Best place to cool off on a hot LA day? Our vote goes to Rock Pool in Malibu Creek State Park. A completely natural swimming hole reached via a short and easy trail (2.4 miles round-trip), Rock Pool is perfect for a dip and a splash in a glorious setting.
From the parking area, follow Crags Rd. for about a mile, passing by chaparral-covered hillsides and fields of coastal sage scrub along a mostly exposed access road—hats and sunscreen are a must. The Rock Pool Trail begins on the opposite side of the stream from the visitor center, just across the bridge. From there, it’s an easy 0.2 mile through oak and sycamore woodland. Be sure to look up as you hike—you may catch a glimpse of climbers scaling the rock walls lining the trail.
You’ll hear the sounds of splashing, shouting, and laughter long before you reach the pool. For obvious reasons, Rock Pool is extremely popular on hot summer days! The shore nearest the trail can get very crowded, but with a bit of scrambling, you can find a virtually empty “beach” just across the pool by venturing around to the left. Wearing some sort of water shoes is definitely helpful when navigating those slippery rocks. Though it may look tempting, jumping off the rocks into the pool is not a good idea. The water isn’t deep—but it sure is cool!
Take US-101 to Calabasas, exit at Las Virgenes Rd., and head south 3.7 miles toward Malibu. The park entrance will be on the right. To reach the trailhead, park in the lower parking area near the entrance station, trek to the back corner of the lot (by the restrooms), and cross the street. Entry fee is $12, plus $2 for a park map. No dogs.