Los Angeles Hikes

The Malibu Creek Rock Pools

Synopsis: The Malibu Creek Rock Pools are created by a runoff and collection of water heading downstream from the Century Dam areas. The water nestled at the grotto pools is beforehand filtered through the many layers of rock grottos and mini-waterfalls, making it generally safe stagnant water to swim in. During the spring the water from early-year rains flows over Century Dam creating a healthy filtration of the water all along the boulder filled creek to the Rock Pools. During the recent summers, this area, a popular tourist destination, doesn’t hold the same capacity of water as when it once did. And now being an extremely overexposed spot through social media such as Facebook, you can expect lots of people here all the time. Trash is also left behind in large quantities.

Hike Stats:

These are stats for the actual hike to the pools (not included is time spent)

Time: 1 hour (total)

Distance: 3 miles (out and back)

Elevation Gain: 200 ft

Difficulty: Easy

Shade?: Barely Shaded

Dogs Ftriendly?: Sorry, not allowed on the trails. Campground and parking lots only.

Parking and Trailhead Address:

If you’re a local, you’ve likely heard of this spot and know how to get here. I prefer accessing this spot from Mulholland Drive, where there are less people and easy parking access. You can a google maps link here. If you want to search for it you can also type in “Malibu Creek Parking On Mullholland Hwy”. Here’s a photo of the parking area:


The Hike:

You’ll begin on the highway as you exit your car, and see wooden fences to your left if you’re walking up the incline of Mullholland Hwy. Spot these fences and the trail that divides right between them, hike this trail named the Grassland Trail.


In my opinion, this is one of the more scenic trails at the park, filled with endless fields of grain with a backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains.


Continue on this trail for .7 miles until you hit a bigger trail called Crags Rd.


Closing in on the end of the Grasslands Trail. The steep part in the photo is the end.

At the trail junction. after .7 miles, Grasslands trail merges with Crags Rd. so no crazy navigation need to be stressed. You’ll notice the change by spotting some Oak trees that give some much needed shade from the unrelenting sun on the shade-less Grasslands Trail. After the oak trees keep heading the same direction you’ll been heading as you merged onto Crags. Rd.


Shade and oaks along Crags. Rd.

Crags Rd. is in total a 4 mile trail that visits some sites such as The Rock Pools, M.A.S.H site and Century Dam. If you want to extend your hike you can easily make this an 8 mile journey. But today this was just a visit to the Rock Pools. As you pass the oak trees continue on Crags Rd. for another .8 miles to the rock pools.


The now dry Malibu Creek to the left.

You can tell your heading the right direction if the dried Malibu creek is to your left. Long ago before the drought years this must have been a very cool sight to see. Continue along Crags Rd. for the next and last trail junction.


You’ll spot these restrooms along the trail, pass them but hold your nose.

Once past the porta-potties the trail becomes shaded again and splits in two ways. Take the left path, you are nearly at the Rock Pools.


Take the left path. (I’m sure you can hear the screaming kids by now)

First sight of the rock pool after making that left turn.


Ready to Jump.


Lots of activity at the Pools.

Expect a lot of rock hopping (behind the pools) as you find a spot to relax from the heat. Trash and garbage are just littered behind the good-looking rock pools.


A teen gets ready to swing, located farther up the rock pools.


Climbers on the other side of the rock grottos.

Once you’ve enjoyed this spot you can continue along Crags Rd. or take the way you came back for a full day.

Here is the GPS track for this route:

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