Malibu Creek is home to one of the most famous sections of trail in the Santa Monica mountains, the four mile, 2,000' climb up Bulldog (actually a fireroad). The loop up to the ridge and back is roughly 14 miles and over 3,200' of gain.
1 Starting out on the valley floor with a long climb ahead. The plan is to take the same roughly 14 mile route as the Malibu Creek Xterra race.
2 Looking up at the ridge. Hard to believe I'll be up there soon.
3 Some nice scenery along the valley floor.
4 Some great terrain in this area. I just wish there was more singletrack.
5 One of the few sections of singletrack on this route.
6 Still water in Malibu Creek.
7 Crossing Malibu Creek.
8 I wish it was like this the whole way!
9 Running along a dry creek bed.
10 About as technical as it gets on this trail.
11 Malibu Creek is where the MAS*H TV show was filmed in the 70s. There's a small historic site here with remains of some of the vehicles used on the original set.
12 Signage showing the cast and crew at this exact spot almost 40 years ago.
13 Ready to head up the (in)famous Bulldog Road. Over 2,000' of gain in just over four miles. Four contiguous 500' miles on a hot day here can be pretty brutal.
14 Almost the whole climb is spent staring up at the ridge getting ever so slowly closer.
15 Getting closer.
16 The towers that were once tiny are now at-hand. Over halfway up to the ridge.
17 Great views of the valley below on a clear day.
18 You can see Malibu Lake in the distance.
19 The climb seems neverending, but the ridge is in sight.
20 Made it to the ridge. Level ground at last!
21 The rocky area along the ridge is one of the best sections of trail.
22 Single track running through some cool rock formations. Much better than the fireroad.
23 The Yuccas are blooming.
24 Hikers hanging out on the rocks.
25 Up and over the rocks before getting back onto the fireroad.
26 Either aliens have arrived or someone clearly has too much time on their hands.
27 Panoramic view from the ridge looking West towards the ocean. It can be a great ocean view on a clear day.
28 Another distant ocean view from the ridge.
29 Heading back down, you can see the road winding all the way to the ocean.
30 Nice terrain in this area.
31 Mostly fireroad on the way down, but occasionally some wide singletrack.
32 Now on the opposite side of the peak.
33 All the way back down to the Piuma campgrounds.
34 There's some nice trail in this area. One last climb and then back to the trailhead.
35 Here is a series of pictures from another trip around the Bulldog loop a few years later in (finally!) a wet year.
36 Water was flowing fast in Malibu Creek.
37 The new bridge built after the last big rainy year is partially destroyed again. The water is just below bridge level. A little bit higher, and this probably would have been the end of my day.
38 Hard to tell here, but the water is moving fast.
39 The railing is totally knocked out on the other side.
40 The section of single track before you get to the MASH site was a complete bog. You had to go around it where possible and through it where necessary.
41 It made for beautiful trail though. I live for these kind of days!
42 Finally to Bulldog.
43 There were sections of mudslide that looked like solid footing, but were really just caked-over water nearly knee deep. My shoes were heavy, wet and muddy the rest of the way.
44 A look back down the valley from the ridge.
45 The rock formation area at the top.
46 Beautiful ocean views.
47 Heading back down now.
48 Late afternoon sun and nearly to the end of a tough, wet, 14 mile, 3,000' gain day at Malibu Creek.