Week 180: Malibu Creek State Park

July 21, 2019

Hiking to Rock Pool in Malibu Creek State Park, 3 miles

Just south of Mulholland Highway on Las Virgenes Road is the entrance to Malibu Creek State Park, 8,000-acres and 15-miles of stream side trail. Barbara and I took an in-and-out hike along the multi-personality Crags Road, walking over and along Malibu Creek to the Rock Pool, or, as Weekend Sherpa calls it, "the Cool Pool in the 'Bu." The pool is a clear water oasis in the midst of the Conejo Volcanics—part of the Miocene Volcanic field. Yep, we spent the morning with the ancients. The rock outcroppings and deep gorges were formed over 2-million years by climate change, earthquakes, and tectonic plate collisions. Malibu Creek runs all the way through the park, and empties in Malibu Lagoon at the ocean (our Week 177 hike.) Five to ten-thousand years ago, this area of the Santa Monica Mountains was, for centuries, the center of Chumash tribe life (archaeologists uncovered the site of a small village in the park.) In the 20th century, the Malibu Creek State Park entered its celebrity era: portions of the park were owned by Bob Hope, Ronald Reagan, and 20th Century Fox. From 1900 to 1936, wealthy Angelenos built and ran Crags Club, a 7500 sq. ft., 3-level lodge for the uber-wealthy. The Park's first movie, 1919's Daddy Long Legs, starring Mary Pickford, started a filmography that ran from Tarzan to Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House to Mash to Pleasantville to Scorpion King—MCSP has played everything from Old Mexico to Outer Space to an army hospital in Korea. Finally, in 1974, the state of California bought the park and opened it to the public in 1976. Diverse, fascinating, and extremely popular (probably the busiest trail Barbara and I hiked outside of Griffith Park,) the Crags Road trail gives you everything from egrets and ducks on the Creek, volcanic rocks that looked like creepy Mt. Rushmores, ideal for rock climbing; paths for biking, running, hiking; and areas for picnicking at the Rock Pool. And the views? Killer. Seriously. Like walking city streets, you never really know the story behind the views you see from your car until you get out and walk around. Malibu Creek State Park was so much more than we expected! Great morning outdoors. 

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