Summary: On a clear day, this hike has spectacular vistas of the Channel Islands, Catalina, and much of the Malibu coast. During the spring, wildflowers abound in the wide open meadowland. While most of this hike is through scrub land, there are oak groves here and there to picnic under the shade. I visited this park on a hazy day with fog on the coast, so I may not have given as high a rating as it deserves. Pick up a trail map at the information board on your way into the park. Note that I found the trails rather confusing, although there is no chance of getting really lost.
Trailhead: From the Pacific Coast Highway, about 12 miles north of Malibu, head inland on Encinal Canyon about 4.5 miles to Charmlee Park. (Lat:34.061 Lon:-118.876)
Trail Guides for Charmlee Park Loop:
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
101 Hikes in Southern California
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown (Foghorn Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs
Ranger Contact: Charmlee Natural Area (310) 457-7247
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 4 Submit your own review
Reviewed by girljo on 2/16/2015
Charmlee now has trail signs on paths!:-) If you take the Botany Trail there are nature markers. There is a handout at the kiosk & up the paved rd at the nature center. Easy rolling hills and criss-crossing trails. Great views of the ocean and the islands. Todays hike the weather was warm and the meadow grass was lush & green. Dogs on leashes welcome & easy hiking for little kids. I did a bunch of the trails and did 5 miles total.
Reviewed by jan on 10/1/2011
This became one of my favorites! We didn't see another soul on the trails. The scenery continued to change as we followed the many trails- from tall grassy fields to big mossy boulders. We went in fall so I am hopeful to return in the spring when I can tell the park will be full of beautiful wildflowers too. We didn't get to see the ocean because of heavy fog that morning.
Reviewed by Cristina M. on 10/5/2010
HIKED: 10/03/2010. THERE IS A $4 DAY USE FEE. This hike was very nice. However, the map that is available onsite and the markers dont really give you much direction. We got lost, and ended up doing the longest loop (which was mostly uphill on the way back). But, the great thing, is you cant really get lost. We did this hike on a hazy day and still made it out in about an hour and a half. You just have to pay attention to the markers so you dont go in circles. This is a great hike, great exercise and there was wheat stocks that lined the trail, so beautiful. :)
Reviewed by Novice Hiker on 8/13/2010
I really enjoyed this hike. The ocean view was fantastic! We also saw a deer. I would like to return in the spring when it's greener.
Reviewed by The King on 7/12/2010
We started hike at 6:30 p.m. on a Sunday for a sunset hike. We were the only ones there. We saw a tarantula! We found a geo cache. The Sunset was beautiful. Great Ocean views for sure. We weren't done until 8:30. The Ranger told us to be out by 7:45 next time. The area is very nice. There are lots of picnic tables and a well kept bathroom. There are 3 or 4 different trails with brand new signs.
Reviewed by Raven on 5/28/2010
Beautiful Ocean Views. A lot of different trail heads, but all leading to the same place. Wasn't strenuous at all. We walked it twice to get more of a work out. Great place to stroll around and see the beautiful blue ocean. Spectacular Views! If want a better work out with even more spectacular views try Mische Mokwa and bring 60oz of water and lunch..
Reviewed by I and A on 4/1/2010
Just visited this hike with my family. So far this has been the best hiking spot we have visited. Spectacular views of the ocean, with lush meadows and sweet smelling wildflowers made this an enjoyable time. Would visit it again. P.S. the map provided could have been better.
Reviewed by Deacon Blues on 3/28/2010
As others have pointed out, there is a severe lack of signage on the trails at Charmlee. The free map isn't much of a help either. With that out of the way, it is still worth a visit. The trails criss cross each other so there is no chance of getting lost. It's nice and relaxing and offers splendid views of the ocean. The air was clear enough for me to see Cataline, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara islands. I did get spooked encountering a large rattlesnake on one of the grass trails.
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