Between mountains and sea, there’s something about Malibu that invites a sense of adventure, and few people know that better than local Bruce Klumph. Born and raised in Malibu, Bruce has spent nearly 26 years exploring the coastline, from surfing at world-famous beaches to seeking out secluded waterfalls after a heavy rain.
“You have a perfect blend of everything,” says the longtime paddleboarding instructor, noting how Malibu’s iconic beaches border the Santa Monica Mountains. “You can paddle in the morning and hike in the afternoon. There’s a lot of diversity from the types of plants to the structure of the rocks, and you feel in touch with all of it and the wildlife you get with it.”
From hidden gems to Malibu mainstays, here are a few of Bruce’s favorite places to become immersed in the outdoors – all located just minutes from Malibu Beach Inn:
Perhaps the most famous locale in Malibu, Surfrider Beach lives up to its reputation with the same consistent swell that once attracted surfing legends like Miki Dora.
“You can walk out to the beach [by the hotel] and have access to that beautiful wave,” says Bruce. “That’s not only one of the most iconic spots in LA but one of the most iconic spots in the world, considering quality of waves, length of ride, and the history behind it.”
He also recommends the spot for paddleboarding (along with the neighboring Carbon Beach) because of the classic Malibu scenery including Malibu Pier and the Adamson House.
The beaches may be the main draw in Malibu, but the nearby Santa Monica Mountains are brimming with picturesque hikes like Backbone Trail, which spans more than 60 miles parallel to the coast.
Bruce isn’t surprised that many visitors aren’t aware that such beautiful hikes are so close by because he himself wasn’t fully versed until a book from his father led him to a network of trails that have since become favorites. “There are so many trails and other activities that you can do outside of the water,” he says, “where you can really explore those landscapes and take in all of the sights and sounds that come with them.”
Known for its scenic loop trail, the 1,000-acre Corral Canyon Park also makes a great paddleboarding destination. Along with visiting more frequented shorelines, Bruce is always on the lookout for new places to paddle – which is how he found the more sheltered area near Latigo.
“You feel outside the hustle and bustle of the town, which is nice,” he says. “You can usually see some dolphins and seals. That is my hidden little nook.”
Standing at more than 3,100 feet, Sandstone Peak is the tallest mountain in the Santa Monica mountain range, offering sweeping vistas throughout the 6-mile loop hike to the top. Of the peak, Bruce says, “It’s a really cool vantage point to be looking toward Santa Monica and Malibu like you’re on top of the world.”
Along the way, hikers pass by the popular Echo Cliffs climbing spot, by incredible formations like Balancing Rock, and through a forested picnic area. (The path also links up with Backbone Trail for a short time.)
When it comes to exploring the world beneath the ocean’s surface, beautiful underwater scenery awaits at Latigo. Accessible by the little-known Latigo Beach, the southwest-facing bay is protected by Latigo Point, making it a calm and clear snorkeling destination filled with an abundance of marine life.
In addition to snorkeling, Bruce says, “When the seasons are right, we have some really cool areas [nearby] for spear fishing and lobster diving.”
Featured Photo: Connor Guest