Century Dam is a lesser known secret of Malibu Creek State Park. It offers amazing views and an adventurous experience for those willing to take lesser known trails to get there. During the spring and rainy seasons, this dam has water rushing over the side of it in an unstoppable manner. One of the coolest spots of Malibu Creek State Park. On the way you’ll pass green and bright trails, dodging in and out of shaded growth and finally hike along Century Lake, an artificial lake created by the Dam.
The directions to this hike are complicated due to the variety of trails involved. You can comment on this blog or ask LAHIKES on Instagram for further clarification or questions.
Duration: 3 hours
Distance: 4 miles (out and back)
Elevation Gain: 550 feet
Route map and Parking:
Google Maps Coordinates for Parking: 34.1051854, -118.7316966
Parking is on the dirt road off the Highway, Trailhead starts from the parking area. Here is a route map to help you on your journey, Take note of the numbers (which are in bold) as you read the blog, they correspond with the numbers on the map.
The hike begins at the Cistern trail, which is at a very high elevation off Muholland Highway. This is where you will enjoy the best views of the expansive State Park. Huge rock formations and expansive views await you as you hike down this trail. The hike starts very easy, a continual down sloping journey. But remember what you hike down is what you will hike up on the way back.
You should keep in mind that the hike is all down sloping then levels out as you reach Crags Rd. Crags Rd. is the main trail that passes through the center of the State Park. You will recognize Crags Rd. as a very large trail, which is level and very devolved. As long as you find Crags Rd., there is no way you can be lost, this trail connects to all other trails at the park.
You take the Cistern trail for .25 miles until you will reach a fork in the road and see a brown sign displaying the mileage of each of the hikes.
1. Turn Right and continue down the path into the shaded undergrowth. This next path is called Upper Lookout Trail or the Yearling Trail. In a few minutes from there the path then opens up out of the shaded undergrowth. This part of the hike is heated on a hot day and will make you want to take a dip in Century Lake.
Take this trail for about .4 miles until you reach an expansive view and an open field of wheat with scattered trees. Here there is a finally steep downward section which then turns sharply left.
2. Follow this turn and go left. This short leftward trail will take you to a section of Crags Rd.
Next when you find the huge dirt trail called Crags Rd.
3. Take a right here and follow Crags Rd. for .3 miles until you reach a bridge over Century Lake.
It is very easy to spot this bridge and you can’t miss it as long as you follow Crags Rd. Northwest or towards the M.A.S.H set or Paramount Ranch.
As soon as you cross the bridge the next turn is made very soon. You will see a sign that reads “M.A.S.H. site .4 miles”.
4. Take a left on the trail right next to this sign. It will look like it opens up into a wheat field that crosses into the forest next to Century Lake.
You will hike along this unnamed trail which has a great vibe to it. It will feel like you’re being transported out of LA and into a dense forest undergrowth. Huge moss boulders will await you on this path as you hike.
This is the last stretch to get to Century Dam. As you near the Dam the route splits, but both splits reach the same destination. This trail sticks to Century Lake the whole way through.
As you come up to the dam you must climb along the rock face to get the beautiful view you see here.
Enjoy the hike, it’s one of a kind with views to match.