The Ray Miller Trail is a beautiful ocean-view hike located in Malibu’s La Jolla Canyon. It’s a great blend of coastal and mountain views, the perfect mix of SoCal’s beauty.
Ever since the Thomas Fire destroyed many hiking areas in Ventura County, this hike has been my go to. I’ve brought friends here, gone solo, and enjoyed each trip. It’s perfect for those who can’t decide between a coastal or mountain view, since you don’t need to choose. You get both!
La Jolla Canyon, Malibu
Once you’re on the Pacific Coast Hwy 1, you can turn into the canyon and find a group campsite to the right and a parking lot straight ahead. This Ray Miller trailhead is right across from the parking lot (to the right of the yellow gate that blocks the now-closed segment of the canyon). Heads up: there is a fee to park inside. I typically park just outside the entrance, on the road shoulder. It’s a super short walk in.
This trail connects to many of the surrounding mountain peaks in the area. But this blog post will just describe the initial 2.7 miles of the trail that meets the Overlook Fire Road. So a total of 5.4 miles there and back. This trail is one of my favorites in the Oxnard-Malibu area. It’s easy enough to be a casual day hike but still gives you that accomplished-workout feeling. The trail is thin, and often near the cliff-side, so know that you won’t be able to walk side-by-side your group.
The trail itself initially follows the canyon east away from the ocean. This part can get pretty stuffy on a hot day since you’re removed from the ocean breeze. It quickly brings you back toward the ocean at a gradual incline. There’s a great lookout spot where the trail makes a U-turn. This part gives you an awesome view of the Pacific Coast Highway against the backdrop of the ocean. I’ve watched the sunset here, and needless to say, it’s incredible.
The next portion of the trail continues the gradual incline deeper into the canyon until it yet again brings you back to the ocean parallel to the highway. After another peak, you’ll start a slight decline that brings you to meet the fire road. I know many people continue on to other trails here but this was my turn-around point. There’s a peace sign made out of rocks and a sign that directs you back to the parking lot. You can also see the mountains of Malibu Creek State Park from here.
There are a couple other trails in this canyon but some have been closed for restoration. The big sign by the parking lot that has a map shows these closures. Again, don’t be concerned when you see the yellow gate that says “area closed” since this hike starts to the right of the closed area.
Check out another great Malibu hike here: Solstice Canyon Hike
Have you done this hike? If so, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below! Also, feel free to share your favorite hike in Malibu.