Paradise Cove to Point Dume / Escondido Canyon

A two part local hike marking my five year anniversary documenting my time on the trails of Southern California. I started on the beach, Paradise Cove to Point Dume Natural Preserve. And then I took a hike through pretty Escondido Canyon. I had a great day.

Driving Directions for Paradise Cove: Paradise Cove is off of Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. Coming from the north on the 101 Freeway, the nearest canyon road is Kanan Dume Rd.  Take Kanan inland until you reach PCH.  Turn left at PCH for a couple miles.  If you’re coming from the south you can take Las Virgenes/Malibu Canyon if you like  Turn right on PCH for a few miles.  You will  see the tall Paradise Cove sign on the oceanside of PCH. Parking down in the private lot is expensive so I parked along the highway just past the entrance.

Driving Directions for Escondido Canyon:  The Winding Way trailhead for the Escondido Canyon hike is 0.4 miles down PCH on the inland side. Do not park at West Winding Way which comes up before Winding Way. I parked on the road again.

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I made my way down a private road into Paradise Cove.

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Paradise Cove has a short pier on which I took a short stroll.


Looking upcoast to my turnaround spot, Point Dume.


There are few sights more beautiful than those found on a beach/bluff hike.

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I looked at my watch.  It was 6:47 a.m., one minute before low tide. It didn’t look low to me.

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15   Photo 5 – Interesting Japanese-style house and pagoda.

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20   The eastern point which bookends one end of Dume Cove (with Point Dume being on the other end) is where I had to turn back the last I hiked in this area.  The tide was just too high. I made it this time although the tide was still pretty high. I knew there wouldn’t be an opportunity to return along this same stretch of beach and remain dry today.


22     23   Photo 1 – The Sun explodes behind me.  Photo 2 – I came across one whole and several pieces of lobster scattered across the shore.

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26   As I neared Point Dume the beach became quite rocky. The smoother trail hugs the bluff.

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The tide kept on rolling in so I was glad to reach the stairs that would take me to higher ground.  Beyond the stairs I climbed to highpoint.

29     30     31   The Point Dume Natural Preserve is quite small but the views are outstanding – up and down the coast forever.

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37   Photo 1 – Dume Cove in the foreground, and the Santa Monica Bay behind. Point Dume marks one end of the Bay, and the Palos Verdes Peninsula marks the other.  Photo 2 – On zoom – Sandstone Peak, the first trail I photographed all those years ago.  Photo 3 – Looking down, I saw the top of Point Dume’s landmark volcanic cone, that little nub there in the center of the photo.



Panoramic shots, up and down the coast


50   I descended and snaked my way around to the trail that leads to the beach. Here there are are better views of the volcanic cone. Climbers scale the sheer face, as is shown in a video from my last hike here: Point Dume Rock Climber

38     39     41   I ventured back and found a trail that leads on top of the volcanic cone.

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45   The trail was not as extreme as I had imagined, but still this is no place to let the mind wander.  Photo 3 – On top there’s a little concrete seat.  Photos 4 and 5 – Standing on the concrete seat, I admire the drop of approximately 100 feet and notice climbing gear bolted into the rock.


Upcoast from the top of Point Dume’s volcanic cone

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Photo 1 – The trail that leads down to the sand  Photo 2 – The top of Point Dume Preserve

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55   Because the tide was too high to return via the beach, I hiked on neighborhood streets. From the Preserve I went right on Cliffside Dr. in the direction of Paradise Cove.  I then went left on Fernhill Dr. and again left on Wildlife Rd.  This led me back to Pacific Coast Hwy. in about 2 1/2 miles. From here it was a short but not very pleasant jaunt down busy PCH to my car.  Photo 5 – This decorative windmill just off of PCH has been charming passerbys for decades.

56     57     58   I drove less than a half mile down PCH and turned left at East Winding Way (signed simply as Winding Way).  I again parked along the highway. The first 0.8 miles of the trail through Escondido Canyon are alongside a paved road and by several large houses.


Looking down into Escondido Canyon

60     61     62   I reached the well-signed point where the trail leaves the road and heads downhill to the bottom of the canyon.  This part of the hike was nice and shady.  There is a T-junction at the bottom of the hill. I followed the arrow pointing left. I believe the trail heading right leads into Latigo Canyon. There a several more junctions along the way. I followed my nose, sticking to the creek and what looked like the main trail. I think they all connect anyway.

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Soon I spotted the top of Escondido Falls. Truth be known, this hike was supposed to be entitled Paradise Cove to Point Dume – Escondido Falls, but the falls were dry today.

65     66   The trail is swallowed by shade.

69     70     71   Escondido Falls has three tiers. There are sketchy looking trails breaking up to the right. I’ve read these trails are dangerous. I decided there was no reason to take the risk climbing higher if what I was going to find was another dry fall.

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When I reached the end of the trail and the waterfall, what I found was a few droplets dripping from ferns, a lot of bees and a mud pit where a beautiful pool of water was supposed to be. I always seem to mistime my waterfall hikes.

72     73   Heading back now.


75   I’ll be back here in the spring when the falls are flowing.

76     78     77   I wasn’t done quite yet. There are three overlooks on the eastern side of Kanan Dume Road.  I’ve driven past them a million times but never bothered to check them out. Photo 1 – View from Overlook #1 down into Ramirez Canyon.  Photos 2 and 3 – Overlook #2, first up and then down the canyon.

79     80   The final overlook sits just below the first tunnels on Kanan. This one has a large parking lot and a few picnic tables.


View from the Overlook #3

82   As I do each year on my hiking anniversary, I took time to reflect on life and lost friends. The five year milestone made me rather sentimental and a bit philosophical. I thought about hiking and it’s positive influence on my life. I am most at peace on the trail. Thank you to the people who cared enough to get me out in the wild.

I also thought about this website, which began as just a place to post cool photos and a little information. Now, for me anyway, it has become something more. In a world that seems addicted to conflict, negativity and drama, I hope to pass on a friendly and positive vibration. Thank you for sharing my journeys.

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