This hike is an oldie, but a goodie, and it's now back in the rotation after getting dusty on the shelf over the years. The last time the Trailblazers did this hike was Dec., and it was 2 years before that since it was last hiked, so it's time to dust off the cobwebs and tackle this rewarding series of interesting trails with equally interesting names.
The photos and the write-up that follows below are vintage 2014 and vintage Larry, so I'll leave well enough alone and let you enjoy his prodigious panoply of pictures and prose...
This is a gorgeous hike that requires just enough effort to make it interesting. We start at the end of Liberty Canyon Rd. in Calabassas and quickly join the mysterious Phantom Trail. The Phantom rises like a spirit up onto the western ridge of Liberty Canyon and opens up to panoramic views. Most of our elevation gain will be spent getting up to the ridge, then it's a cruise.
Two miles later, we descend to and across Mulholland Highway [taking the Cistern and Lookout trails to Crags Rd. -JP] and into Malibu Creek State park, where we splash down in Century Lake. We'll take our ease in the shade at Century Lake before scooting along Crags Rd. (the well-traveled access road in MCSP) to the aptly-named Grasslands Trail. A short climb later, we'll traverse Mulholland again and skip through grassy fields singing happy songs until we reach the Liberty Canyon Trail, at which point we'll weep openly and gnash our teeth.
Just kidding! Those with the energy will still skip and sing, while the sane ones among us will simply walk out to where our adventure started. This is a loop hike that roughly parallels Las Virgenes Rd.
The journey will be a tad over 8 miles, with about 1525' of elevation gain- 800 of it expended getting up onto the ridge near the beginning of the hike. Some of the trail is covered (overgrown, perhaps), while much of it is open- prepare accordingly. If you favor hiking poles, you'll probably want them on this one.
From 101, exit Liberty Canyon Rd in Calabasas. Take road south (toward the ocean) less than a mile and park near the end of the road.
*Note: Liberty Canyon Rd. appears to make a sharp left, but the road name changes at that point. The trailhead is behind the black metal gate at that sharp turn. You can park along the road leading up to the turn or in the dirt pull-off about 40 yards before the gate.
DISCLAIMER / RELEASE OF LIABILITY
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ BELOW IN ITS ENTIRETY:
The hike host is a volunteer and not responsible for the group. Safety should be a priority for everyone in the group. Please treat this meet-up as hiking with a group of friends. If you become fatigued and unable to continue the hike, it is expected you will advise the hike host of this and return to our starting point on your own. If you are able to proceed, it is expected that you will maintain line of sight with other members of the group at all times and help to promote the group’s safety and fitness goals.
Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you are taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Weekday Trailblazers Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions.
If you choose to sign up for this or any Weekday Trailblazers Meetup event, you are releasing the Weekday Trailblazers Meetup Group and its organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.
No "Plus Ones" on this hike; please have your friends join The Weekday Trailblazers, and register for the event.
All participants must be 18 or older, or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
We now return you to our regularly scheduled narrator:
This is one of my favorite trails in the area, though I usually do it in the reverse direction and start from Mullholland. However, parking there is at a premium and my route would have us finishing with a steep uphill, so this way will be the easiest for vehicles and legs/feet alike. With things drying up after the rains, the views should still be stunning (if brown) and we will see many late flowers poking out amongst the dry grasses. Don't forget ample water and sunblock as much of the trail is open.
**Bring Poles if you favor them, and long pants and/or gaiters are recommended due to foxtails, thistle, and other potential pokey/scratchy things (to use the scientific term.)**
Lunch will be at whatever great place we select from the options our leader and gastronome Steve will offer as recommendations. We can vote, draw straws or arm wrestle for the final decision, but it will be delicious regardless!
In case of emergency, my cell is (310)[masked]