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The Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) is committed to providing maximum public coastal access to the spectacular Malibu coastline where the Santa Monica Mountains meet the Pacific Ocean. In partnership with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the MRCA manages a robust Coastal Access Program within the City of Malibu that includes 12 Malibu beach accessways and two coastal overlooks along various Malibu beaches, as well as Lechuza Beach, Escondido Beach and Carbon-La Costa Beach. MRCA stewardship of its accessways and beaches includes daily Ranger patrols and daily trash pick-up and inspection service at all locations, including twice daily service at Lechuza Beach from Memorial Day to Labor Day. The MRCA is also planning for the development of several other beach accessways to be opened in the future. For more information about Malibu beach access locations please visit: https://www.coastal.ca.gov/YourCoast/#/map OR download “Our Malibu Beaches” for free on the App Store or Google Play.

 Last Updated April 17, 2024

Ocean Water Quality Advisory is in Effect until 4:00 PM on April 17th at Multiple Beaches

Additional Information on Beach Accessways:

  • The Penelope, Cole, and Ava PCH Undercrossing at Escondido Creek Beach – Access here is always subject to tidal action. Do not use this access during Los Angeles County flash flood warnings and other emergency warnings due to increased creek flow.
  • See below for Accessway closures due to the past storms. 

MRCA Beach Accessways


Los Angeles County Department of Public Health cautions residents to avoid swimming, surfing, and playing in ocean waters at multiple beaches due to bacterial levels exceeding health standards when last tested. See all affected beaches mapped here.


Maritime Rocks (Big Rock Beach); between 20516 & 20466 Pacific Coast Highway

Miramar Coastal Overlook (Las Tunas Beach); between 19620 & 19562 Pacific Coast Highway 

Dolphin View Coastal Overlook (Big Rock Beach); between 19812 & 19768 Pacific Coast Highway 

Carbon Beach East (Carbon Beach); 22126 Pacific Coast Highway Beach accessway is now OPEN, but the ramp at the site is unavailable and should not be used until the beach profile meets the base of the ramp.   

Carbon Beach West (Carbon Beach); 22500 Pacific Coast Highway Beach accessway is now OPEN, please use the newly installed ramp to safely access the low beach profile. 

Malibu Pier (Carbon Beach); 23000 Pacific Coast Highway

Malibu Road East Access (Amarillo Beach); 24038 Malibu Road

Escondido Creek Beach; 27148 Pacific Coast Highway

Hidden Beach (Geoffrey’s Restaurant); 27400 Pacific Coast Highway 

Cliffside (Escondido Beach); 27420-27428 Pacific Coast Highway  

Latigo Beach; 26500 Latigo Shore Drive 

Lechuza Beach at East Sea Level Drive; 31544 Broad Beach Road 

Lechuza Beach at Bunnie Lane Entrance; 31736 & 31712 Broad Beach Road (pictured above – MRCA staff photo) 

Lechuza Beach at the intersection of West Sea Level Drive and Broad Beach Road (continue south on West Sea Level Drive once through the pedestrian gate)


Maritime Rocks Beach Access 

Located between 20516 & 20466 Pacific Coast Highway, this beach public access site is now open! New public beach access improvements include an ADA accessible viewing platform with bench, stairway to the beach, view permeable gate and fencing, and decomposed granite footpath along the highway shoulder. 


MRCA Stewardship Operations at Carbon – La Costa Beach:

MRCA Rangers and Site Operations staff patrol and maintain this beach and roadside DAILY.

Carbon-La Costa Beach

21704-21714 Pacific Coast Highway

*The MRCA is currently in the preliminary design and engineering phase for a proposed staircase to address the change in grade from the gate on PCH down to the sandy beach and plans to apply for a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) with the City of Malibu for that improvement project.

Dismissal and Settlement of Malibu Residents’ Carbon La Costa Action, 06/20/2022

Judge Denies Malibu Residents Preliminary Injunction Requiring Re-Fencing of Public Beach 11/30/2021

CA Coastal Commission Letter to SMMC 07/28/21

Carbon-La Costa Unpermitted Fence Removal Fact Sheet

SMMC Response to Public Comment @ SCC 5/27/21

SMMC Correction to The Malibu Times and Mayor Grisanti

SMMC Presentation to CA Coastal Commission 05/12/21

SMMC Presentation to CA Coastal Commission 06/09/21

Presentation to SMMC Board 07/19/21

Penelope, Cole, and Ava PCH Undercrossing (Escondido Creek Beach) 

The Penelope, Cole, and Ava PCH Undercrossing at Escondido Creek Beach – Access here is always subject to tidal action. Do not use this access during Los Angeles County flash flood warnings and other emergency warnings due to increased creek flow.

West of the intersection of Via Escondido Drive and Pacific Coast Highway

Driftwood – A Quiet Habitat

Unsightly debris to some, driftwood is an unassuming and vital part of the beach ecosystem. Periodically, and especially after a winter storm, wood of all sorts washes up on beaches all over the world. Driftwood may travel long journeys over the vast ocean. For example, “logs from the Pacific Northwest once made up the majority of wood washing ashore in the Hawai’ian Islands.” Brian Payton. “How Driftwood Reshapes Ecosystems.” Smithsonian Magazine republishing Hakai Magazine, February 9, 2018. How Driftwood Reshapes Ecosystems | Science| Smithsonian Magazine.

This tangle of branches, sticks, and tree trunks quietly hosts habitats, spreads seeds, and nourishes beaches. Its stay on the beach is a temporary one during its journey from inland through rivers, streams and even windy storms to the ocean. “Driftwood makes an enormous if underappreciated contribution to the food web connecting the forests and the sea.” Payton, Driftwood Reshapes Organisms. When trees and branches first fall, their organic matter supplies nutrients to organisms populating the streams and rivers which carry the wood to the ocean. Organisms attach to the wood from the water and live out life cycles. Once in the ocean, driftwood picks up more organisms and this living raft washes ashore to a sandy beach.

The collection of driftwood ashore provides a variety of purposes dependent on the beach it has landed on. It may serve as a stabilizer for sand dunes, providing a protective buffer from wave action for the dunes and plants. Insects, larvae, arthropods, and others make driftwood their home using it for shade, nutrients, and protection. Shorebirds will feed on these small animals and utilize driftwood for camouflage and nesting material.

Driftwood carries seeds and deposits them on beaches where its presence creates shade, dampness, and wind protection. These seeds flourish in this tiny temporary nursery.  CBC News. “Don’t Disturb Natural Habitats When You Hit the Beach This Weekend, B.C. Naturalist Urges.” April 24, 2021. Don’t disturb natural habitats when you hit the beach this weekend, B.C. naturalist urges | CBC News

Eventually, the waves claim the driftwood back into the ocean where the wood will sink and provide a habitat for fish, invertebrates, and other sea creatures to live, hide, and hunt for food until the wood decomposes into nutrients.

Cleaning up the beach by removing driftwood causes more harm than good and is why managed beaches leave the driftwood in place, recognizing its place in an important ecological cycle of life.


Coastal Planning Project Manager


MRCA-Managed Parks in the Coastal Zone

For more than 25 years, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) and its partners the Santa Monica Mountains ConservancyLos Angeles County California State Parks, California Coastal Commission, State Coastal Conservancy, National Park Service and non-profit and community-based organizations,  cooperatively work to provide maximum public access to beaches, coastal trails and coastal resources along the 21-mile Malibu coast and the public trail networks and parklands within the 156,000-acre Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. 

View Map of MRCA’s Coastal Zone Parks and Projects

MRCA’s Coastal Access Program complements the MRCA’s park, natural resource habitat protection, and the LA River programs. In addition to beach accessways, the MRCA’s Coastal Access Program includes coastal parks and trailheads across 27,000 acres of open space in the coastal zone that extend from Malibu’s beaches inland to King Gillette Ranch The Coastal Access Program also includes planning and development of future beach accessways, parks, and trails, such as the long-envisioned 73-mile Coastal Slope Trail, a part of the statewide California Coastal Trail.

Upper Escondido Canyon – Murphy Way Coastal Overlook

Most recently, MRCA acquired 88 acres of beautiful open space with spectacular views that include the tallest waterfall in the Santa Monica Mountains, Escondido Falls. Come see your newest addition to Escondido Canyon Park and enjoy a lovely day discovering all the public trails that take you from the Santa Monica Mountains to Escondido Beach. You can see the lower falls from the Edward Albert trail off of Winding Way. To safely view the middle and upper falls from the newly-acquired parcels, please use the hiking and equestrian trail over Murphy Way that offers spectacular views of the coast and the middle and upper falls.

We need your cooperation! Please enjoy the views of the falls but do not climb to the falls to preserve the fragile habitat and avoid the risk of serious injuries.

Map: Coastal Public Access Program – Escondido Canyon Park

Map: Escondido Canyon Park to Escondido Beach


Current MRCA parks in the coastal zone include:

Temescal Gateway Park

Tuna Canyon Park

Cameron Nature Preserve at Puerco Canyon

Corral Canyon Park – Sara Wan Trailhead

Escondido Canyon Park

King Gillette Ranch

Red Rock Canyon Park

Lechuza Beach

Malibu Road Beach Access

Seminole Overlook


Ramirez Canyon Coastal Vista & Trailhead

In May 2020, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) acquired 24-acres referred to as the Ramirez Canyon Coastal Vista & Trailhead. The park is currently closed to the public. The existing approx. one-mile loop trail and proposed trailhead amenities are not yet open and awaiting permit approval.

Contact Us

Elena Eger
310.589.3230  ext. 136