malibu hikes

10 Malibu Hikes You Need to Do (Ocean View Hikes, Easy Hikes, Best Hikes)

Thre are dozens of hikes in Malibu, some as short as 2 miles, and even one as long as 67 miles. The Backbone Trail stretches across the entire Santa Monica Mountains, but below is a list of the best and must-do shorter hikes in Malibu.

When I first started hiking in 2014, the Santa Monica Mountains was my go-to mountain range as a beginner-level, leisure hiker. I’ve explored so much of the mountain range in depth and am sharing my favorites and best hiking trails in Malibu.

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Best Malibu Hikes

Topanga Lookout Trail

The hike to Topanga Lookout is short, only 2 miles out-and-back and a great spot to catch the sunset. The lookout platform is very wide to accommodate more people and the art work changes frequently. This is a very popular hike and with good reason. If you are looking for an ope 360-view in Malibu that isn’t too close to the coast, this is a good option.

Photo is from my hike in 2015 and it’s gone through many artwork since then.

best malibu hikes topanga lookout trail

Sandstone Peak

Sandstone Peak and Tri Peaks on the Northern end of Santa Monica Mountains is always a good hike — it is the highest point of the mountains that surround Malibu and a great hike to catch sunrise. You can just hike up to Sandstone Peak for a 3 mile out and back hike or do the full loop and see Tri Peaks, hike on part of the Backbone Trail, and see Balanced Rock.

Read full blog post for Sandstone Peak and Tri Peaks here.

Malibu hikes with ocean views 

Corral Canyon

Corral Canyon is one of my favorite hikes in Malibu. It’s short, moderate level, conveniently located right off PCH, and you get beautiful views of the ocean from most of the hike. I prefer hiking the lollipop-loop trail clockwise because you get better ocean views on the way down.

How long is Corral Canyon hike?

Corral Canyon hike is a 2.5-mile loop with about 520 ft of elevation gain.

Is Corral Canyon hike dog friendly?

Yes, you can have dogs on this trail on a leash.

Where is Corral Canyon?

Corral Canyon is located right off the PCH in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Sara Wan Trailhead is right next to the Malibu Seafood Fresh Fish Market & Patio Cafe which is a great place to stop for a bite after your hike. Parking here gets crowded so keep an eye out for an open parking spot along PCH on the drive over.

Tuna Canyon Park

Tuna Canyon Park is a short hike in Malibu that ends at a cool labyrinth with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

How long is Tuna Canyon hike?

The Tuna Canyon hike near Topanga is only 2.4 miles out and back.

Are dogs allowed on Tuna Canyon trail?

Dogs are allowed on leash.

Los Leones to Parker Mesa Overlook

Los Leones Trail is a favorite and it is located closer to the southern end of the Santa Monica Mountains in Pacific Palisade. This provides an easier-to-access hiking trail for hikers in Los Angeles who don’t want to drive as far or deal with the hustle and bustle of Malibu traffic.

How long does it take to hike Los Leones?

The Los Leones trail is a moderate-level hike that starts on a narrow dirt trail but widens up to a large dirt fire road trail. The open view from the top at Parker Mesa Overlook provides expansive views of the ocean and Santa Monica. On a clear day, you can even see the Santa Monica Pier!

Read full blog post on hiking Los Leones Trail to Parker Mesa Overlook here.

Point Dume Cove Trail

Point Dume is one of the most iconic spots in Malibu. It’s famous for hikers and climbers so and the parking lot is very small. The hiking trail is only about 1 mile and offers breathtaking views of the cliffs with the beach and ocean just beneath.

malibu hikes point dume

Mugu Peak

Located in Point Mugu State Park, Mugu Peak is probably the best Malibu hike with ocean views you haven’t heard of. The Chumash Trailhead to Mugu Peak is located at the Northern end of the Santa Monica Mountains coastline, closer to Ventura than Santa Monica, which draws hikers from both regions.

The trail is very open with no shade coverage and dogs are not allowed. When I went on July 4th, it was extremely overcast weather and I got a ton of mosquito bites.

How long is Chumash Trail?

The Chumash Trail to Mugu Peak is a short but steep hike. It is only 1.3 miles out and back, but it gains 813 ft — that’s 813 ft in 0.65 miles. It took me about 45 minutes to hike up.

Easy Malibu hiking trails

Solstice Canyon 

Solstice Canyon is about a 3-mile loop in Santa Monica Mountains and goes to a Tropical Terrace, Keller House ruins, the Roberts Ranch Ruins, and Solstice Waterfall which can be dry depending on the time of year you visit. It can be done in less than 2 hours.

Since it is a short hike and you don’t get much open views (more historical sights), I’d recommend pairing it with a hike to Corral Canyon for a solid morning outing with variety of views.


This is where the M*A*S*H TV show was filmed. The MASH Set in Malibu is a popular hike for locals and tourists. It’s a very easy hiking trail to get here — it is less than 2.5 miles one-way to hike to the set and the trail is mostly flat.

How do I get to MASH Site?

The M.A.S.H Site trailhead is located off of Crags Road in Malibu Creek State Park. You’ll hike on the main Crags Rd (a wide dirt road) for the entire hike until you reach the site. Along the way, you will pass the Malibu Creek State Park Visitor Center, cross the small Crags Bridge, hike along the Century Lake Dam, and reach the site in about one hour depending on your pace. Google Maps has the trail clearly visible so if you are worried about getting lost, download the offline version of the map to have on hand.

Eagle Rock Trail

Eagle Rock in the Santa Monica Mountains is less common than the hike in San Diego, but it’s a cool and different hike that ends at a large Eagle-shaped rock — you can even walk up the back side of the eagle. It’s about a 6.5-mile out-and-back hike with 1100 ft of elevation gain, keeping it gradual. The hike has little shade though so be prepared for lot of sun exposure on a sunny day.

eagle rock hike

FAQ: Malibu HIkes

What is the highest peak in Malibu?

The tallest peak in Malibu is Sandstone Peak with an elevation of 3,111 ft (948 m).

What is the best hike in Malibu?

If you only have time for one hike, I recommend Sandstone Peak. You can make it a short 3-mile out-and-back hike or a longer 6-mile loop trail. Read more about hiking Sandstone Peak and Tri Peaks here.

Hotels Near Malibu

📍 The Hilton Garden Inn Calabasas is located a short 10-minute drive away from Malibu Creek State Park. This is a great option if you wish to stay in Calabasas close to a few different restaurants and shopping options. 

📍 Another great option is the Hyatt Regency Westlake. This hotel is situated in the Westlake area, just outside of Thousand Oaks. This is another great option close to many restaurants and shopping and is only 14-minutes to the park. 

📍 The Malibu Beach Inn is another top choice, especially if you want to stay by the shore. This 5-star hotel is known for its fabulous location on the water and close to the Malibu Pier. It’s famous for its beautiful rooms, incredible restaurant, and friendly staff. This hotel is a short 11-minute drive from the park and a great place to stay for a fun getaway in Malibu.

Things to Do in Malibu

A Complete Guide To Malibu Creek State Park

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