Ready to kickoff the planning for your visit to Malibu Creek State Park in an easy, accessible way? That’s what our Malibu Creek State Park camping guide is here for! With all the necessary info right here at your fingertips, you’ll arrive prepared for a fantastic camping adventure at one of southern California’s best parks! Let’s take a closer look!
What to Expect At Malibu Creek State Park
Located just 25 miles from downtown Los Angeles along the 15-mile Malibu Creek watercourse, Malibu Creek State Park is a great retreat from the bustle of city life, offering hiking, fishing, mountain biking, horseback riding, and more! Here among the Conejo Volcanics, in a park made famous for the on-location filming of hit TV show M*A*S*H, campers will find fantastic natural beauty and comfortably-rustic accommodations with some of the best views southern California has to offer.
The Complete Guide to Malibu Creek State Park Camping
Best Camping Spots
The Malibu Creek State Park campground is located in Malibu Canyon, roughly 6 miles north of Highway 1 near Malibu Lagoon and 3½ miles south of Highway 101. The general campground loop offers 56 individual sites, 26 of which are tents-only; the other 30 can accommodate RVs, trailers, or tents. Each campsite can host up to 8 people including children. Amenities at individual campsites include a picnic table, food locker, grill, and fire ring; the campground has flush toilets, tap water, laundry, and an amphitheater on-site, with showers accessible via shower tokens (Note: These tokens can be purchased ONLY using $1 bills. No change is available at this time). The cost to rent these sites is $45 nightly in addition to the reservation fee. (Note: Reservations are non-specific, so campers will be assigned a campsite upon arrival.)
For groups, Malibu Creek offers a group campsite which can accommodate between 9 to 60 people, and up to 30 vehicles (Note: reservation covers the first 12 vehicles only. Subsequent vehicles will be charged a nightly fee and are required to park in the Day Use Lot). This is a walk-in, tents- only campground with a nightly fee of $225.
Reservations are available throughout the open season and can be made up to 6 months in advance of your arrival date by visiting this website or calling (800) 444-PARK (7275) between 8 AM and 6 PM.
Things To Do At The Park
There’s no shortage of recreation to be had during your Malibu Creek State Park camping adventure! Among the most popular pastimes are hiking along the Malibu Creek—especially after a rain—and experiencing the infamous M*A*S*H trail, as well as biking and horseback riding through the scenic backcountry trails. Wildlife enthusiasts and birdwatchers in particular are likely to enjoy these excursions, as they are often resplendent with glimpses of the local animal inhabitants.
In and around the Rock Pool, climbers can test their mettle with climbs from 5.8 to 5.10c—including some climbs out over the water, and one at the infamous Planet of the Apes Wall, where certain scenes from the beloved franchise were filmed.
If you prefer to relax and cool off beside the water, the park also offers swimming, boating, and kayaking opportunities.
(Note: While dogs are allowed in the parking lot and campground, they are not permitted on any of the trails).
With a particular mind toward preservation, Malibu Creek State Park hosts and protects an abundance of classic California wildlife, including raccoons, foxes, bobcats, mountain lions, black bears, snakes, and many indigenous birds. These can be seen during hiking, biking, and horseback excursions, or on guided tours provided by the park.
Many of these creatures are more active in the early day and at sunset; however, campers are encouraged to do their research and learn to identify venomous snakes who frequent this area, as well as to practice safety in avoiding and managing any up-close encounters with the wildlife native to the park.
Vegetation / Geography
Boasting over 8,000 acres of scenic backcountry, Malibu Creek State Park is resplendent with streamside oak and sycamore woodlands, lofty spires of stony peaks, breathtaking vistas, tallgrass hills, steep slopes flocked with chaparral, and even a volcanic swimming hole! The vegetation and geography in this park are among its finest features, a truly picturesque experience for campers as they hike, bike, and ride through the miles of trails and experience all this park has to offer!
Make Sure To Bring
To make the most of your Malibu Creek State Park camping experience, you’ll want to come prepared! Make sure all camping gear—including first aid kits, food storage, tents, campers, etc.—is in good repair and fully stocked. You may also bring a generator for your campsite, which is allowed for limited use between 10am-8pm daily.
Be sure to bring appropriate footwear and supplies if you’re planning to hike, including plenty of water, insect repellant, and if possible, a handheld compass, as cell service within the park can by spotty to nonexistent. If you are horseback riding, biking, or OHV-riding, please bring appropriate safety gear including a helmet. For boating and swimming, make sure to pack appropriate swimwear, sunscreen, and life preserves.
Standard park entrance fees of $12 apply. Campers in the regular campground will be charged their initial reservation fee and an additional $45/night. Group campers will be charged $225/night.
Holding an average 4.5 out of 5 rating, this park is well-reviewed for its scenic beauty and cleanliness, filling up its sites quickly and leaving many campers satisfied with their experience. Most claim that it’s well worth the cost for what the park and campground have to offer in terms of upkeep and recreation.
Some campers have remarked that the general setting, layout, and recreational opportunities afforded by the campground and park are more geared for younger campers, with less comfort for older campers; there are also some complaints about the nearness to downtown Los Angeles being a detriment and occasionally inviting unsavory characters. However, this has not detracted from the park’s overall high ranking, as most still agree this is a fantastic getaway for individual and family campers!
Wrapping Up The Malibu Creek State Park Camping Guide
We hope our Malibu Creek State Park camping guide has left you stoked and feeling prepared for your big adventure! Let us know what you’re most excited about experiencing at this gorgeous state park!
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Renee Dugan is a lifelong writer, professional editor, and lover of the great outdoors.
A Midwest girl born and raised, Renee has always enjoyed the deep, life-giving inspiration that connection with nature brings.
In addition to channeling the awe of outdoor life into her prolific novel-writing career, she currently enjoys sharing it with her son and spreading knowledge of safe, fun outdoor life with Beyond the Tent readers and anyone she can help face-to-face.
Renee can be reached at email@example.com