Difficulty PG Distance 2.1 to 5 miles General information: Hikes with free parking Rating: 7-8 Santa Monica Mountains (West) Season: All year

Lost Cabin Trail and M*A*S*H site (Malibu Creek State Park)


SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

View from the Lost Cabin Trail, Malibu Creek State Park
The M*A*S*H filming site, Malibu Creek State Park

Lost Cabin Trail and M*A*S*H site  

  • Location: Calabasas, near Malibu Creek State Park.  From Highway 101, take the Las Virgenes exit (32) and head south for 3.3 miles.  Turn right on Mulholland Highway.  At 1.9 miles, park at a dirt turnout on the left side of the road.    From Pacific Coast Highway, take Malibu Canyon Road north for 6.3 miles (it becomes Las Virgenes along the way) and turn left on Mulholland.  The unsigned Cistern Trail begins from this parking lot.
  • Agency:  Malibu Creek State Park
  • Distance: 4.8 miles
  • Elevation gain:  650 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time:  2.5 hours
  • Best season: Year-round (hot during the summer)
  • USGS topo maps: Malibu Beach
  • Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat
  • More information: here; video of the M*A*S*H site here
  • Rating: 7

This hike visits one of Malibu Creek State Park’s most popular sites: the filming location for the TV show “M*A*S*H.” However, the real reward is the scenic and secluded Lost Cabin Trail, which visits some of the park’s most remote landscapes.  This route has enough shade that it can be done during the summer, although since most of the climbing is on the return, make sure you get off to an early start – or be prepared to deal with mid-day heat.

There are several ways to reach the M*A*S*H site; the quickest is probably via the Cistern Trail, as described here. Follow it uphill from Mulholland, taking in great views on both sides: the Goat Buttes and Mt. Berents on the left (east), and Sugarloaf, Ladyface, Reagan Ranch and more on the right. The trail dips down into a wooded area, makes a few switchbacks and meets the Lookout Trail.

Head left, and make a steep descent over the next 0.4 miles, reaching Crags Road, just above Century Lake. Head right on Crags Road, the “main drag” of Malibu Creek State Park.

You follow Crags for a mile, during which you cross Malibu Creek on a footbridge and enter a pleasant, almost jungle-like woodland. Stay straight as the Forest Trail branches off. The trail hugs the canyon wall before widening into a fire road.

You reach the M*A*S*H site, where you can see some abandoned vehicles once used on the show, some interpretive plaques, and the famed multi-directional signpost.

After exploring the site, look for the Lost Cabin Trail, heading south. You head uphill gradually for half a mile, getting nice views of the area’s characteristic sandstone geology. The last quarter mile descends into a marsh-like area, with more nice views. It crosses a stream bed before ending somewhat anti-climatically at a sign post.  As the trail’s name suggests, a cabin once stood on the site, although virtually no trace of it remains.

But while the ending may be a little abrupt, the scenery along the way makes this hike one of the better ones in Malibu Creek State Park. Whether you’re a television buff or a geology geek, you’re sure to find something to enjoy on this hike.

Text and photography copyright 2012 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.

Advertisements

2 comments

  1. “Lost Cabin Trail and M*A*S*H site (Malibu Creek State
    Park) Nobody Hikes in L.A.” was in fact really compelling and insightful!

    Within the present day world that is quite hard to execute.
    With thanks, Kurtis

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s