Lake Vista Loop (Malibu Creek State Park)
- Location: Malibu, near Cornell. From highway 101, take the Kanan Road exit and head south for 0.5 miles. Bear left onto Cornell Way. Go 2.3 miles, and just past Mulholland Highway, turn left into the parking area. (The road is called Lake Vista on this side of Mulholland). From Pacific Coast Highway, take Malibu Canyon north for a total of 6.3 miles (it becomes Las Virgenes on the way) and turn left on Mulholland. Go 3.2 miles and turn left on Lake Vista. Take the first left into the parking lot.
- Agency: Malibu Creek State Park
- Distance: 1.8 miles
- Elevation gain: 400 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Best season: Year round but hot during the summer
- USGS topo maps: Malibu Beach
- More information: Trip description (including alternate route) here; area trail map here; LA County Trails page here
- Rating: 6
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.