Hiking has some serious health benefits, not just for physical health but mental too. Studies show that walking in nature could lead to lower risk of depression. Exercise in general improves mental health, with evidence showing that it can reduce anxiety, depression, and negative mood. So, we decided to put together a list of the best hiking trails in Malibu, so that you and your family can work on your mental health with a killer view.
With more than 500 miles of public trails running across the Santa Monica Mountains, there’s sure to be a trail for anyone of any level. The Santa Monica Mountains Recreation area protects one of the largest Mediterranean-type ecosystems in the world. Take in Pacific Coast views as you recenter yourself on your hike. It’s dog-friendly too!
Point Dume Cove Trail
This easy and popular trail is both a hike and a beach day combined. It includes ocean views over the bluffs of Point Dume, wildflowers scattered along the trail, and access to the tide pools. You might even see some sea lions and whales from the peak of the trail. It’s a great trail to bring your whole family along.
This oak-shaded 4.4-mile loop is as beautiful as it is iconic. For any Planet of the Apes fans, you can climb the same volcanic rock wall featured in the film at Rock Pool. For M*A*S*H fans, venture a few miles past Century Lake for the filming site of the popular television show. Whether you’re basking in the nostalgia of the classics or enjoying the flora and fauna along the trail, this hike is sure to refresh.
A scenic trail that runs through sage, chaparral, ancient oaks, and waterfalls – it’s hard to beat a hike this beautiful. The waterfall’s flow depends on rainfall, but even without it this moderately challenging trail is worth it. Get your mind off the busyness of life and immerse yourself in all the nature this hike has to offer.
Solstice Canyon Loop holds as much historical significance as it does beauty. As you embark on this shaded hike, you can check out the ruins of The Roberts Ranch house. It was built in the 1900s by Paul Revere Williams, the first African American member of the American Institute of Architects. After that, you can also check out the natural pools, but most come for the perennial Solstice waterfall at the end of the trail.
Located within historic Reagan Ranch, this trail is mostly coastal chaparral with stunning views of Malibu Lake up near the top. Although this is an out-and-back trail, it can be linked with Yearling Trail for those who’d like a 4-mile loop.
Ocean Overlook Loop Trail
The trail lives up to its namesake, as it has an incredible view of the Pacific Coast. Running through Charmlee Wilderness Park, this mostly flat hike is great for beginner hikers and dogs. Other than great ocean views, the landscape consists of oak trees, meadows, and rolling hills.
In Tuna Canyon Park, this family-friendly trail is 1.6 miles round trip. After finding peace at the Meditation Circle, a rock labyrinth created by locals, watch the sunset at Big Rock Lateral viewpoint. This trail also features sprawls of wildflowers and oak and sycamore trees along the canyon. Once you’re done with your hike, “The Grotto” is a canyon with a picnic area surrounded by overhanging trees and a waterfall.
Widely considered one of the best hikes in Topanga State Park, this easy to moderate trail is for the ones who want a little more challenge in their mental health hike. The wildflower-lined trail overlooks Malibu, Santa Monica, and Los Angeles. When you’re crossing the bridge at the bottom of the canyon, be sure to look around for a beautiful waterfall.
Located in Corral Canyon Park, this family-friendly hike is abundant with fauna like quails, deer, and red-tailed hawks. This trail is considered one of the most accessible in Malibu and has a seafood restaurant nearby for those who might be hungry after their hike. Not only do the views from this trail include the beach and ocean, but it also includes a river.
Remember to bring plenty of water and sunscreen as you take some time to slow down and reconnect with yourself and nature. While getting some sun is great, make sure to wear a hat and sunglasses for the trails that aren’t shaded. Your body, and your mental health, will thank you.
If your teen is struggling with their mental health or with substance abuse, Beachside Teen Treatment Center can help get them back on track. Our evidence-based, multidisciplinary programs are designed to cater to your teen’s needs and goals for healing. For more information, contact our admissions team today.