When researching what to do in Malibu, one thing came up over and over again, hike to Escondido Falls; honestly after spending a day there, I can say without a doubt that Escondido Falls is a great adventure and one I would highly recommend. It is no often that you see a three tiered waterfall, one that gets better and better with each tier you climb to.
Parking for this hike is in the small lot on Winding Road off PCH or simply on PCH itself if the lot is full, as it was for us when we journeyed there. Make sure you select the right Winding Road because there are two, one after another and you can save yourself quite a few u-turns if you get on the right one first. If you are coming from Los Angeles, this seems to be the first one. After you park on PCH you can simply start walking up the road to start your trek to Escondido Falls.
The first mile of this trail winds you around a residential road that showcases many of the imense mansions located in Malibu Hills. There are houses with huge pools, tennis courts, horses and even a batting cage, all with spectacular views of the ocean just outside their window. This part of the trail alone was an interesting trek with lots of eye candy. Once you reach the end of the road you will see a sign that marks the start of the actual trail.
From here you will walk through about a mile and a half of foliage, small river crossings, and beautiful trees. It is a nice leasurly hike that has a good amount of shaded protection almost the entire way. I was a fan of this part of the hike as it is nice to see all of the natural elemetns while being so close to a city still. I do imagine this trail being more intense after it rains as the river crossings would be worse and the trail itself would be muddy. After walking for about 1.5 miles you make it to first falls.
The First Escondido Falls
If all you do is make it to the first falls, the hike is still worth it, but if you are up for an adventure, the third waterfall is really where the beauty is at. The first waterfall for us actually had just a trickle of water and smelled really bad, so we quickly start the trek up to the second and third waterfalls.
Getting to the Second and Third Waterfalls
If you are planning to go to the others be careful, it can be really dangerous after the rain or even during the dry season. The climb is up to the right of the first falls and it is a lot steeper then the climb there. You will also be crossing some narrow ledges and using a rope to pull yourself up past some of the sketchier areas. That being said if you can make it, the trail will reward you.
After most of the intense parts you will reach the second waterfall. This had more water then the first for us, but was only about 15 feet high. Continue on over more rocks and scrambling and you will reach the third falls.
The Main Escondido Falls
The third falls is the real gem here. It is truely one of the best waterfalls in Southern Calfiornia. Not only is it about 150 feet high, but it has a beautiful amount of plant life that lives on the falls and is something that really has to be expeirenced before you can beleive it. We spent every bit of 30 minutes just sitting beneath the falls and taking everythign in, it was amazing.
Make sure you are smart when heading out here. We saw a man being pulled back in a strecher because he fell attempting to get to the upper area. Remember, it is not worth hurting yourself over, so only attempt if you are sure the trail is good.
What about you have you been to this waterfall? Did you like it as much as I did?