Escondido Falls, the Hidden Gem of the Santa Monica Mountains + Free Download

Escondido Falls

With all the global gallivanting I’ve done, it’s easy to overlook the treasures buried in my own backyard of Los Angeles. This is an easy hike to the highest waterfall in the Santa Monica mountain range, a mere 30 minute drive from my palatial palace ..errr… humble one bedroom apartment.

The hike starts on the pavement along a road that branches off Pacific Coast Highway called Winding Way. After a mile, an obvious trail takes you down into the dense canopy of Escondido Canyon, crossing a creek several times. Lurching oak trees, riparian woodland and coastal sage dominate the scenery. As you approach the base of the lower falls, you can see the water dropping over the lip of the 150 foot upper falls in the distance. The lower falls are about 50 feet high and gush (or trickle, depending on time of year and your perception) over a moss-carpeted wall into a beautiful shallow pool.

This hike takes about 3 hours, with a 400 foot elevation gain.

Directions: from the Santa Monica (10) Freeway westbound, head towards the ocean where the freeway transforms into Pacific Coast Highway. Drive through the town of Malibu past Malibu Canyon Road and Pepperdine University. The parking lot is on Winding Way on the east side of Pacific Coast Highway. Park here and proceed uphill on the trail along the road to the dirt trail beginning at the end of the pavement.

©2013 Excerpt from “L.A. Made Easy: From Iconic to Eclectic” by Terry Braverman, All Rights Reserved

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