead.  It may seem longer, but the route I described really is just over a mile.

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