This hike offers stunning views of the Malibu coast, striking wildflowers, and interpretive trails designed to educate those who hike them about the local ecology.
From the parking area, hike past the bathroom to the native plant garden before following the Carmichael Road doubletrack through the Oak Grove Picnic Area. You'll then turn left onto the Russell Trail
, which merges at a well-defined junction with Potrero Road
that will then head down the hill, past the western edge of the meadow.
Follow this fire road toward the coast until you reach the Reservoir Trail
and Old Reservoir. From here, follow the path in the down-coast direction and over the top of the tall bluffs to the Ocean Overlook Trail
. This portion of the hike offers great views of the Malibu coastline below.
When you're ready to return inland from the overlook points, head onto the Lower Loop Trail
leading to an oak grove. From here, you can continue onto the East Meadow Trail
as it heads northward. Along the trail you'll learn how the vegetation of Southern California has adapted to the threat of fire over time. The trail will then come across the Botany Trail
, which you can follow back to the Oak Grove Picnic Area and, ultimately, the original parking area.
Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store
Larkspur, mariposa lily, California peony, lupine, paintbrush, and penstemon can all be found in the meadows of Charmlee Wilderness Park, and are particularly colorful in the spring.
Stop by the nature center at the beginning of the hike to learn what is currently blooming and to get a brochure that will interpret the East Meadow Trail
In the early 1800s, this meadow area belonged to Rancho Topanga-Malibu-Sequit and was used to raise cattle. The ranch was owned by numerous individuals over the coming decades, and the last owners were Carmain and Leonard Swartz, whose first names were combined to create the Charmlee name for the area.