Ever since Drew and I had our first outdoor rock climbing experience at Foster Falls in college (awesome video we made here), we fell in LOVE with it. So, in an attempt to become climbers, we asked for harnesses and climbing shoes from the Clymb for Christmas this past year, step one. Now all we needed to do was find climbing buddies with ropes and lead climbing skills to hang out with and teach us their ways until we feel confident enough to start climbing on our own.
We began our search on this site called MeetUp, a place where people can find other people in their area who have similar interests so they can… meet up! We happened to stumble upon the SoCal Climbing group who was planning their next LA rock climbing trip to Planet of the Apes in Malibu Creek State Park that following weekend, so naturally we signed up right away.
The group met at 10am on Saturday morning at the Grasslands Trailhead, get directions here, on Mulholland Road. Parking along Mulholland is free and recommended, otherwise it’s $12 in the park, though you do have less of a hike to the climbing routes. The hike to Planet of Apes was 2-miles long and absolutely worth it. We actually discovered that Planet of the Apes, the classic TV show, and M.A.S.H. were both filmed here! You can even find remains of the old Planet of the Apes set if search for it. Check out this video that shows you the exact locations used for filming Planet of the Apes in Malibu Creek State Park! Pretty cool.
The Grasslands Trailhead will expose you to full sunlight, as well as some beautiful areas where you will be walking through tunnels of trees, awesome for mountain biking too! Once you begin your trek along this trail, you will continue along until you reach Crags Road. Make a right here and take the High Road until you reach a fork in the path, stay right and veer to the left , you will see a set of port-a-potties in front of you (handy to note). Take a right at the port-a-potties and keep to your left, walking along a shallow river, a great place to picnic or cool off too! In less than 3 minutes you will find yourself at Planet of the Apes! It will be on your right hand side and there will most likely be other climbers there, depending on what time you arrive.
There are plenty of spots to drop ropes from this rock, and the climbing community is really friendly, so don’t be afraid to ask if you can hop on one of their routes. Planet of the Apes has routes for all levels, we were with some expert climbers, climbing 3-4 times a week, and then there was us, climbing about 3-4 times a year, and we were all able to have fun and be challenged as well.
Oh, and bring more water than you think you will need, because you will most likely drink all of it, and the only place to get water is about 8 miles away from the site, yikes! Tip: It’s best to fill your water bottles the night before and put them in the freezer (only use plastic bottles for this), so you will have cold water at least for a portion of the day.
There are also nearby lakes and little rivers that you can jump in to cool off! One even has a 45-foot high dive! Or, if you’re looking for a real treat, grab your picnic basket and head on over to Century Lake.
Less than a mile hike from Planet of the Apes you will find this little oasis under a canopy of trees. There is an overlook wall along the edge of the lake that you can climb or swim to and sit on top of to enjoy your meal. The water is a bit chilly, but you dry off in about 2 minutes making the hike back. Definitely recommended :)
So if you are looking for an incredible spot to hike, climb, picnic, bike, swim, chill, hangout with friends, old and new, this is the place to be! We already can’t wait for our next Meet Up adventure in Malibu Creek SP.