Santa Monica Mountains
Intersection of Corral Canyon & Solstice Canyon Rd
Malibu, CA 90265
Category: Fitness, Recreation, Exploration!
Company: Date, Friends, Visitors, Family, Dogs
Quick-Rec: Bring water, a camera, and your "exploration" hat. Leave the dog at home if you plan on scaling the waterfall.
OTC Tip: Park at the sign and take the scenic trail. On the way in, take any path that heads up. On the way back, pick a different route - mix it up...because you can!
This is a very groomed, "amusement park" sort of hike. Unless you implement your own sense of navigation and climb up and around the ruins and waterfall, the trail is either paved or pounded dirt and the most rugged part of your day will be the lack of cell phone reception.
About a mile or so in, you will pass (note, SKIP) a faux-bridge and come upon the "ruins" neighbored by the beginning portion of the "waterfalls." Fun, cool, creep around and take some pics.
Now, here is where you get to create your own adventure. While most people with kids/strollers/dogs will stop here, you can tighten you laces and cross/crawl/climb/traverse the waterfall as far as you can - and it's worth it, because as far as you keep on going, you will be handsomely rewarded by additional tiers of the falls. Again, pose and snap some pics.
Now, when you decide to go back, I recommend taking a different way than you took going up. You know, mix it up, and do it without worry: as long as you follow the water for the untamed part of the hike, you will inevitably hit a paved road that will take you back and out to your car. Again, this hike is like an amusement park: many attractions, many ways to get to and fro from said spots on the map - and just when you start to wonder if you've "gone the wrong way" - you will take a few more steps and find yourself face-to-face with somewhere familiar.
Most reviews say this hike is around 6 miles. Feh. I'd say 4 is more like what most end up doing, unless you opt to take the trail that was marked as an additional 1.3 mi but was so over-grown we turned around and kept it to the river. Keep it simple, have a blast.