Lake Vista Loop (Malibu Creek State Park)
This enjoyable loop in the northwestern corner of Malibu Creek State Park provides, as its name promises, views of Malibou Lake, a body of water created in 1922 by the damming of nearby Medea Creek. It can be easily combined with the Lookout Loop, with which it shares a trail head, for a longer and more challenging hike.
Here, take a hard right onto the unsigned Lake Vista Trail. Almost immediately, you ascend a crude “staircase” and climb the north side of the ridge, weaving in and out of the shade, taking in a nice panorama of the meadow below; on the west-facing stretches of the trail you’ll get a good look at Sugarloaf, Ladyface and some of the other western summits.
A stiff climb brings you to the top of the ridge (1.4 miles.) Here you can enjoy a view of the lake, with antenna-covered Castro Peak dominating to the south. From this vantage point, the lake and the hills surrounding it give the landscape an exotic look; it’s no surprise that the lake has been featured in many TV and film productions, often standing in for a distant locale.
Continue along the ridge, descending to a T-junction with a service road (1.5 miles.) Here, you can take an optional detour by turning left, following the road 0.1 miles to a dead end above the lake, enabling for some more good views. The right fork descends steeply back down to the park, passing by a few private homes before reaching the meadow. Follow an unsigned single-track trail, keeping the wooden fence on your left, completing the loop at the parking area.