Escondido Canyon Trail and Waterfalls in Malibu

Trailhead on Winding Way

Trailhead on Winding Way

The Edward Albert Escondido Canyon Trail and Waterfalls is located off of Winding Way in Malibu.  It also also referred to as Escondido Falls.

The most unique aspect to Escondido Falls is that it is home to the tallest waterfall in the Santa Monica Mountains at over 150 feet, making it a wonderful place to visit. 

That said, in drought years, there is often no sign of waterfall, other than a sparse trickle into Escondido Canyon Creek. But even when that is the case, this is a wonderful, moderate hike, good for all ages. 

To get to Escondido Falls from the Conejo Valley/101, take Kanan south to PCH and turn left. You'll be driving just under 2 miles, past Paradise Cove, to the small parking lot on Winding Way and PCH. Turn left onto Winding Way and an immediate left into the parking lot. There's a sign; you can't miss it. The lot has spaces for only around 16 vehicles; it is full, you'll have to find a spot on PCH and make you way from there...but be careful and watch for the plentiful "no parking" signs on PCH.

The parking area is on Winding Way and PCH. The initial section of the hike is along Winding Way is called the Winding Way Trail.

The parking area is on Winding Way and PCH. The initial section of the hike is along Winding Way is called the Winding Way Trail.

The hike is about 4 miles round trip and can be done in as fast as an hour (if you speed walk and don't hang out) or for most, a couple hours.

The first 8/10ths of a mile is along Winding Way to the trailhead. It has a moderate hill but is not that bad. Near the peak of the initial hill, you will need to cross from the left side of the street to the right side as you make your way up. There are signs that ask that you walk on the dirt trail rather than on the street, so try to abide by that. You will be treated to views of beautiful homes and ocean views along this portion of your trek.

After a short final downhill section, you'll reach the trailhead where you make your way onto the trail. After an initial left turn that takes you briefly west, most of the rest of the trail to Escondido Falls is a northeast to northerly direction. You'll be treated to lush oak woodlands and greenery year-round.  

Much of the trail looks like this. Canopied by oaks and shrub.

Much of the trail looks like this. Canopied by oaks and shrub.

Hikers, equestrians and bikers are all welcome on the trail. Dogs too, on leash of course. I have not seen bikers on this trail. There are no restrooms, other than a porta-john at the parking lot. No drinking fountains, so bring water. There are trash cans at the trailhead if you need them. 

The waterfall is a treat to see but the rest of the hike is quite nice too, largely shaded and not too hilly or technical. There is a net elevation gain from 150' at the trailhead to 325' at the Falls over about a mile, which is not bad.

After the rainy season, you may have to cross the creek a few times as it criss-crosses the trail. There are a couple forks in the road where you may wonder which way to go. Generally speaking turn left on your way to the falls and that is the right direction.

Believe it or not, this is the end of the trail, where the waterfall flows after the rainy season. In late August pictured here, there is a dribble of water flowing into the creek.

Believe it or not, this is the end of the trail, where the waterfall flows after the rainy season. In late August pictured here, there is a dribble of water flowing into the creek.

The parkland ends at the multi-tiered waterfall area and the trail basically ends. Except, there are paths that can get you to the upper falls. Technically you are not supposed to do this because you are no longer on public land, not to mention you are literally rock climbing your way up there and it can be dangerous. But (shame on me) yes, we did check it out and wow is it neat to see, even when there is zero water flow.

This is a fun, family-friendly hike that is worth a try.

There's one side trail to the east that will give you views of the waterfall when it is flowing. The white-ish area in the upper right hand of this photo is where the waterfall resides.

There's one side trail to the east that will give you views of the waterfall when it is flowing. The white-ish area in the upper right hand of this photo is where the waterfall resides.

Oh, why is it named after Edward Albert? Well, Edward Albert is the only son of actor Eddie Albert who was popular in the TV sitcom "Green Acres." Edward died at age 55 in 2006. Prior to his death, he was a tireless advocate for preserving Escondido Canyon. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy named the area in honor of him several months prior to his death. (1)

Escondido Canyon Park map at THIS LINK. Visit the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy site at www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=12.

(1) Los Angeles Times obituary dated 9/27/06 at this link.

Beaches Spanning From Carpinteria Through Ventura County to Malibu

My kids and I love going to the beach but for many years we seemed to go to the same ones all the time. So I stopped by the Automobile Club and asked them if they had a brochure on all the local area beaches open to the public. They shrugged their shoulders and said no such guidebook existed. They handed me a fold out map, which was of no use to me as I wanted to know exactly how to get to these beaches, if they have restrooms, parking, etc.

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Then I started searching around for information and found bits and pieces in various locations that were marginally useful. So I decided to consolidate this information into one place where I could find out about where to go to the beach around Ventura County on up the coast to Carpinteria and Santa Barbara and down to Malibu. So I hope you find the following links helpful in finding local area beaches in Ventura County and surrounding areas!

Carpinteria to Ventura

Oxnard to Malibu

Santa Barbara Area Beaches

This took a lot of time to compile over 60 local area beach areas, so I truly hope you benefit from these lists! So enjoy and provide feedback if you have comments and/or additional information.

If you have a great photo you'd like to share, perhaps post it to the Conejo Valley Guide Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ConejoValleyGuide!

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At Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu

At Leo Carrillo State Beach in Malibu

Windsurfers at Surfers' Point in Ventura

Windsurfers at Surfers' Point in Ventura

Malibu Lagoon Field Trips Hosted by Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society

The Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society (SMBAS) hosts Malibu Lagoon Field Trips the 4th Sunday of every month.

Adult Walk starts at 8:30 a.m. for 2-3 hrs. The group meets at the metal-shaded viewing area next to parking lot. SMBAS makes a special effort to make our monthly Malibu Lagoon walks attractive to first-time and beginner birdwatchers. Brings binoculars and cameras.

Metal shaded viewing area next to parking lot.

Metal shaded viewing area next to parking lot.

Children & Parents Walk starts at 10:00 a.m. for a 1 hr session. Meet at metal-shaded viewing area next to parking lot. SMBAS leaders are experienced with kids so by all means bring them down to the beach to enjoy nature. Binoculars will be provided.

If you have a Scout troop or other group 7 or larger, please call Lu at 310.395.6235 to make sure SMBAS has enough binoculars and docents on hand.

Visit smbasblog.com to learn more.

Directions: Malibu Lagoon is located at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Cross Creek Road in Malibu. Bring water and sun protection; look around for people wearing binoculars and hats.

Parking: Self-serve parking machine in lot, $3/hr, $12 day ($11 seniors); credit cards accepted. Annual passes accepted. You may also park (read all signs carefully) on PCH west of Cross Creek Road, on Cross Creek Road, or on Civic Center.Way north (inland) of the shopping center. Lagoon parking in shopping center lots is not permitted.

Ventura Harbor Village

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Ventura Harbor Village at 1583 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura is home to 33 acres of harborside activities, shopping and restaurants.  The weather is always so cool over there it makes for a nice retreat.

There is a 36 horse carousel and arcade for the kids and plenty of outdoor activities available like kayaking, sailing, pedal boats, sport-fishing and cruises. Ventura Harbor Village hosts events and activities year-round, including music performances, kids' activities, special events and more.

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Eateries at Ventura Harbor Village include 805 Bar & Grilled Cheese, Alexander's, Andria's Seafood Restaurant, Surf N' Taco, Boatyard Cafe, Brophy Bros. , Coastal Cone for ice cream, Copa Cubana, Harbor Cove Cafe, Le Petit Cafe, Bakery & Restaurant, Margarita Villa Mexican, Milano's Italian, Rhumb Line, The Greek and The Parlor. You won't go hungry here.

The Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center is located adjacent to Ventura Harbor Village. Free admission and an awesome resource for learning more about the Channel Islands and its protected habitat.

Island Packers at the Harbor has numerous boat rides and is the only authorized concessionaire to transport folks to Channel Islands National Park. 

Ventura Boat Rentals rents out electric boats, paddle boats, kayaks, power boats and charters cruises in the Ventura Harbor.  So much fun to be had!

Across the street from Ventura Harbor Village is beach access at Harbor Cove Beach (a safe beach protected by jetties) and Surfer's Knoll Beach. Local area beaches at THIS LINK.

More information at www.venturaharborvillage.com or call 805.642.8538 (or 877.89.HARBOR).

Camarillo Bike Path Next to Calleguas Creek

Looking to take the kids on a nice, flat bike path unimpeded by cars? A great choice is the roughly 2 mile Calleguas Creek bike path from Pleasant Valley Fields up to the corner of Flynn and Upland Roads in Camarillo.

Look at how nice and flat this bike path adjacent to Calleguas Creek is!

Look at how nice and flat this bike path adjacent to Calleguas Creek is!

This is a nice, smooth and flat bike path that goes under several bridges, including the 101 freeway, so that you don't have to worry about cars! You can park your car at Pleasant Valley Fields and ride up and back down the path. This is a comfortable path to learn on as well as just enjoy.

At the north end of the path, you can detour off the path to Pitts Ranch Park, just a short block northwest of the path, and enjoy lunch.

More information about Camarillo bike paths, lanes and routes at www.ci.camarillo.ca.us/i3.aspx?p=923.

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Calleguas Creek

Calleguas Creek

Angel Vista Peak in Newbury Park

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The 1,530' elevation Angel Vista Peak in Newbury Park may well have the most spectacular views of the Conejo Valley. You can see the entire Conejo Valley, stretching from the Conejo Grade to central Thousand Oaks, Agoura Hills, Hidden Valley, Boney Mountain and beyond from here!

Angel Vista can most easily be accessed via the Rosewood Trail at the southern terminus of Regal Oak Ct, off of Lynn Road) Or for a much longer hike, take the Los Robles Trail (either the Thousand Oaks side accessible at South Moorpark Road and Greenmeadow Ave or Newbury Park side off of Potrero Road). The Conejo Open Space Foundation provides a useful map at www.cosf.org/website/html/los-robles-angel-vista.html. There's a bench as well as a picnic table up there with wonderful views.

You'll eventually see this sign if you make the trek up the Rosewood Trail.

You'll eventually see this sign if you make the trek up the Rosewood Trail.

The bench is in sight!

The bench is in sight!

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Fun to see at least a portion of Hidden Valley from up here.

Fun to see at least a portion of Hidden Valley from up here.

Red Tile Walking Tour in Santa Barbara

The Red Tile Walking Tour in Santa Barbara is an informal, 12 block walk in the downtown area that will take you past a variety of Santa Barbara historical landmarks. It was originally developed by the Santa Barbara Chamber of Commerce. The walk is summarized below but visit Santa Barbara Car Free website at www.santabarbaracarfree.org for additional details and a printable map.

  1. Santa Barbara County Courthouse (Built in 1929)
  2. Public Library
  3. Santa Barbara Museum of Art
  4. Hill-Carrillo Adobe
  5. El Paseo
  6. Casa De La Guerra
  7. Plaza De La Guerra
  8. Orena Adobes
  9. Presidio Avenue (the oldest street in Santa Barbara)
  10. Lugo Adobe
  11. Santa Barbara Historical Museum
  12. Casa Covarrubias
  13. Rochin Adobe
  14. El Presidio de Santa Barbara State Historic Park
  15. El Cuartel (second oldest surviving building in California)
  16. Main Post Office
  17. Lobero Theatre

Westward Beach In Malibu

Westward Beach is about a mile strip of beach in Malibu, sandwiched between Zuma Beach and Zuma Lagoon on the northwest and Point Dume State Beach on the east.

This nice beach has both parallel street parking available on Westward Beach Road and a parking lot (which in August 2016 on a Sunday cost $14; weekdays is less). Although $14 is a bit steep for some, what I like about it as well as the beach's lack of proximity to Pacific Coast Highway is that this beach, from my experience, is never particularly crowded. 

What I also like about Westward Beach is its close proximity to the Point Dume Natural Preserve, and the periodic sightings of seals, dolphins and other sealife.

Westward Beach generally is not as swim-friendly as nearby Zuma Beach as the waves are choppier and less duration and higher impact. While we've taken the boogie boards into the ocean here, we weren't particularly successful at catching waves here. That said...my little ones love playing in the sand and running from the waves here.

Another cool thing at the southwest end of the beach is a sheer cliff used for rock climbing.

There are restrooms available here as well as an outdoor shower facility.

Location/Directions: Take Kanan south to PCH and turn right. Westward Beach Road is over the rise, at the foot of the hill. Call 310.457.8143 or visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=623 for more information.

Camarillo Bird Museum (Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology)

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The Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology (WFVZ) is a charitable institution based in Camarillo at 439 Calle San Pablo.

The 22,000 sq ft WFVZ (informally referred to as the Camarillo Bird Museum) hosts a natural history collection specializing in eggs and nests of birds. The collections include approximately 250,000 sets of bird eggs (equal to over 1 million individual eggs), representing over 4,000 bird species from around the world. There are also over 18,000 nests, the largest collection of its kind in the world. And over 56,000 bird study skin specimens from over 100 countries.

The Foundation's fundamental mission is to obtain, protect, and manage ornithological collections in a manner that ensures their accessibility to researchers, educators, students, and the public, and to ensure that the materials are used in projects that contribute to the conservation of the world's wild bird species.

The museum is not open to the public except by prior appointment. However, staff conduct public tours on the last Friday of every month from 3-4pm as well as the 2nd Wednesday of the month from 3:30-4:30pm (except Nov/Dec, when dates vary based on holidays). Additionally, individuals and small groups can contact the museum at least 1 day in advance to set up a walk-through of the museum without a tour.

Call at least one day in advance to get on the waiting list (each tour is for a maximum of 20 people). Fee for tours is $5 per person (WFVZ members and kids 5 and under are free).

Visit www.wfvz.org for more information or call 805.388.9944.

I have been to WFVZ several times and it is an A-MAZ-ING place! There are more bird, nests and eggs in this place then probably any other place on the earth. Right here in an industrial section of Camarillo! Who knew!? Seriously, you've gotta check this place out!

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Ventura Boat Rentals at Ventura Harbor Village

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Ventura Boat Rentals, located at Ventura Harbor Village at 1575 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura rents out electric boats, paddle boats, kayaks, power boats, surf bikes. jet skis and sail boats to the general public.  They also offer narrated harbor tours on weekends and select holidays, public dinner cruises, sunset cocktail cruises, private charters, private parties and public holiday tours. 

Visit www.venturaboatrentals.com or call 805.642.7753 for more information.

We enjoy exploring the Ventura Harbor, thanks to Ventura Boat Rentals.  Lots of small crabs hang out in these rocks.

We enjoy exploring the Ventura Harbor, thanks to Ventura Boat Rentals.  Lots of small crabs hang out in these rocks.

Leonis Adobe Museum - Calabasas

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The Leonis Adobe Museum in Calabasas was named as the first Los Angeles historic monument on August 6, 1962.  The Leonis Adobe was the home of Miguel Leonis, known as the King of Calabasas, who owned over 10,000 acres of land. The museum features his authentically furnished two-story Monterey-style adobe with original buildings, period livestock, gardens and a vineyard. The house was originally built in 1844, six years before Los Angeles was incorporated and California became a state.

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Also on the property is the Plummer House, the oldest house in Hollywood and in 1935 was named California Historical Landmark No. 160.  The house fell into disrepair and became dilapidated before the salvagable front portion of the house was moved to the Leonis Adobe site in 1983 and subsequently  repaired, restored and refurbished.  It now serves as the onsite Visitor Center and gift shop.

Plummer House Visitor Center

Plummer House Visitor Center

The Leonis Adobe, located at 23537 Calabasas Road in Calabasas (near the Sagebrush Cantina) is open Friday and Sunday from 1pm to 4pm and 10am to 4pm on Saturdays. Visit www.leonisadobemuseum.org or call 818.222.6511 for more information. Suggest donations are $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and $1 for children under age 12.

On a personal note, I've been to the Leonis Adobe and it is an amazingly large piece of property in the heart of old town Calabasas, paralleling, yet nearly invisible to, the 101 freeway.  In addition to the historic buildings the site has a particularly impressive assortment of vintage wagons and farm equipment. There's also a beautiful, well manicured garden area and lots of farms animals to see and feed, including some longhorn bulls, sheep, goats, chickens and a horse. Bring quarters to buy food. Plus they have many activities for the kids year-round.

Santa Barbara Zoo

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The 30 acre Santa Barbara Zoo is a great family outing, with beautiful landscape, low key, clean environment and cool breezes from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

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There are over 500 animals at the Santa Barbara Zoo and my family's favorites include the giraffes and the penguins.  One of the most unique features is feeding the giraffes. For a fee of $8 you are situated face to face with these friendly Masai giraffes as you give them a snack. Open weekdays from 11:30am to 1:30pm and weekends 11:30am to 2:30pm.

The penguin exhibit is mesmerizing as you are treated to happy go lucky penguins frolicking in the water.

There are plenty of other animals, exhibits and places in the park to just hang out and have a picnic lunch.  And the train ride is always fun.

So drive the 45 miles up the coast, take the kids to the zoo, grab a bite, feel the sand, do some shopping and you've got yourself a nice day out.  Better yet, buy a tax-deductible zoo membership and visit the zoo several times per year with the kids.

Speaking of membership, if you have a membership at the Los Angeles Zoo, your card will get you 50% off admission at the Santa Barbara Zoo. Conversely, a membership at the Santa Barbara Zoo will get you 50% off at the Los Angeles Zoo. Nice!

The Santa Barbara Zoo is located at 500 Niños Drive, Santa Barbara.  For more information, visit www.sbzoo.org or call 805.962.5339 or 805.962.6310.

Open every day 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., except 10:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, and Christmas.

Ticket Prices (as of August 2016) are Adults 13-64: $17, Children 2-12 $10, Seniors 65+: $13 and Children under 2: Free. Parking: $7 (free with SB Zoo Membership)