Thru hike Malibu to LA

We would like to hike for 3 days from Malibu- or north of Malibu of possible, through to Santa Monica. I am having a lot of trouble finding the trail to follow. Is it clearly marked? Is accommodation available on the way? Thank you for any help you can offer

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  • Second Leg. August 2021.

    early morning flight to LAX. Breakfast at Huckleberry (awesomeness.) Walked to the Santa Monica Pier and hit the beach. Sand until Venice Beach. Left the beach for civilization- More depressing than interesting. Around Marina Del Rey.  Great directions to The South Jetty Bridge.  The walk along the creek is pleasant. At the Jetty shoes off. On the waterline…Dockweiler, LAX, Scattergood to Manhattan Beach. Heavenly. Sea View Inn - Unbeatable. Liquor Store next door! Dinner: Fishing With Dynamite. Delish.

    The Sea View has bikes. So, we rode back to Marina Del Rey. It highlights how slow walking is. Breakfast- North  End Cafe. Very Good. Walked the pavement in Manhattan, Hermosa, Redondo because the homes were so cool. Hit the beach at Torrance, RAT beach,  and Malaga Cove. At Malaga Cove we climbed up into the neighborhood. It just looked slow on the rocks…Palms Verdes. Green Lawns. Terranea. It’s nice. I prefer Manhattan Beach and the Sea View.

    very light pack since Terranea requires two nights. Neighborhoods until the archery range. Then the ocean the entire way to Overlook Park. Easy hiking but you have to focus.  You are on a four foot ribbon of rocks with a sheet cliff on the left and an ocean on the right.  Some places are slow going. And, there are significant rock slides. There are two step climb outs at Overlook Park. Visit Walkers Cafe  (perfect name for “walkers.” Uber to l’Opera (excellent.) Uber back to Terranea. Sleep

    • Eric,

      Thanks again for sharing your Walkabout experience.  To hike the length of the Palos Verdes Peninsula is a rare feat, but it is well worth it. 

      Heidi and I just returned from the Southland, exploring the Malibu to Mexico route.  The highlight was wading across the Tijuana River (chest deep at low tide) and hiking the empty beach to the border.

      I hope you make it all the way to Mexico.  Keep us posted.


  • My wife and I did the first leg in April 2021.

    April 8, 2021. Neptune's Net to Malibu County Inn.  All on the beach. Fantastic.

    April 9, 2021. Zuma Beach to Malibu M Hotel (lunch at Geoffrey's). All on the beach. Wonderful.

    April 10, Malibu Pier to  Santa Monica Pier.  This was a very intense day.  Little did we know we were dropping into a long running conflict between beach front property owners and beach users.  The more we were harassed the more inspired we became.   We had to walk the PCH from the 20000 to the 19000.  It is horrible on the road.  Once we got to Mastero's Steakhouse were were able to return to the beach.  And, from there on it was great.  Stayed in the Palihouse.  Pasta at 

    We are doing the second leg on my birthday in August 2021.

    Only one item I wish we had - gloves for the rocks.  Just light Home Depot working gloves.

    We both usesd 33L packs (very small.)

    At Dume cove the homeowners had put up Beach Closed Signs.  By day two I understood these were fake and only attempts to keep the beach private.

    Thanks Tom.  First saw the sunset article.  Then bought the book.  Then did it.

    • Eric,

      Thanks for recounting your inn-to-inn adventure on the Malibu Coast.  This is very helpful information.  I appreciate that you persisted in walking the public beaches in spite of being discouraged by property owners. This is an on-going and important fight. California law entitles us to be able to walk our beaches up to the mean tide line. Property owners try to claim the beach for themselves, but they belong to all of us.

      Happy Hiking,

      Tom Courtney

  • Tania,

    The first chapter of "Walkabout Malibu to Mexico: Hiking Inn to Inn on the Southern California Coast" is titled "Exploring the Malibu Coast."  It describes a 3-day hike from north of Malibu to Santa Monica.  As with all the walkabouts in this book, our trail hugs the coast.  The scenery is spectacular with a rugged coastline, secluded beaches alternating with popular strands.  The wildlife is extraordinary - migrating whales, seabirds, seals, porpoises, and sea lions. 

    It starts at Leo Carrillo State Beach and takes 2 days to reach Malibu (day 1 -  79. miles, day 2 - 11.4 miles.)  The third day goes from Malibu to Santa Monica (12.4 miles.)  The trail hikes mostly beach and coastal bluffs.  There are also sections of coastal residential roads, and some sections of sidewalk along the PCH.   You will want to pay attention to the tides because there are some areas where you can only stay on the beach when the tide is low.  Otherwise, you will need to ascend to the bluffs.  The book has suggestions on where to find tidal information and when to set out in order to reach the tricky spots when the tide is low.

    Yes, there are interesting accommodations along the way.  There is a list at the end of the chapter.  Some new inns have sprung up and old ones closed since the book was published.  so you will want to do a bit of research.  There are also interesting AirBnB options.

    This is great 3-day inn-to-inn hike along a spectacular coastline.  It is challenging but definitely worth the journey.

    Happy Hiking,


    • Thats awesome- Thank you! I have the book- I was just having trouble working out the trail. When I put it into any kind of map app it has me walking on Highway 1! Obviously we are not going this year now, but I will keep this for future reference. Thanks again. 

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