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Escondido Falls Hike Featured
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Los Angeles Hikes

Escondido Falls Hike

  • 3.7 miles - Easy Effort
  • 1.5-2.5 Hours (Total)
  • 600 Total Feet of Climbing
  • Max Elevation of 350 feet
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed

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.

In this Guide:
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to Escondido Falls
  • Where to Park for the Escondido Falls Hike
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations

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

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The official parking lot is just off of the PCH.
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This is a popular hike, and the lot can often be full.
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There's a self-pay kiosk for the parking lot.
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If the parking lot is full, there is parking along the PCH. Be VERY VERY careful when crossing. The traffic here can be heavy.
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If you do park on the PCH, make sure you are not in a "no parking" zone.

Gear For the Hike

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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 That I Love Right Now

Nothing is sponsored or promoted, just the actual gear that I use.

Gear Inreach Mini 2
Garmin InReach Mini 2If you are out of cellphone range the Mini 2 will reliably allow you to hit SOS via satellite. You can see my review here.
Gear Hoka Speedgoat 5
HOKA Speedgoat 5These are a great balance of comfort and performance. The high stack height leaves my feet feeling great after a hike.

Check out the complete list here.

Escondido Falls Trail Maps

Click Here To View

Use This Map:
View in CalTopo | PDF Map | GPX File

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

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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

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From the top of the parking area, head up Winding Way.road.
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There's a dirt trail alongside of the road.
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In a short while you'll cross over Winding Way.
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The trail markers on the other side of the street.
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Keep hiking up the road, avoiding any driveways or roads going off of Winding Way (they're private property).
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As you pass the fancy homes, you'll start to get nice views of the Pacific Ocean.
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At the top of the hill, keep hiking down the road.
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You'll see a sign for the park at the top of the hill, but the trail starts further down the hill.
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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.

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Now you're on the trail proper. There's a little downhill before you start up the hidden canyon to the falls.
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As you go downhill, look off to the left. The lush canyon (Escondido Canyon) is where you'll be hiking.
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At the bottom of the climb, make the hard left.
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You'll see a trail sign after you make the hard turn. We'll be heading upstream along Escondido Canyon Creek.
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The trail is easy to follow as it goes up the canyon.
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You'll do about 4 easy creek crossings as you hike.
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There's a small side trail off to the left by this big oak. Keep hiking straight upstream.
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When the trail comes to a t-junction, make the left.
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Look up in front of you to the right. If there's water flowing, you can see the upper falls here.
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And soon you'll come to the shaded area at Escondido Falls.
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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.

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

Need More Info?

  • 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.
  • When planning, always check the park website and social media to make sure the trails are open. Similarly, check the weather and road conditions.

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!). You can stay up to date with my new guides by following me on YouTube, Instagram, or by subscribing to my monthly newsletter.