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La Jolla Valley Loop

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Waterfalls, grasslands, oaks, wildflowers, coastal views
Near:Malibu, CA
Distance:7 miles round trip
Elevation Gain:800 ft
Hike Time:3.5 hours
Trail Condition:OK, but a few difficult spots

Summary: This is a wonderful hike, particularly in the spring when the wildflowers a blooming. The trail takes you along a small creek with a number of small waterfalls, then opens up onto lovely rolling grasslands studded with oaks and a peaceful pond. The length of the hike can be reduced to 4 miles by returning via the La Jolla Canyon Trail, rather than looping around via the Overlook Trail. I really like this trail and found the rolling grass, particularly if there is a breeze, to be breathtaking.
Trailhead: Drive up the coast north on Pacific Coast Highway from Malibu. About 1.5 miles north of Big Sycamore Canyon camp ground is the Ray Miller Trailhead, which is used to access La Jolla Valley. (Lat:34.08396 Lon:-119.03565)
Trail Guides for La Jolla Valley Loop:
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney  (Olympus Press)

On The Trail - Malibu to Santa Barbara
by Cathy Philipp  (Cathy Philipp Publishing)

Best Seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring
User Groups: Hikers, Horses
Ranger Contact:  Santa Monica Mtn Recreation Area, 818-597-9192
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted  104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews  Page 1 of 7   Submit your own review
Reviewed by DangerDave on 4/24/2014
This hike is interesting. Most of the area was affected by the fire, so you’ll see plenty of burned trees. But the vegetation is coming back. We saw plenty of yellow, white, and purple wildflowers. With the exception of a few birds (ravens and hummingbirds), one lizard and a snake in the parking lot, we didn’t see any wildlife. I’d bet the vegetation needs to fully come back first before you’ll see more diversity. For now (and I think in general), this is a very exposed hike with almost no tree cover. There are a few shallow caves. If you want to check them out, you’ll have to do some climbing, which we didn’t do. We went on a cloudy day – this is not a hike I’d want to do on a clear summer day.

Reviewed by Stacey Z on 3/3/2013
I went yesterday, Saturday March 3rd! This hike was beautiful and the wildflowers were in full bloom! Well worth the drive from Long Beach. I love making the trip to Malibu. This hike does not disappoint. Get there early as the place seemed to be filling up around 12:30 when we finished. We started at 9:30 am so it took about 3 hours with 2 breaks. Parking on PCH is free. Parking in the lot is $8. Your call whether you have the funds to pay or not.

Reviewed by LV Backpackers on 4/26/2011
Just got back from it. Hiking on April 23-24, 2011. It is an OK trip and the trail is nice. Many parts have been covered by grass so should watch out where you go. There is no water at the campsite so if you plan to stay over-night you should carry extra water. There is a pond (swamp) closed to the campsite but the water is not very good to drink (we have water filter and SteriPen). It was a pleasant to find a waterfall on the way back.

Reviewed by JLS422 on 4/9/2011
Great hike with a variety of awesome scenery - waterfall, mountain grades and walls, creek crossing, grass valley, and incredible ocean views. The traill is unmarked in a few spots, but mostly makes sense. Once you hit the grass valley, you're about halfway and almost at an intersection. If you go right, you'll loop back on a shorter route - but go left, it'll wrap you around those mountains and get you huge ocean views for your way back. Took me 3 hours with some stops. Park on PCH to avoid $8 parking fee.

Reviewed by Anna Sam on 8/1/2010
Gorgeous hike, great views in both directions. Note no dogs allowed on trails.

Reviewed by SMY on 7/12/2010
The hike is gorgeous, despite the waterfall and stream being completely dry. But beware of TICKS. I hiked this yesterday, and did the loop that takes you out through the tall grasses. When I arrived home, I had a tick on my neck, my hiking partner had 3 on his body, and over 30 have been recovered from our 2 dogs since. Our house is infested, and it is a total disaster. Our dogs were treated with FrontlinePlus Flea and Tick and we used DEET bug spray, but to no avail. I would never do this hike with my dogs ever again.

Reviewed by BigT on 3/20/2010
This is a very nice spring hike, get out soon or miss the wild flowers. check out this video on hike.

Reviewed by Ismael on 2/20/2010
We hiked this trail today. It took us about 3 hours. The scenery is beautiful and worth the walk. We didn't find a single tick, pehaps because of the season of the year. My favorite part was walking through the grasslands. This trail has a combination of different beautiful scenery...enjoy it!

Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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