Hike to the Malibu Lake Overlook

Cistern Trail

Located in the Santa Monica mountains, this trail leads to a scenic overlook of the Malibu Lake and the surrounding mountains. There are several trails that lead to this overlook, but this route is the longer trail providing scenic views of the Santa Monica mountains.

To get to the trail, use the address 27800 Mulholland Highway, Agoura Hills, CA 91301. This will take you to a dirt pull off right off the Mulholland Highway. At the southern part of the pull off, you'll see a dirt path leading up and away from the road. This is the Cistern Trail Trailhead. You'll follow this trail for around a quarter mile and descend into the valley below. Make sure you apply your bug spray and sunscreen beforehand because the trail alternates between shade and open land very frequently.

Once you reach a T-junction, you'll take a right and follow Lookout Trail. This trail will continue to descend into the valley and along the ridge of the mountains. Follow this trail for a little under 0.5 miles. 

The next turn you want to make is a left after Cage Creek Trail. This trail is named Deer Leg Trail. There will be signs indicating both trails. Once on Deer Leg Trail, you'll begin to ascend into the tree line. After about 0.25 miles, the trail will fork again and you'll want to make the sharp right as it descends back into the tree line. You'll proceed west until you reach a set of picnic tables. The second table will be located at a fork in the trail, at this point you want to take the left path towards Lake Vista Trail.

You'll proceed on Lake Vista Trail for around 0.75 miles until you emerge from the tree line. At this point, you'll be able to get your first view of Lake Malibu. Proceed down Lake Vista Trail for 0.1 mile until it reaches a service road. Make a left on the service road and continue for another 0.1 mile for the best views of the lake.

After taking in the views, return the way you came! 

Pack List

  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Plenty of Water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
Show More
RT Distance 5 Miles
Elevation Gain 350 Feet
Activities Chillin, Photography, Hiking
Skill Level Intermediate
Season Spring, Autumn, Winter
Trail Type Out-and-Back


Leave a Review

Overall rating: 

Pretty spectacular

incredible overview. If you're lazy and you look on a map you can almost drive up to this one. However its a good hike you just need to mind the things living in the undergrowth. Would have stepped on a rattlesnake had I not looked where I was going.

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