Escondido Falls

Things to Do

Malibu

Photograph: Jakob N. Layman

Hiking trails in LA: Escondido Falls

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  • Address:

    Escondido Falls 27200 Winding Way
    Malibu
    Los Angeles

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Pete Xander

Boasting about the size and grandeur of the falls, then photographing it in the summer, after a dry La Nina winter with scant rainfall, does the magnificence of the falls scant justice. Also missing was any mention of the lengthy battle to open the falls officially to the public. For decades, people hiked to and enjoyed the falls, but after the development boom of the 70s and 80s in Malibu, property owners in the areas, including one in particular (known as the "Cocaine King" of Malibu) who would chase hikers off by screaming at them and waving guns at them. Years of effort by the Coastal Commission to require that property owners record easements to allow public access as conditions of approval for developments, as well as an effort by the Attorney General's office to push a prescriptive rights case by documenting decades of use despite the posting of land in the area -- the process known in property law as "adverse possession" -- finally secured the right of access for the public. Things just do not "happen" -- it takes years of effort by dedicated people to fight for public rights of access to such areas, a process begun under English Common Law in the 1100s and continuing today. Credit should have been given where it was duly deserved.