Enjoy a mellow hike through King Gillette Ranch that boasts great views of the surrounding area.
To start, hike on the dirt path that leads away from the south side of the area's visitor center. Follow the dirt path until you come across a junction with the paved road. Go right here and cross the bridge that runs over Stokes Creek. Stay to the right once you've crossed over the bridge and hike south along the pond. You'll soon come across a building at the end of the road, stay to the right of it, and you'll meet up with two dirt trails behind the building.
Follow the trail straight in front of you that takes the steep route over the upcoming hill. After winding up the steep path, you'll reach a small turn off that will very briefly take you to Inspiration Point. From here there are amazing views of Malibu Gorge, Gillette Mansion, and the surrounding Santa Monica Mountains. Once you've had your fill of views from Inspiration Point, return to the Inspiration Point Trail
. After heading south for a short amount of time, you'll come across a fork in the path with the Ridge Trail
leading to the south. Stay to the left to avoid the Ridge Trail
and follow the Inspiration Point Trail
as it gradually winds its way down the hill through patches of oak forest.
Once at the bottom of the hill you can explore the south side of the Gillette Mansion before re-connecting with the path you were originally on to pass the pond and return to the visitor center 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
The ranch area that this hike passes through once belonged to King Camp Gillette, of the razor blade company. The mansion on the property was built in the Spanish Colonial Revival style in 1928. The ranch was later bought by Clarence Brown, a movie director, before being bought by the Claretian Order of the Catholic Church, the Church Universal and Triumphant, and Soka University. Finally, in 2007 the ranch became public parkland and it has developed into what you see there today. The visitor center at the beginning of the hike is the National Park Service's first visitor center to be powered entirely by its own energy, making it a "Net Zero" building.