BEST TRAIL THAT INCLUDES WATERFALLS AND ISN'T ON FIRE (2009)

Winding Way

Thanks to the recent mountain inferno, these days you'll find fewer areas to hike. So while Switzer Falls isn't likely to be in great shape, Malibu is not on fire (for now), so gear up! About five miles north of Pepperdine, and just south of Point Dume, is a small road called Winding Way. You have to park just off PCH and trek a good mile on pavement through a residential area before you get into the real nature — but it's worth it. There, the trail weaves back and forth across the creek, eventually leading you to the base of Escondido Falls. The first waterfall is relatively puny (and has been known to have a vile stench), but if you follow the trail to the right, you'll be led to a second, and much more grand, aquatic display. The waterfall is roughly 150 feet tall, with a mossy overhang and a big pool at its base, making it difficult not to be a little awestruck. Some people try to work their way up farther and climb to the top, but it's very dangerous, highly unstable and littered with both fresh and rusty barbed wire. It's not recommended, and is a fairly foolish thing to do ... but does offer one heck of a view.

—Noah Galuten

Location Details

27200 Winding Way Road
Malibu CA 90265