Past Meetup

Saturday: Cold Creek Preserve - Big Loop

This Meetup is past

23 people went

Location image of event venue


As far as I know, we are the only group that does this loop.

The Cold Creek Preserve protects the headwaters of Cold Creek, one of the few year-round streams in the Santa Monica Mountains. The extravagant lushness of the riparian vegetation growing in Cold Creek Canyon Preserve today is astonishing. In spite of the 1993 Malibu fire that burned virtually everything to a crisp, the gully-washing rains from the 1998 El Nino with its floods and mudslides, and recent earthquakes, the preserve has recovered.

The Cold Creek Watershed is best described as a bowl, albeit with one side missing, made up of steep slopes, high ridges, and incredible rock formations. Nestled steeply behind Saddle Peak (El. 2805’), its north-facing slopes are cool and shady. The headwaters of Cold Creek spring out of the ground year-round providing a reliable source of cool, fresh water for the animal populations. During winter months you will see swarms of ladybugs wintering-over en masse waiting for the first warm winds of spring to disperse them to their feeding and egg-laying grounds. Spring comes late to north-facing slopes and there is often a fascinating display of flowers blooming well into October.

We'll do this strenuous 8.5-mile loop around and through the preserve in a counterclockwise direction. There is a net elevation gain of about 1400 ft -- most of it during the middle third of hike.

Photos from previous hikes:

A portion of the hike requires a permit and the combination to a locked gate. I have both.

There will be an opportunity for a little rock climbing at our rest/snack spot, for those that are so inclined.

Highlights include an old dodge truck hastily abandoned during a 1973 fire, the Weeping Rock, the Fern Grotto, and the " Boulder House" built from a huge sandstone boulder in early 1900s by German homesteader Herman Hethke. Hethke was a goldminer and hermit who grew lettuce by the creek and hauled it down to the Calabasas stage stop. A few remnant celery plants remain.

Optional post-hike lunch will be at Sagebrush Cantina (

Directions to Stunt High Trailhead:

This is the same trailhead we use for Saddle Peak and Calabasas Peak.

From the 405 on 101 Freeway... Exit Mulholland Dr /Valley Circle Blvd and go south on Mulholland Dr 0.5 mi Turn Right on Valmar St 1.2 mi Turn right on Mulholland Hwy 3.8 mi Left on Stunt Rd 1.0 mi Park at turnout on right

From the 101 Freeway WEST of Calabasas... 101 East, exit on Las Virgenes Road and head south for 3 miles to Mulholland Highway. Turn left and continue 4 miles to Stunt Road. Turn right and drive one mile to the pullout on the right.

Bring 2 Qt water, lugsoles, snacks, sunscreen, camera, snacks.

Note: Some of our hike will be on unmanaged trails. Previous rains and subsequent foliage growth may have altered trail.