Malibu Creek State Park

A cool experience with 6 to 10 mile hikes
Driving to and sleeping at a campground
Ideal for first-timers

Discovering Mesa Peak and Hollywood relics at Malibu Creek State Park

Discovering Mesa Peak and Hollywood relics at Malibu Creek State Park

Discovering Mesa Peak and Hollywood relics at Malibu Creek State Park

Discovering Mesa Peak and Hollywood relics at Malibu Creek State Park

Discovering Mesa Peak and Hollywood relics at Malibu Creek State Park

Designed by Yvonne Leow

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Last updated
March 8, 2022

Trip · 3-day camping trip

For · Friends and new campers

Vibe · Moderate and fun

Reservations · Yes, reserve a site at Creek Campground

Drive · 30 minutes from LA

Ideal dates · March to May

Pets · Welcome at camp, but not on trails

Malibu Creek State Park (MBSP) has been called the "Yosemite of Southern California," and this 8,200+ acre park delivers. It's known for its volcanic rock gorges, Sepúlveda Adobe, a 19th-century ranch house, and Malibu Creek that flows through the park. It also has 35 miles of hiking trails, three natural preserves, and is part of the greater Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, which is the nation's largest urban national park. Quite a few highlights for a park that's only a 30-minute drive from downtown LA.  

Official State Park Website

Camping Information

Directions to Campground

Main image credit: N/A

Stuff to know

  • Bears don't hang out at Malibu Creek, but be mindful of critters. Store any food in your car overnight and whenever you leave camp
  • There are seasonal campfire restrictions so check with the camp host when you arrive to see if you can build a campfire.
  • If you're just visiting for the day, here's a rundown of parking fees: All day – $12.00 per car, 3 hrs – $9.00 per car, 2 hrs – $6.00 per car, 1 hr – $3.00 per car.
  • Snakes have been spotted in the park, especially around springtime. Stay on trails, and if you see one, slowly walk around, and away from it.
Check the weather
Mesa Peak Trail in Malibu Creek State Park

Where to camp

Creek Campground

Each campsite comes with a:

  • Picnic table
  • Fire ring
  • Space for up to 8 people
  • Three parking spots

This is the only campground at Malibu Creek SP and it's packed with plenty of creature comforts while only being a 10-minute drive to a grocery store. Sites are available by reservation, and you'll have access to drinking water, restrooms, and coin-operated hot showers (Bring $1 bills!).

Check-in: After 2 PM · Check-out: Before noon

View Campground Map

Nightly Rate: $45

Creek Campground
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Itinerary

Day One

M*A*S*H TV show set in Malibu Creek SP
M*A*S*H TV show set in Malibu Creek SP. Credit: Robert Ruggiero

Leave LA by 11 AM and stop by Erewhon Market in Calabasas

  • Shoppers love their fresh-pressed juices, prepared meals, and organic produce
  • Located at 26767 Agoura Road in Calabasas
  • Open Monday to Saturday from 7 AM to 9 PM · Sundays at 8 AM
  • Last pit stop · Shell - 4831 Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas

Arrive and check in to Creek Campground

  • Set up camp, wander around the campground and relax

If you're feeling ambitious, hike Grasslands Trail

  • This beautiful 5.3 mile round-trip hike, with 538 feet of elevation gain, leads you to the M*A*S*H TV show set, but even if you're not a fan of the show, it's a shady, scenic introduction to the park.
  • Day hikers usually have a tough time finding a parking spot because of how popular this trail can be, but you won't have to worry about that since you're camping overnight. Yay!

Return to camp for din-din

  • Prep and enjoy dinner back at camp
  • Stargaze and swap some of your favorite campfire stories
Malibu Creek SP was established in 1974 and the majority of the park's lands were donated by entertainer Bob Hope.

Day Two

Malibu Creek State Park
Malibu Creek State Park

Pack lunch and day hike to Mesa Peak Trail

  • Fill up on water (at least 2L per person), pack snacks, sunscreen, sunglasses, sun hat, bug spray, and your lunch!
  • Hike 4.2 miles with 1,251 feet of elevation gain from camp to Mesa Peak
  • From camp, take Tapia Spur Trail to Mesa Peak Trail. It's a tough, steep hike, but enjoy some spectacular views of LA's coastline

Enjoy lunch at the top of Mesa Peak

  • After lunch, you can return to camp or continue hiking west along Backbone Trail for a few miles
  • Backbone Trail is designated as a National Recreation Trail because it actually stretches on for 67 miles. It's the best protected stretch of coastal Mediterranean habitat in the WORLD!
  • Depending on the season, Backbone Trail can get hot and dry in Malibu State Park so bring plenty of water and sun protection. You'll be able to check out cool rock formations and experience gorgeous views along the way.

Head back to camp, take a hot shower, and cook a sunset dinner

  • Cook up your last dinner at Malibu Creek SP and spend the rest of the evening stargazing
For thousands of years, the Chumash people lived in the Santa Monica Mountains, until missionaries arrived in 1769

Day Three

Malibu Creek State Park
Malibu Creek State Park

Pack up and check out before noon

  • Cook up brekkie, clean up around camp, and throw away any random pieces of litter

Head home!

The original Planet of the Apes movie, M*A*S*H TV show and many other Hollywood productions have been filmed in the park

Packing List

Essential Items
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Clothing
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Personal Stuff
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Camp Kitchen
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Shared Gear
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