Walkabout California

Hiking Inn to Inn

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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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. 

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.


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


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