When was the last time you were at It’s very popular with those of us who live here in the West Valley and a real adventure waiting for those of you who have never been there. It’s close enough for quick half-day trip, full day trip, or perhaps even sneak in a day or two of camping.
The park entrance is located at 1925 Las Virgenes Road, Calabasas. It spreads over thousands of acres in the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains with a strip that extends southward to Malibu. The communities of Agoura and Calabasas are to the north and Lake Malibu on the west.
The Chumash settled in these hills thousands of years ago and were eventually replaced by European settlers up to more recent times. The park was established in 1976, with a large portion the land donated by Bob Hope. Later additional parcels came from Paramount and 20th Century Fox movie studios that owned and used the land for movie locations. In fact, many park enthusiasts enjoy reciting the names of the famous of movies filmed here.
The park has artifacts remaining at the actual site used to film M.A.S.H., a highly popular TV series in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The sit-com depicted life in and around an Army field hospital during the Korean War. The iconic signpost showing mileage to homes and places faraway from the Korean War is still in place. There are plaques with cast photos and sketches illustrating the different placements of the familiar army tents seen on the screen. A rusty jeep and ambulance also mark the site.
In addition to the M.A.S.H. site, Malibu Creek State Park truly is a multi-use park. For the day visitors the park offers a picnic area, restrooms, easy-to-do short excursions, the most popular being to the Rock Pool. For the more serious hikers the trails can be as challenging as you want. Bikers can also pick and choose from various trails. There are campsites available, but be sure to call and make reservations. See the website below.
Century River flows through the park generally in an eastward direction. It is dammed at one point forming Century Lake. The river eventually cascades down to the Rock Pool. When you reach the Rock Pool you’ll find it a good spot to sit, rest, and cool off. Often more daring people will dive into the water from the rocks above. The water doesn’t look that clear but they frolic in the water and enjoy diving anyway.
By the way, you may have to wade a few feet through some shallow water on the way to the visitor center located close to the middle of the park. Or Crags Road will lead you another way along the river to Century Lake, and from there will lead you to the M.A.S.H. site (over a steep hill) and from there on to the community of Malibu Lake at the east end of the park. The distance is approximately four miles.
On a cautionary note please remember, this really is getting into backcountry and a number of wild animals roam the area. You’ll notice that the park’s trash receptacles are the type designed to keep wild animals from getting into the trash. Rattlesnakes have been reported in the area as well as coyotes. So be alert and take precautions while you are hiking and biking about.
To get to the Malibu Creek State Park, take the 101 Freeway to Las Virgenes off-ramp and go south to Mulholland Highway. The entrance is just southwest of the intersection. Parking is a pricey twelve dollars, so many people park on Mulholland. Also, dogs are not allowed on the trails. Go on line at www.parks.ca.gov, or check with the attendant at the entrance for more detailed park regulations.
It’s time to revisit this favorite piece of wilderness. It’s so close and so easy to reach. Take the kids and enjoy yourselves. If you have favorite photos post them here. Also post your comments and observations at my favorite hiking site: www.thishikingtrail.com.