By Christopher Reynolds
LA Times Staff Writer
March 13, 2021
This is a busy but highly satisfactory network of trails. From Cliffside Drive, a slight uphill walk of a few hundred yards brings you to the point’s highest part, a flat-topped hill with a commanding panorama of ocean, beach, and coastal bluffs.
I showed up on a brisk day, ideal for a beach walk, and there were dozens of us on the paths. I can picture some nasty foot traffic in the hour before sunset, but I can’t imagine a better place to stand and scan the sea for gray whales, which are common from February through April.
You get a wide view of Santa Monica Bay from the point’s high ground or the 200-yard boardwalk near the top of the hill. As a plaque notes, Point Dume got its name from English explorer George Vancouver, who sailed by in 1793, attempted to name it for Francisco Dumetz, a Franciscan priest at the Ventura mission, and apparently left out the “TZ.”
Besides savoring the view from up top, hikers usually can take a side trail down to some tide pools. But it was taped off in February, with a crane parked at the site. Rangers say new stairs to the tide pools will be installed by the end of March.
Northwest of the high point, follow the main trail to a rocky promontory that looks down on Pirate’s Cove Beach and a jumble of black rocks and tide pools. To your right, the broad, sandy expanse of Point Dume State Beach reaches northwest and blends into Zuma Beach.
I covered the entire network of paths at the point in about 90 minutes (with plenty of time for photography). If you like, you can add more steps by strolling north up the beach toward Zuma and doubling back later. It’s all flat sand.
Tip: To start at the beach, take Malibu’s Westward Beach Road to Birdview Avenue, then park at Point Dume State Beach. To start atop the bluffs, head for the 29200 block of West Cliffside Drive, where there are 10 two-hour parking spots. If they’re full, continue to Grasswood Avenue, turn left and look for street parking once it’s legal.
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