Point Dume Nature Preserve Malibu Beach Day Trip
Point Dume Nature Preserve has one of the best views you will find anywhere along the Southern California coast. On a clear day, you can see the Malibu coast to Santa Monica.
The preserve is 32 acres and has several fenced trails, one leading to the summit of the Point Dume the other to the beach below. Stay on the trail this is a protected area. Keep a close watch on children there are many steep drops to the ocean below.
There is a viewing platform along the boardwalk below the summit where you can sit and enjoy the million-dollar view. The summit trail branches off to another trail which leads you down a steep set of stairs to Dume Cove.
At the end of Point Dume, there is a smaller secluded beach (Pirates Cove.) This is where the final scenes from the original Planet of the Apes movie were filmed.
If you decide to hike down to the beach remember the climb back up is steep. The beach is usually quiet even during the summer due to the remote location. There are some tide pools near the stairway to explore or you can take a walk along the beach and enjoy the spectacular views.
The drive along PCH from Santa Monica takes you past movie star beachfront homes and through the world-famous Malibu Beach. On your journey expect to see exotic cars and huge mansions overlooking the beach.
The trip to the preserve is almost as interesting as the destination. Bring along a camera there is a new photo opportunity at every turn of the road.
Point Dume is at the northernmost point of Santa Monica Bay about 18 miles along Pacific Coast Highway from Santa Monica.
Getting to Point Dume
From Santa Monica follow Pacific Coast Highway 18-miles west to Westward Beach Road. Turn toward the ocean, go past the gate (pay parking fee) to the very end of the road. A trail leads you to the Point Dume Preserve.
Parking Point Dume Nature Preserve
A smaller free parking area is on top of the bluff along Cliffside Drive. There are only about 15 parking spots so it’s a matter of luck if you get one unless you go early in the day.
All the streets are no parking and chances are you will get a ticket if you park on the street. The reserve is surrounded by multi-million dollar estates and the locals do not want visitors parking in front of their homes. The state of California has preserved the best location for all of us to enjoy even if the parking is limited.
Hiking Point Dume
The trail from the bottom parking lot to the top is a little over a half-mile. While not hard, this trail will take you a while simply due to the fantastic vistas that welcome you after every bend in the trail. If you park in the upper area, this trail is like 1/5th of a mile from car to the top.
I would suggest spending a good amount of time here as there is so much to take in. Some of the spotlights include the cliffs that are on the south side of the beach, the coastline view back to Malibu, and the small little deck that is built into the side of the hill (it has to be one of the most beautiful places to see a sunset). There is a lot of beauty to take in here.
Point Dume Beach
The beach has a lot to offer as well. The pristine water and sand are a welcome sight to those familiar with some of the other lesser taken care of Southern California beaches, and the massive cliffs that line the edges make it a must-see. I was told that there are even rock climbing trails on these cliffs that are great for the moderate climbers.
I also spoke with some scuba divers that told me this is one of the best places in Southern California to scuba dive as well. I could see what they meant as the water did look pretty clear. They told me they saw some sea anemones and a lot of random fish.
Being so close to Hollywood and full of such beauty, this is a popular place for the movie industry to film. By far, one of the most famous movies filmed here was the original Planet of the Apes. The climactic ending where he sees the Statue of Liberty and realizes he is still on Earth *spoiler alert if you haven’t seen that movie from 30 years ago yet. Also, Tony Stark’s house in Iron Man was digitally added on the cliffs of Point Dume, and many other movies and shows were filmed here as well.
I cannot stress how much you need to see this area. It is one of the most beautiful places I have seen in Southern California, and I would recommend you add it to the hike to Escondido Falls as that truly is a full day of incredible sights. When I went, it was the wintertime, so it was not too busy, but I imagine you will need to get here early if you want to tackle the summer crowds. Let me know what you think in the comments.
Point Dume Nature Preserve
At the end of Westward Beach Road, access to Point Dume Nature Preserve begins from the cul-de-sac. A gradual ascending trail leads to an ancient coastal bluff sand dune. Visitors are asked to stay on the trail in an effort to help preserve this unique sand accumulation. An incredible view encompassing the entire Santa Monica Bay, north Malibu Coast, inland Santa Monica Mountains and distant Catalina Island may be enjoyed from the top on a clear day. A boardwalk, just below the summit, leads to a viewing platform - it tends to be more sheltered on a windy day.
Some disabled parking is available along Cliffside Drive, adjacent the bluff-top park area. For viewing platform access, negotiating a slight grade will be necessary.
Point Dume State Beach features headlands, cliffs, rocky coves and vast beach access. The beach is presently operated by Los Angeles County, which also operates Zuma County Beach. These facilities are noted for swimming, surfing, scuba diving and fishing. Point Dume is a perfect place to watch for California gray whales during the December to mid April migration period.
Point Dume is a promontory on the coast of Malibu, California that juts out into the Pacific Ocean. The point, a long bluff, forms the northern end of the Santa Monica Bay. Point Dume Natural Area affords a vista of the Palos Verdes Peninsula and Santa Catalina Island. Zuma Beach lies to its immediate northwest.
Directions to Point Dume
Directions: From Santa Monica follow Pacific Coast Highway 18-miles west to Westward Beach Road. Turn toward the ocean then past the fee collection station to the very end of the road.
From the 101-Freeway, exit at Kanan Road, follow it south 12-miles to Pacific Coast Highway, then turn right. Westward Beach Road is on the rise, at the foot of the hill.
Address: Cliffside Dr &, Birdview Ave, Malibu, CA 90265
Management: California Department of Parks and Recreation
Phone: (310) 457-8143
Reference no: 965