Summary: The hike starts out with stunning views of the mountains as you gain 1600 foot of elevation along the somewhat overgrown Malibu Springs Trail. After about 2 miles the trail levels out and views of both Nicholas Flat and the lovely coastline emerge. There are a number of trail options to traverse the meadows area, with the highlight of the hike being Nicholas pond and the stunning overlook on the backside of the pond. The hike out takes you along a short section of the Decker School Road before connecting with another section of the Malibu Springs Trail, which will lead you back to your car.
We encountered plenty of ticks along the Malibu Springs Trail, so dress accordingly. We also almost stepped on a baby rattlesnake, so keep your eyes open on the trail. Another good resource for this hike, as well as many others in this area, is the Mileage Hiking Maps shown in the list of guidebooks.
Trailhead: From the 101 freeway in Thousand Oaks, take Kanan Road to the Pacific Coast Highway. Turn right (north) and follow it for 10 miles to Mulholland Highway. Turn right and drive 3.1 miles to a very small turnout on the right with a trailhead marker for Malibu Springs Trail. A few hundred yards beyond the trailhead marker, you will encounter a chain link gate. Just walk around it and continue up the trail. (Lat:34.08378 Lon:-118.91816)
Trail Guides for Nicholas Flat via Malibu Springs Trail:
Mileage Hiking Maps
by James Caballero ()
Trail Map - Santa Monica Mtns West
by Tom Harrison ()
Best Seasons: Fall, Spring,
User Groups: Hikers,
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 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by MikeO on 6/10/2012
Did the hike 06/10/2012. Hard to find the trailhead but it is right across the street from a Jewish Camp. Only room for 2 or 3 cars. The Malibu Springs trail is a tad overgrown but manageable. Yes, there are ticks, but they are easily brushed off. On the Malibu Springs trail encountered a Rattlesnake along the trail. Gave me a nic warning with his/her rattles. It is best to have a map or pre map the route using Runkeeper or equivalent. There are many forks. The upper part of the trail, Ridgeline, was recently spruced up. The pond was interesting but nothing exceptional. The view though from the cliff on the West side of the pond is exceptional. Unfortunately, there was June gloom so it was overcast. Trail takes you along Decker School Rd.
Reviewed by sm on 6/20/2011
Did this hike on 6/18/2011 or at least tried to. Up until about a 1/2 mile it was great. Nice climb, beautiful views. But it ended there... Then it's a lot of brush and plants covering up the trail. Lots of ticks and bees. We had to turn around about 1 1/2 miles. A long stretch of 6-7 foot high plants with ominously loud bees buzzing around. We were worried about getting stung. Had ticks and bugs all over when we got back to our cars.
Reviewed by Scott on 11/13/2010
This is to Kim. Based on your post, it sounds like you came very close to the pond. The junctions aren't always marked very well. Hard to believe the trail got so overgrown so soon! It was fine when I was there in March or April.
Reviewed by Ben on 9/27/2010
Did this 9/24. Definitely overgrown but with long pants & long sleeve shirt did not even feel it. Easy trail to follow provided you have a topo. Wouldn't do this one for the 1st time without a map tho. Much easier to follow if you go straight towards Decker School Road and then down to the pond (go straight at the end of DSR and then right at the first fork). It's not more scenic, but it gets you to the pond quicker. I've come up here from Leo Carrillo before and I did get a little turned around and didn't make it to the pond, but next time I go via Malibu Springs I will come straight up the ridge and drop into the flats at the west end, cross to the pond along the south and take DSR back to the trail. It is definitely prettier that wa
Reviewed by Raven on 8/16/2010
Saturday morning 11:00am. We parked our car by the trail head which was totally desolate. The trail was unbelievably over grown up to our waist with thistle branches and weeds. We weren't even sure we should take the chance. Needless to say we trekked threw. The trail was completely over grown most of the way up we even walked through 4 spider webs that blocked the trail. We didn't see 1 single person the whole hike. We walked 2 hours up winding around the tall dry grassy area. We had to mark several forks in the road with red string just so we would be able to find our way back. We finally reached the top after 2 hours with beautiful ocean views, but no pond anywhere. It took us 4 hours 2 finish the trail,very exhausting. Trail needs TL
Reviewed by Kim on 6/1/2010
Hiked this on Saturday. Oh, what a little late season rain will do! The trailhead nearly to the Nicholas Meadow junction is overgrown with many varieties of wildflowers and shrubs. Probably could have used long pants or gators to protect the ankles. Lots of flowers and bees.The meadow was still quite green. Great scenery along the way and the many ocean overlooks were spectacular. Signage is poor and missing in some spots. Never found the pond but did find the ruins of an old pump station and further along what appeared to be a burned out neighborhood along Decker School Road. I suggest downloading maps to your GPS ahead of time but definitely using a GPS to keep track of the trail. I think we took a few detours. Still enjoyed it.
Reviewed by Scott on 4/5/2010
FYI, just hiked this last month and the trail's in great shape. The lower portions of the trail were quite muddy. Lovely wildflowers and some poison oak too! Signage is poor at the last few junctions as you get close to the pond.
Reviewed by Cassie on 2/15/2010
Yesterday my boyfriend and I hiked this trail for Valentine's Day. It took us a while to find because we came the back way through Mulholland Hwy and didn't take the PCH because of traffic. Once we made it to the trail, we were very excited. A great workout going up, but it can be tricky finding the correct trail once you get around the pond/lookout and the ocean views. We got lost once or twice, but eventually made it down very close to nightfall. Overall I would definitely do it again. BEAUTIFUL ocean views!!
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