Escondido Falls Hike

What to do on a 75 degree January day?  A motto for recent weekends here in Southern California — the sun has been shining, not a single cloud in the sky, and the Santa Ana winds have been bringing in the warm weather.  For us last weekend a hike was in order, I had once read about a waterfall hike right here in the Malibu Mountains that is really only flowing in the winter months or after a big rain.  A short drive up PCH, with the expansive Pacific on the left and the Malibu Mountains rolling by on the right drops us off at the trail head in just under 20 minutes.

The first mile of this hike has the landscape of a private community road about a mile long strung with mansions.  Mansions that could belong nowhere else than on the hills overlooking the Pacific and on this very clear day Catalina Island.

Malibu Mansion

This is not a hike for the faint at heart at it is quite hilly and if you go as far as we did, requires some bouldering as well as about 6-7 creek crossings (wear hiking sandals – keens, chacos if you have them).  The trail head is about 1.0 mile up the private road and is well-marked, you won’t miss it.  If you make it to the Horse Stables you have gone to far.

Trailhead - Escondido Canyon Trail and Waterfalls
Creek-Crossing One of Seven

Meandering through the canyon, well covered by foliage is a great relief from the heat.  The creek-crossings creates a real sense of adventure.  The hike in my book is already a success.  After about 25 minutes on the trail your run straight into the first Falls.  Although beautiful there are rumored to be 2 major falls on this hike.

First Falls Sighting
The Second Falls cannot be reached without effort -- The Hike gets steep!
Second Falls well worth the trek

After a strenuous journey upward the second falls was well worth the trek and the spot where most (if they haven’t already) turn around.  Ahh but not us, we see a small trail sneak off to the right of the falls and decide to keep going — the water is coming from somewhere.

A Bit of Bouldering to Reach the Next Destination

A 250 foot 75% incline was what we ended up bouldering up — finger holds and foot holds completely necessary.  But wait till you see this it was so worth it!

Top of the World

Once at the top  we were smacked in the face with an extraordinary panorama view of the Malibu hills, beaches, and the Pacific.  After 30 minutes of soaking in the sun and being the only people at the top of the waterfall — I took one look downward…

Looking Down from the top of a Waterfall

Oh crap!  What did we get ourselves into — getting down is going to be quite the challenge.  We made our way down slowly, wedged our way down a 10 foot boulder canyon and once again stood at the bottom of the falls with a sense of greater accomplishment.

This is a hike to remember in your own back yard.  One not to miss!

Escondido Falls Trailhead

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