Escondido Falls Hike

Escondido Falls Hike

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to Escondido Falls
  • Where to Park for the Escondido Falls Hike
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations
Total Distance (?)3.7 miles (6 km)
Hike Time1.5-2.5 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Easy
Total Ascent (?)600 feet (183m)
Highest Elevation350 feet (107m)
Fees & PermitsFee for Parking Lot
Dogs AllowedLeashed
Alerts & Closures (?)Escondido Canyon Park
Park Phone323-221-9944
Weather & ForecastLatest Conditions

The Escondido Falls hike is an easy way to see one of the most unique and spectacular waterfalls in Southern California. Unlike most falls, Escondido Falls is covered in moss, giving the waterfall a “bearded” look. Overall the trail is easy to follow and is a great beginner and family-friendly hike.

The upper falls, the highest in the Santa Monica Mountains, are now closed and on private property. This guide will get you to the safe and accessible lower falls.

Where is Escondido Falls?

This hike is a little different than most. You’ll park at the official start and then walk along a paved road (on the dirt sidewalk) until you reach the “trail trail” at about 0.8 miles in. Use this trailhead address:
27751 Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

Escondido Falls Hike Directions 3
The official parking lot is just off of the PCH.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 4
This is a popular hike, and the lot can often be full.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 7
There’s a self-pay kiosk for the parking lot.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 5
If the parking lot is full, there is parking along the PCH. Be VERY VERY careful when crossing. The traffic here can be heavy.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 6
If you do park on the PCH, make sure you are not in a “no parking” zone.

Gear For the Hike

Escondido Falls Hike Directions 1
There are some stream crossings on the hike. Usually you can just hop across, but it makes sense to wear shoes that you are okay with getting wet.

There’s nothing too tricky about this hike and you can do it in fitness clothes or light hiking gear. It can be hot here, so bring at least 1L of water with you.

Gear 2022 8

I waste my time with lousy hiking gear so you don’t have to. Only the winners get onto my gear page. There’s no fluff, sponsorships, or promotions. It’s just gear I personally use, have tested, and recommend. Right now I’m liking my inReach Mini 2, Garmin Epix, and Lone Peak 6 shoes.
.
My September 2022 Top Gear Picks

Escondido Falls Trail Maps

Click Here To View

Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File

Free Nav Tools:  GaiaGPSAllTrails

Guides to Help You Navigate

Elevation Profile

Escondido Falls Hike Elevation
Here’s the one-way elevation profile. On the road portion of the hike we’ll crest a hill, then descend, and then do a very gentle uphill (which seems flat) to the falls.

3D Map

Escondido Falls Hike 3d Map
We’re going to follow Winding Way, a road, up through the neighborhood, and then get on the trail as it enters Escondido Canyon Park. We’ll follow the trail up Escondido Canyon until we reach the falls.

Hike Brief

Escondido Falls Hike Directions 2
When you hike through Escondido Canyon you’ll see the damage from the 2018 Woolsey Fire. The fire was massive and really did a number on Malibu, including forcing an evacuation of hundreds of thousands of residents.

Escondido Falls Hike Directions

Video Directions

Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.

Turn by Turn Directions

Escondido Falls Hike Directions 8
From the top of the parking area, head up Winding Way.road.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 9
There’s a dirt trail alongside of the road.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 10
In a short while you’ll cross over Winding Way.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 11
The trail markers on the other side of the street.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 12
Keep hiking up the road, avoiding any driveways or roads going off of Winding Way (they’re private property).
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 13
As you pass the fancy homes, you’ll start to get nice views of the Pacific Ocean.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 14
At the top of the hill, keep hiking down the road.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 15
You’ll see a sign for the park at the top of the hill, but the trail starts further down the hill.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 16
After a few minutes of heading downhill you’ll see the trailhead for the Edward Albert Trail to Escondido Falls.

Edward Albert was an actor, Oxford attendee, godson of Laurence Oliver, and local champion of the outdoors, the environment, and Native American rights. The trail is named in his honor.

Escondido Falls Hike Directions 17
Now you’re on the trail proper. There’s a little downhill before you start up the hidden canyon to the falls.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 18
As you go downhill, look off to the left. The lush canyon (Escondido Canyon) is where you’ll be hiking.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 19
At the bottom of the climb, make the hard left.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 20
You’ll see a trail sign after you make the hard turn. We’ll be heading upstream along Escondido Canyon Creek.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 22
The trail is easy to follow as it goes up the canyon.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 21
You’ll do about 4 easy creek crossings as you hike.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 23
There’s a small side trail off to the left by this big oak. Keep hiking straight upstream.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 24
When the trail comes to a t-junction, make the left.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 25
Look up in front of you to the right. If there’s water flowing, you can see the upper falls here.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 26
And soon you’ll come to the shaded area at Escondido Falls.
Escondido Falls Hike Directions 27
Walk up to the moss and limestone covered falls. If there’s water flowing, you can wade in the pool beneath them. The falls are 50 feet tall.

Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.

From here, just turn around and head back the way you came!

The upper falls are located on private property and are not open to the public. Hikers are asked not to climb to the upper falls to preserve the fragile habitat and to avoid the risk of serious fall injuries.Escondido Canyon Park

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

Related Guides

Popular Guides

This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I’m Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn’t so you don’t waste money. I don’t do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn’t do it without folks like you!).

Don’t Miss Out