Peter Strauss Trail


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Hole in an oak on the Strauss Ranch Trail
Hole in an oak on the Strauss Ranch Trail

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.

Peter Strauss Trail

  • Location: Santa Monica Mountains, north of Malibu.  From highway 101, take the Kanan Road exit and head south for 3.1 miles.  Take a left on Troutdale Drive.  Follow it to its end at Mulholland Highway (0.3 miles) and go left.  The park is on your right, almost immediately.  From Pacific Coast Highway, head north on Malibu Canyon Road, which becomes Las Virgenes Road.  After 6.3 miles, head left on Mulholland and go 5.1 miles to the park, which will be on the left.
  • Agency:  Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area
  • Distance: 1 mile
  • Elevation gain: 200 feet
  • Difficulty Rating:  G
  • Suggested time: 30 minutes
  • Best season:  Year-round
  • USGS topo map: “Point Dume”
  • Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
  • More information: here
  • Rating: 4

If you are stuck in traffic on highway 101, you may be interested to know that there’s a short and enjoyable hiking trail only a few miles away.  The Peter Strauss trail is one of many quick little hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains that might not be on many top ten lists, but is still well worth a visit if you’re in the area.  It is named for the actor who was the estate’s last private owner before the area was taken over by the National Park Service in the 1980s.

From the parking lot, look for a short trail heading back toward Mulholland Highway.  After crossing a bridge over Triunfo Creek, take a left into the parking lot of the Peter Strauss ranch.  Pass the cactus garden and the picnic area at the far end of the lot, and pick up the trail.   After a short stretch, take a hairpin right turn (another trail heads straight) and negotiate a few switchbacks.  The vegetation includes sycamores and oaks, including one with a hole in the middle.

After some moderate climbing, the trail levels out before heading back down on a few more switchbacks.  You pass a stone ampitheater and an aviary before returning to the parking lot.
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