When it’s time to disconnect with screens and be one with nature, Malibu is a welcomed reprieve. Nestled along the Pacific, there is so much power and tranquility to draw from the ocean.
“Meet me where the sky touches the sea.” -Jennifer Donnelly
One of the best ways to take advantage of your proximity to the ocean? Taking your group on a hike with sweeping ocean views. Although no hikes in Malibu have bad views, per se, there’s something about the glimmering Pacific that motivates even the most novice hikers. With this list of the five best hikes in Malibu with an ocean view, you’ll ensure the reward is worth the effort.
1. Point Dume Natural Preserve
Among the most well-known coastal overlooks in Malibu, Point Dume is a promontory that juts into the Pacific and provides panoramic views of the ocean, Santa Monica Bay, and Paradise Cove. It’s the ideal hike for beginners given the trail to the panoramic overlook is around one mile long. Insider tip: From December to mid-April, it’s one of the best hikes in Malibu to watch the migration of California gray whales.
2. Charmlee Wilderness Park
A bit further afield but no less scenic, Charmlee Wilderness Park is a 532-acre park with more than eight miles of hiking trails, picnic areas, and native plants. For a hike that will let you see Malibu from a bird’s eye view, opt for the trail that traces the outer loop of the park, which is just over three miles long and will take you to an ocean overlook and past the ruins of a ranch that once occupied this land.
3. Tuna Canyon
Early birds and experienced hikers must visit Tuna Canyon Park, located between Topanga and Malibu. A moderately difficult trail just under four miles long, this hike delivers some of the best views in the area. The Big Rock Lateral viewpoint offers breathtaking views of the Pacific and downtown L.A. Sometimes it even showcases the San Gabriel Mountains in the distance. Parking is scarce and the trail receives little shade. Visitors should arrive early to beat the crowds and heat, and don’t forget to bring water.
4. Backbone Trail
To hike the entire Backbone Trail would be an arduous journey: It stretches 67 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains from Santa Monica all the way to Point Mugu State Park. Many locals break the trail up into sections to complete it in its entirety. However, visitors will find shorter options still offer plenty of reward. One highlight is the two-mile hike to Saddle Peak, an easy summit that provides panoramic ocean views.
5. Zuma Ridge Trail
Those interested in more strenuous activities will do well to start the day early hiking the Zuma Ridge Trail. A 5.6-mile trail rated as moderately difficult, it takes hikers on a steady uphill journey to an overlook featuring both mountain and ocean views. Experienced locals advise visiting hikers to arrive early. They also recommend packing plenty of water and sunscreen because of the lack of shade.
No matter their skill level, any visitor to Malibu can find a trail suited to their comfort level. And when the reward for finishing your hike is a spa treatment at Malibu Beach Inn and oceanside lunch at Carbon Beach Club, the miles will fly by.