Week 242: Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beaches Malibu

July 04, 2021

 All Trails El Matador, La Piedra, and El Pescador State Beaches, 2.4 miles, 250 stairs. 

This hike looked simple enough to Barbara and me on our All Trails app: a 2.4 mile, out-and-back walk along the Pacific linking the three small, south-facing Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beaches in Malibu off PCH near Encinal Canyon Road. A fun, easy hike—if the tide is out. An hour after high tide? Get ready to scoot out of the way—the Pacific steps back for no one. So, if you've got your low tide act together, start at Matador Beach and walk west to the fishing pier beyond the rocks at the end of El Pescador. El Matador Beach, with its eroding rock formations, is the most picturesque and photographic of the three beaches. We started at the rock bench behind the trailhead off the El Matador parking lot and followed the trail to a 39-step staircase with a glorious view of the rock formations below, and then wove in and around the formations and west along the beach. But, uh-oh,  waves hugged the bluff we would have circled at low tide to connect to La Piedra ("the stone") Beach, our next stop. What to do? Not ready to give up, determined to get in at least a 2 mile hike, curious to see the other two beaches, and unwilling to walk along PCH—we got in the car and drove to the La Piedra Beach parking lot. Yeah, we felt a bit silly about it, too, but we were an hour from home and ready to explore. Our decision turned out well. The trailhead off the La Piedra parking lot led us down a flight of 45 rail-tie steps to a trail leading down to the beach. La Piedra is framed by sandstone cliffs and the shore is covered with kelp beds, rocks, and tide pools. We stopped for a snack and photos on the boulders and turned around at a flight of locked stairs at the west end of the beach. Backtracking to our original trail leading up, we hopped in the car for the half-mile drive to the El Pescador ("the fisherman") Beach parking lot. There, a quick path circling a mustard field led us to a trail and 41 stone steps down to the El Pescador Beach. Walking west on the sand to a rocky portion of the beach covered with kelp too slippery for us to navigate over to the landing populated with fishermen and surfers, we called it a day. Didn't matter. It was a fun hike with a lot of personality—and we got in our 2.4 miles, so...happy ending. The marine layer kept the air cool, the sea gulls were entertaining, the people friendly, and the trails, stairs, ocean, and beaches made for an adventurous morning. 




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