Malibu Creek State Park, affectionately called “the Yosemite of Southern California,” spans 8,000 acres of land in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Chumash Indians lived there for centuries before the land changed hands in the 1800s. The park dates back to 1976 when it was opened by 20th Century Fox. More than a dozen movies have included scenes that were filmed there including Planet of the Apes, Love Me Tender, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, and Pleasantville, and the park is also home to the set for the television show M*A*S*H.
Some visitors are drawn to the extensive hiking and biking trails that snake throughout the land. Others prefer to spend their time rock climbing near Rock Pool. Century Lake is often full of kayaks, and the Reagan Ranch is a popular place to go horseback riding. Up to 62 families can rent out campsites at the campground, complete with fire pits and picnic tables. During the summer visitors are encouraged to attend the free educational Campfire Programs which take place in the amphitheater. Guided hikes are also popular attractions.
Sycamores, valley oaks, redwoods, and chaparral grow throughout the park. The redwoods were planted in 1910 even though they generally require a cooler climate. The reason that they have thrived for over 100 years is the fact that they are shaded by Goat Buttes and receive a lot of water from Century Lake. The peaks, plains, and streams provide an excellent habitat for the park’s many animals. Mice and voles keep the owls, hawks, and eagles well fed. Loons, ducks, and herons enjoy Century Lake. There are several large mammals who reside within Malibu Creek State Park, perhaps the most impressive of which is the mountain lion. You are unlikely to run into a bobcat or coyote while in the heavily populated areas, but you might see chipmunks or toads while you’re hiking.