Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu

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Leo Carrillo State Park has 1.5 miles of beach for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing and beachcombing, as well as tide pools, coastal caves and reefs for exploring. Giant sycamores shade the main campgrounds. The park also features back-country hiking.

Among the many great features of Leo Carrillo, the most engaging activity for me and the kids is the tidepools. They are exposed twice daily at low tide and provide hours of engagement with sea stars, anemones, mussels, sea slugs and more amongst the thousands of rocks on shore.

Nature walks and campfire programs are offered and a small visitor center has interpretive displays. During the summer, children's programs are available.

Trails include Yellow Hill Fire Trail for panoramic views of the beach and the Channel Islands, and the steeper Nicholas Flat Trail, which brings you to a pond.

A view from the Leo Carrillo bluffs as the clouds start rolling in.

A view from the Leo Carrillo bluffs as the clouds start rolling in.

There are 135 family campsites at Leo Carrillo with restrooms and token-operated showers (which accept ONLY one dollar bills...plan ahead). Call 800.444.7275 or visit www.parks.ca.gov to make reservations.

The park was named after Leo Carrillo (1880-1961), actor, preservationist and conservationist. Leo Carrillo served on the California Beach and Parks commission for 18 years and was instrumental in the state's acquisition of the Hearst property at San Simeon. Leo's greatest fame came from his portrayal of Pancho, the sidekick to Duncan Renaldo's Cisco Kid, an early 1950's TV series.

Leo Carrillo State Park is located at 35000 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. The park office phone is 310.457.8143. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=616 for more information.

Parking is currently $12 in the parking lot for the day (or $3 per hour)...but free on PCH if you can find a nearby spot. There is plenty of parking spots available in the lot. After you park, you can walk in a tunnel underneath PCH to get to the beach.

The muraled tunnel that takes you underneath PCH to Leo Carrillo Beach.

The muraled tunnel that takes you underneath PCH to Leo Carrillo Beach.

Dogs on a leash are allowed in the Park's day use areas, campground and north beach (north of lifeguard tower 3). Dogs are not allowed on backcountry trails or south beach (south of lifeguard tower 3).

DIRECTIONS

The most direct way of getting to Leo Carrillo from the Conejo Valley is via Westlake Boulevard (CA-23) (aka Decker Canyon) south, which for some is a fun 14 mile drive, but for others, not so much. It is a bit winding, hilly, steep at many junctures. I take this route during daytime hours but coming home I'm not too keen on it. After getting to PCH, turn right and drive 2 1/2 miles to get to Leo Carrillo.

Another more popular, though less direct route is via Kanan Road. Either take Kanan Road straight down to PCH, turn right (west) on PCH about 9 miles to Leo Carrillo, or take Kanan to Encinal Canyon, which is about a 3 mile drive on PCH to Leo Carrillo.

Lastly, if you are in Newbury Park, you can take Potrero Road west to Las Posas down to PCH. In about 11 miles you will reach Leo Carrillo.

Sandstone Peak Hike in Malibu

Views from Sandstone Peak trail towards Lake Sherwood.

Views from Sandstone Peak trail towards Lake Sherwood.

Sandstone Peak is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains at an elevation of 3,111 feet. Views from the trail stretch from the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands and inland to the Conejo/Simi Valleys.

NOTE: This area of the Santa Monica Mountains sustained significant damage from the Woolsey Fire of November 2018. However, the trail is open and the winter rains brought bright spring colors.

From the Conejo Valley, take Westlake Boulevard south until it becomes Decker Canyon, make a right on Mulholland, then right on Little Sycamore Road, which becomes Yerba Buena Road, with an endpoint of Sandstone Peak Trailhead. Before you see this sign on the right, you will be passing a parking lot at the Mishe Mokwa Trailhead. Another .6 miles and you'll see the sign below.

The hike is only about 3 miles round trip. Depending on how fast you go, the 1.5 mile climb to the top can take anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour. The trail is well maintained but has quite a bit of loose stones, so be sure to wear good shoes so you don't twist an ankle. The starting elevation at the Sandstone Peak trailhead is 2,030 feet, so you'll be climbing over 1,000 vertical feet over 1.5 miles.

Visit the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/circlexranch.htm for more information about the Circle X Ranch area and a printable pdf map of the trails that will get you to Sandstone Peak, including the Mishe Mokwa Trail, Grotto Trail and the Backbone Trail.

To extend the hike, check out Sandstone Peak to Inspiration Point and Tri Peaks.

There are several ways of getting to Sandstone Peak. The most direct way is the trailhead directly up to Sandstone Peak (takes about an hour) and the other is via the Mishe Mokwa Trail, which takes you to Split Rock, through a loop that connects you to the Backbone Trail to Sandstone Peak. This trail will give you views of "Balanced Rock" that you'll see pictured below. Once you reach Sandstone, you'll find a steep staircase that will take you to the peak.

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Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock

Balanced Rock from another angle.

Balanced Rock from another angle.

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Prior to the Woolsey Fire of November 2018, this sign and staircase marked the final ascent to the peak. They were destroyed in the fire, however, and a new path was constructed . See photo below.

Prior to the Woolsey Fire of November 2018, this sign and staircase marked the final ascent to the peak. They were destroyed in the fire, however, and a new path was constructed . See photo below.

New path leading to final ascent to the top after Woolsey Fire.

New path leading to final ascent to the top after Woolsey Fire.

The unofficial name bestowed on Sandstone Peak by the Boy Scouts is "Mt Allen," named in honor of W. Herbert Allen to commemorate his gift of this mountain to the Boys Scouts of America in 1965.

The unofficial name bestowed on Sandstone Peak by the Boy Scouts is "Mt Allen," named in honor of W. Herbert Allen to commemorate his gift of this mountain to the Boys Scouts of America in 1965.

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Ventura County Wine Trail

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Ventura County Wine Trail offers 14 family-owned, award winning wineries right here in Ventura County and adjacent areas! Unique wine tasting tours, five star restaurants, luxury hotels, wine events and attractions, make an amazing wine country destination getaway.

Visit www.venturacountywinetrail.com.

Here are the 14 wineries (updated April 2019) that are part of this trail.

Alma Sol Winery in Thousand Oaks www.almasolwinery.com

Back Patio Cellars in Camarillo www.backpatiocellars.com

Boccali Vineyards and Winery in Ojai www.boccalivineyards.com

Camarillo Custom Crush Winery www.camarillocustomcrush.com

Clos des Amis in Ventura www.closdesamis.com

Herzog Wine Cellars in Oxnard www.herzogwinecellars.com

Labyrinth Winery and Tasting Room in Ventura www.LabyrinthWinery.com

Magnavino Cellars in Oxnard www.magnavino.com

Malibu Sundowner in Westlake Village www.malibusundownerwines.com

Millesime Cellars in Camarillo www.millesimecellars.com

Panaro Brothers Winery in Ventura www.panarobrotherswinery.com

Rancho Ventano Cellars in Oxnard www.ranchoventavo.com

Strey Cellars in Oxnard www.StreyCellars.com

Sunland Vintage Winery and Tasting Room in Thousand Oaks www.SunlandVintageWinery.com

Malibu Creek State Park

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Malibu Creek State Park is accessible in Calabasas, at 1925 Las Virgenes Road, south of Mulholland. The park contains over 8,000 acres of rugged, beautiful hills, trails and scenery. It stretches from Agoura Hills down to Malibu, down to Malibu Lagoon State Beach, covering much of the 25 mile Malibu Creek that flows from Boney Mountain down to the Lagoon. Malibu Creek is the only stream channel that crosses through the Santa Monica Mountain range.

There are three natural preserves in the park, Liberty Canyon, Udell Gorge and Kaslow, which protect Valley Oaks, rare plants and volcanic formations.

Things to do in Malibu Creek State Park include hiking, running, biking, camping, picnicking, fishing and checking out the wildlife. There are over 35 miles of trails and fire roads throughout the park. A fun added bonus is the old M*A*S*H series set, filmed from 1972 to 1983, that resides there.

Dogs are not allowed in Malibu Creek State Park trails.

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Malibu Creek State Park contains roughly three dozen different trails, many easy, and some...extraordinarily challenging, such as the Bulldog trail, taking you to 2,500 foot peaks with panoramic views out to the ocean and surrounding peaks and valleys.

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Parking for the day at Malibu Creek State Park is currently $12, or $3 per hour. You can also park at the corner of Mulholland and Las Virgenes and make your way into the park via the Grassland Trail.

The campground at Malibu Creek State Park has 62 campsites and 4 RV sites. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=614 for more information. It has been closed since June 2018 as a result of a fatal shooting. It was still closed as of 4/18/19 but the ranger I spoke to was hopeful that officials would re-open it next month.

The old M*A*S*H site is about 2 1/2 miles from the parking area.

The old M*A*S*H site is about 2 1/2 miles from the parking area.

M*A*S*H site with plenty of picnic tables

M*A*S*H site with plenty of picnic tables

The Visitor Center is only a 10 minute walk from the parking lot and is generally open from noon to 4pm on weekends.

The Visitor Center is only a 10 minute walk from the parking lot and is generally open from noon to 4pm on weekends.

There's also an interesting visitor center about 1/2 mile from the main entrance to the park. It is open on Saturday/Sunday from noon to 4pm, subject to availability of docents. Worth a stop as there are some neat things to see in there, including wildlife and rocks/artifacts and other useful information. You can also purchase drinks in there as well as a small assortment of other items.

Hike to the Rock Pool at Malibu Creek State Park!

Century Lake Hike at Malibu Creek State Park

Charmlee Wilderness Park in Malibu

NOTE: CHARMLEE WILDERNESS PARK SUSTAINED MAJOR DAMAGE IN THE WOOLSEY FIRE OF NOVEMBER 2018 AND WILL BE CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. CHECK THEIR WEBSITE FOR UPDATES. WE WILL ALSO STAY TUNED FOR UPDATES.

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Charmlee Wilderness Park is a 532 acre park located at 2577 Encinal Canyon Road in Malibu, just 15 miles from the Conejo Valley. It is located within the Santa Monica Mountains. There are over eight miles of hiking trails, a nature center, picnic areas and more. Park hours are 8 a.m. to sunset and the nature center is open on weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (or dark, whichever comes first). Parking is available for $4.

Visit the Mountains Recreation & Conservation Authority website at mrca.ca.gov/parks/park-listing/charmlee-wilderness-park for more information, trail maps and more or call 310.457.7247.

To get there from the Conejo Valley, take the 23 (Westlake Boulevard/Decker Canyon Road) toward the ocean and turn left on Lechusa Road. Continue on Encinal Canyon Road and look for the sign on the right.

Photos below courtesy of Suzy Demeter Photography.

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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 these 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.

Upcoming dates: 4/28/19, 5/26/19, 6/23/19, 7/28/19, 8/25/19, 9/22/19, 10/27/19, 11/24/19, 12/22/19, 1/26/20.

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.

Over 150 Movie Theater Screens Around Ventura County

Here's a handy list of 19 movie theaters with over 150 screens throughout Ventura County and adjacent areas. Click the links for theater websites and/or showtimes.

Thousand Oaks, Westlake Village, Agoura Hills

Cinépolis Luxury Cinemas at the Promenade at Westlake (100 Promenade Way, Westlake Village)  (8 screens). Order food and drink from your seat and enjoy. cinepolisusa.com/locations/cinepolis-luxury-cinemas-westlake-village

AMC Dine-In Thousand Oaks 14, 166 West Hillcrest Drive at The Oaks Mall. Tickets at www.amctheatres.com/movie-theatres/los-angeles/amc-dine-in-thousand-oaks-14. $5 Tuesdays all day for AMC Stubs members.

Regal Janss Marketplace 9 is located at Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks, 255 North Moorpark Road. Previously it was a Regency Theater (closed 12/31/15) and prior to that it was a Mann Theater. www.regmovies.com/theaters/regal-janss-marketplace-9/C00300689804

Former Muvico (now AMC Dine-In) Thousand Oaks.

Former Muvico (now AMC Dine-In) Thousand Oaks.

Century Riverpark 16 at The Collection at Riverpark

Century Riverpark 16 at The Collection at Riverpark

Edwards Camarillo Palace 12 and IMAX, 680 Ventura Boulevard, Camarillo (805.383.8879) (Located adjacent to The Promenade section of Camarillo Premium Outlets. www.regmovies.com/theaters/edwards-camarillo-palace-stadium-12-imax/C00287009669

Plaza Stadium Cinemas 14, 255 West Fifth Street, Oxnard (805.487.8380). www.santarosacinemas.com/plaza-14

Regency Buenaventura 6, 1440 Eastman Avenue, Ventura (805.658.6544). regencymovies.com/main.php?theaterId=14 Dollar Tuesdays!!

Regency Paseo Camarillo Cinemas (3 theaters), 390 North Lantana Street, Camarillo (805.383.2267). regencymovies.com/main.php?theaterId=3

Roxy Stadium 11, 5001 Verdugo Way, Camarillo (805.388.0532). www.santarosacinemas.com/roxy-11

Simi Valley/Moorpark

Regal Civic Center Plaza 16 & IMAX, 2751 Tapo Canyon Road, Simi Valley (805.526.0232). www.regmovies.com/theaters/regal-simi-valley-civic-center-stadium-16-imax/C00745385306

Simi Valley 10 Tristone Cinemas, 1457 E. Los Angeles Avenue (805.526.4329) simivalley.tristonecinemas.com

Studio Movie Grill at the Simi Valley Town Center opened on October 22, 2015, with 9 screens and over 950 seats. www.studiomoviegrill.com/quicktickets/california/simi-valley/2019/1/11

Other Local Theaters

Edwards Grand Palace Stadium 6, 4767 Commons Way, Calabasas (818.223.0223). www.regmovies.com/theaters/edwards-calabasas-stadium-6/C00791471576

Regency Santa Paula 7, 550 West Main Street, Santa Paula (805.933.6707). regencymovies.com/main.php?theaterId=19 Seats just $5 on Sundays!

Ojai Playhouse at 145 East Ojai Avenue (805.646.1011) (1 screen) - CLOSED FOR REPAIRS

CLOSED

Regal Malibu Twin at 3822 Cross Creek Road, Malibu (310.456.6990) (closed in September 2017)

Backbone Trail Hike From Kanan Road Trailhead to Zuma Ridge Motorway in Malibu

NOTE: Closed due to damage from the Woolsey Fire as of December 2018. Updates at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/backbonetrail.htm.

You've driven Kanan Road from Agoura Hills towards PCH for decades and have passed by the Backbone Trail trailhead on Kanan and Newton Canyon Road just before Tunnel "T-1" hundreds of times. But you never stopped there to check it out. Well, it's about time to give it a try!

The Backbone Trail stretches 67 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains, from Will Rogers State Park on the east to the Ray Miller Trailhead on the west. There are 12 "official" Backbone Trail trailheads and the Kanan Road Trailhead is one of them. More information on the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/backbonetrail.htm.

There are two trailheads to catch here at what is also referred to as the Newton Canyon Trailhead. The Backbone Trail to the Latigo Canyon Trailhead is 2.5 miles one way headed east. The Backbone Trail to the Zuma Ridge Motorway - the one covered here - is also 2.5 miles one way headed west. 

The Backbone Trail to Zuma Ridge Motorway is a nice, moderate, winding, mostly single track, well-maintained trail. You'll encounter a creek, a view of the Upper Zuma Falls, a short bridge, some tree-lined canopied sections, wildflowers and moderately rocky sections.

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Once you reach Zuma Ridge Motorway, you can continue on the Backbone Trail or turn back for a five mile round trip hike.

Rocky Oaks Nature Reserve in the Malibu Hills

Rocky Oaks was destroyed by the fast-moving Woolsey Fire of November 2018 and the park will be closed until further notice. Updates will be posted by the NPS at www.nps.gov/samo/index.htm.

Not a great photo but a view of Rocky Oaks from Kanan Road on 11/25/18. Burnt to a crisp.

Not a great photo but a view of Rocky Oaks from Kanan Road on 11/25/18. Burnt to a crisp.

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Rocky Oaks is a 250 acre nature reserve that is part of the Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area, located at the 31500 block of Mulholland Highway in Malibu, west of Kanan Road. The entrance is on the north side of Mulholland Highway. The park is managed by the National Park Service.

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Rocky Oaks has various species of oak trees, some centuries old. The Overlook Trail takes you to a peak with gorgeous panoramic views while the Pond Trail (less than a mile round trip) takes you to a seasonal pond area which used to be part of a cattle ranch.

The Rocky Oaks Loop Trail is a 2.2 mile easy trail that is lined with sage. This is one of the more low key, easy to hike areas around town. It can get hot but at only 6 miles from PCH you can also feel some nice ocean breezes in these trails.

Learn more about Rocky Oaks and download a trail map at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/rockyoaks.htm.

Pond is looking quite nice in late spring of 2017.

Pond is looking quite nice in late spring of 2017.

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Malibu Sportfishing Pier

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The Malibu Sportfishing Pier is located at 23000 Pacific Coast Highway. Just north of the pier is Surfrider Beach and Malibu Lagoon State Beach. You can go sport fishing in a 48 foot boat or you can fish off the pier. 

The pier was originally built in 1905 and first became open to the public 1934. It is currently operated by the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The pier is open daily from 6:30 to sunset, though the restaurants close later.

Malibu Farm Cafe opened at the ocean side of the pier in 2013, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. (This was previously Ruby’s Shake Shack that closed in 2011.)

Malibu Farm Restaurant & Bar operates at the PCH side of the pier both indoors and outdoors. Open for breakfast (weekends only), lunch and dinner as well as weekend brunch.

To fish off the pier, either bring your own fishing gear or rent it from The Ranch at the Malibu Pier. at the end of the pier. They rent fishing rods and sell bait. Call 310.456.8031 for more information. Open 8am to 8:45pm daily. Permits are not required to fish off of the pier.

Learn more about the Malibu Pier at www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=24409 and at www.malibupiersportfishing.com.

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.

(NOTE: Recently - summer 2018 time frame - an $8 per car parking fee was initiated at this parking lot. It takes both cash and credit cards. Parking fees contribute to the ongoing maintenance of the trails, including porta potty cleanings, graffiti and trash removal and partial staffing.)

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. 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, however. 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. 

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 will get you there.

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. Quite popular, one could argue, too popular, on weekends.

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.

Why is it named after Edward Albert? Well, Edward Albert is the only son of actor Eddie Albert, well known for his role on 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.

Sycamore to the Sea Hike, Run or Bike From Newbury Park to Sycamore Cove

Did you know that you can walk, hike, run or bike from Newbury Park to the ocean over 8 1/4 miles pretty easily, without dealing with automobiles? Park your car at the Wendy and Potrero trailhead or at the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa parking lot at Point Mugu State Park in Newbury Park and experience it yourself.

The entry to the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area.

The entry to the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area.

The   Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center   is a short walk from the parking lot.

The Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center is a short walk from the parking lot.

From there, take the paved road, called the Sycamore Canyon Fire Road, towards the ocean.

From there, take the paved road, called the Sycamore Canyon Fire Road, towards the ocean.

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This is a nice, wide paved road with trails along the side much of the way. Generally cool in the early morning year-round as you head towards the ocean, plenty of rest/pit stop areas on the way down and nice and peaceful and beautiful, full of canyons, trees and wildlife (of course, the Springs Fire of 2013 took a major toll on the area, but it has largely grown back as of spring 2018).

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The steepest descent on this course is a roughly 800 foot drop over a 3/4 of a mile into the canyon on the paved road after you see this sign. Coming back up if you do the full round-trip circuit is a bit of a challenge.

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After you drop into the canyon, it is pretty much smooth sailing. The paved road stops right around the Danielson Multi-Use area (see image below for that juncture). After that, follow the wide, dirt fire road towards the beach.

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There are numerous water spigots on the side of the road going down, which comes in quite handy on warmer days. If you use them, just make sure to turn them off.

About 3/4ths of the way down to the beach, you'll pass one of the most picturesque locations for a porta-john that I've ever seen.

About 3/4ths of the way down to the beach, you'll pass one of the most picturesque locations for a porta-john that I've ever seen.

A few miles after passing the above porta-john, you'll reach the Sycamore Canyon Campground, which has 58 campsites and is across Pacific Coast Highway from the ocean. Cross over PCH (be careful!) or find the underpass that takes you under PCH to the Sycamore Cove Beach area, with picnic tables, bathrooms, etc., and enjoy your day!

Sycamore Cove Beach in Point Mugu

Sycamore Cove Beach in Point Mugu

From there, you either head back up or call your significant other to pick you up. Or perhaps plan it out in the morning to leave one car at the beach, drive another car back (obviously you can't do this alone), park the 2nd car at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa, hike/walk/bike down the canyon to retrieve car #1. Or do what I did once, which was drive down to Sycamore Cove via Potrero Road/Las Posas/PCH, park the car, run (or perhaps ride) up to Newbury Park, then ride down with the kids and enjoy the beach. Fun! 

For a map of the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area with a portion of the Big Sycamore Canyon Trail, visit www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/upload/RSV-2-12.pdf (National Park Service pdf brochure).

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.

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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.