Difficulty PG Distance 2.1 to 5 miles General information: Hikes with free parking Rating: 7-8 Santa Monica Mountains (West) Season: Fall/Early Winter Season: Late Winter/Spring

Rock Pool via Grasslands Trail (Malibu Creek State Park)


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Crossing Malibu Creek
Dusk on the Grasslands Trail, Malibu Creek State Park

Rock Pool via Grasslands Trail (Malibu Creek State Park)

    • Location: Calabasas, near the intersection of Mulholland Highway and Las Virgenes Road.  From Highway 101, take the Las Virgenes Road exit and go south for 3.1 miles to Mulholland Highway.  Take a right on Mulholland Highway and almost immediately, look for the Grasslands Trail on the left.  Limited parking is available on the side of the road (if there is none, you can also park in a small dirt lot on the corner of Mulholland and Las Virgenes.)  From Pacific Coast Highway, drive north on Malibu Canyon Road for 6.3 miles (during which time the street changes its name to Las Virgenes).  Turn left on Mulholland.
    • Agency:  Malibu Creek State Park
    • Distance: 3.3 miles
    • Elevation gain:  350 feet
    • Difficulty Rating: PG
    • Suggested time:  2 hours
    • Best season: October – June
    • USGS topo maps: Malibu Beach
    • More information: here; Everytrail report here
    • Rating: 7

This enjoyable loop visits the Rock Pool, one of Malibu Creek State Park’s landmarks. Starting in the northeastern corner of the park, this trip is a nice, moderate workout that takes in some of the area’s best scenery.

From the Grasslands Trail, head south into the park, passing through a landscape of rolling hills and oaks that might seem more like the Midwest or wine country than Los Angeles. After a short incline, you come to a split. Head down-hill on an unsigned trail, with nice views of the Goat Buttes in front of you. Bear right at the next junction and soon you arrive at the bottom of the hill.

Turn right onto High Road, a wide fire road that goes under a canopy of large oaks, providing nice shade on hot days. Bear left at the next junction and soon you meet up with Crags Road, the main route through the park. To reach the Rock Pool, head straight, passing the left side of a picnic area and entering a canyon. High sandstone walls on both sides are popular destinations for rock climbers.

Soon you reach the Rock Pool, where you can sit at a picnic table and enjoy the scenery. The Rock Pool is created by volcanic boulders that dam the creek.

After retracing your steps, continue the loop by turning right on Crags Road. You cross a bridge, which is a nice place to stop and take pictures of the creek as it flows beneath the hills. Soon you bear left on a trail that goes through the meadow and crosses Malibu Creek. On the other side, pick up Waycross Drive, head briefly to the left and then make a right to stay on Crags Road. Soon you’ll see the Grasslands Trail heading off to the left. Make your ascent, and in a quarter mile, you rejoin the first segment of the loop. Retrace the last half mile back to Mulholland.

Text and photography copyright 2011 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. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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2 comments

    1. Thanks for reading, glad you’re getting some good ideas about places to go. There’s certainly a lot of cool stuff to see here.

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