Trail Length : 6.7 Miles
Completion Time : 3.5 hours ( with many stops for photography)
Hiked on : 3/20/2014
I did this trail last week and wanted to share it with everyone. This Hike probably had the most elevation change I have ever done in the Santa Monica Mountains. Roughly 3800 feet +/- over the first 2 and last 2 miles. I decided to bring my dslr camera gear on this hike and that was a bit of a mistake.! Let me clarify. I wanted to see how much more taxing it would be lugging around full size camera gear on a moderately long hike. So I brought my Think Tank belt system with camera holster and lens pouches up to this trail and set off up the mountain. Within the first 15 minutes, I had to stop and take the belt system off.! It was making me feel like I couldn’t even hike up the trail and made me almost want to turn around! Maybe it was because of where the camera holster and lens pouches rested on my hips, but either way, the belt had to be taken off and slung over my shoulders for the remaining 6+ miles. Once the belt was off, it was so much easier to hike up this first steep 2 mile section.
Great Gear for the trails!
I really enjoyed the hike. Very nice views along the entire trail. Some very thin sections on the trail where the trail is closing in a bit by the plants and trees growing in. Nothing that was too bad, but you will come in contact with some brush at points and may want to wear appropriate clothing(more on this later).
I even brought my Gerber Gator Machete jr since I read on another blog that some areas of the trail were really overgrown, but I never had to use it. I still did, just to finally test it out on a small branch that was somewhat in my way and just a few swings of the blade and it was no longer in my way.
The first two miles of this hike are a bit difficult, pretty much all uphill for an elevation gain of about 1450 feet. once you reach the peak and start to descend, its about a 450 foot drop in only .3 miles or so.
here was some big mushroom I found too
Once you get done with the first 2.1 miles, it is pretty much smooth sailing all around Nicholas Flat to the pond and back.
My initial interest in this trail was to get to the pond that is basically the turn around point. Well, there isn’t much pond left……
there was an old busted up kayak on the side which was interesting to see
At least there is a tree shaded wooden bench to sit on atop a wooden platform on the bank of the dried up pond.
you can rest here for a bit and then start walking up the trail to loop back. If you want to climb on some rocks and get a nice view of the ocean(on a clear day) you can take a left around the pond where the little trail sign points towards the right. you basically would be going down the unmarked path. It should be easy to spot and if you check out the google earth map at the bottom of this page, you will not be able to miss it.
My Favorite Hiking shoes to this date.!
Here is the view I got to the ocean on that day, wasn’t the best day for far off views though….
All in all, I would recommend this Hike if it isn’t too far out of the way for you. It was a lot of fun and a very good leg workout. I got to see some nice scenery and get out of the city, which is always welcomed.! Below are some extra shots of the hike….
A few things to point out on this trail.
First off, It will be very easy to pass the trail head if you don’t have a rough idea of where it is. There is only a small trail sign stuck into the ground off the side of the road. I actually passed the trail head by about 20 yards but noticed this pickup truck parked along side the road so I hit the breaks, backed up, and sure enough I saw the tiny trail sign. So keep your eyes peeled once you are about 3 mile up Mulholland from the PCH
Second, no doubt bring water in a hydration pack. This is a fairly long hike and without water you are doomed.! I love the Osprey Syncro 10. I use it on EVERY trail I hike or Bike. with 3 liters capacity, it holds a good amount of water. And it has 3 compartments for items. I have a snake bite kit, a general small first aid kit, maps, small flashlight, snack bars and energy chews, and extra room for a few other things. And this pack has the air frame back so you wont get too hot on sunny days.
I’m sometimes shocked when I see other Hikers out on trails and all they have is a water bottle in their hands.?!
Lastly, check yourself , and your gear after hiking this trail for ticks.! I didn’t see any warnings about ticks for this trail and didn’t think anything of it, until…… 3 days later I get in my car to go to the store and after 10 minutes of driving I felt a little something on my neck. Sure enough I rubbed the spot and thought I felt a piece of lint or something and turns out it was a tick.! The only explanation I can think of is that the little bugger was on my hat or shoulders or gear and when I jumped in my car he must have fallen off onto my head rest or seat back and since I hadn’t driven for a few days he crawled back on me once a body was in the car to latch on to.! So definitely check your clothes, your hair, your gear…
There are other trails too that go off this loop so you could expand this hike farther if you wanted to. You can easily see them on the google earth map below that spring off and around the Nicholas Flat area.
The camera I use
Testing this Google Embedded Viewer… seems to keep disappearing randomly….
Great Gear for the trails!