MASH trail up in the beautiful Malibu Creek Park

Enjoy the MASH Trail in the Malibu Creek State Park. See the site of the famous TV series and experience the range of flowers and flora as well as the exquisite panoramic views.

This is a relatively easy 4 mile walk that took two hours of walking time, There is an elevation gain of 500ft so not too strenuous. There is still plenty to see at the film location of MASH, which was also used by other movies. However, it’s the beauty of the landscape and the variety of flowers that is probably the main attraction.

Watch the video for a quick overview of the trail.

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The Cistern Trail.

There are two ways up to the site where MASH was filmed. We choose the route from Mulholland Highway and walked the Cistern trail. To see the exact location open the trail map.

The highway is named after the self-taught engineer and one-time ditch digger William Mulholland who brought water from Northern California to Los Angeles. A fictionalized version of that serves as the plot line for the film “Chinatown”.

The first part of the MASH trail
The Cistern Trail & Lookout Trails

Mulholland’s rags to riches story ended in disaster when he pronounced safe the St Francis Dam, burst in 1928 killing over 400 people.

Craggs Road

There is a steep descent down down Craggs Road into the valley.

But the journey is well worth the effort.

You’ll see the reservoir now knows as Century Lake, which is fed by the Malibu Creek.

Century Lake on the MASH trail
Century Lake

On the way you’ll be met by all manner of attractive plants and flowers.

Entering the MASH Site

There are a couple of small obstacles before you enter the site, a boulder and a log crossing

Beyond these the path is narrow but quite lovely and somewhat shady.

The MASH Site

The destination of the MASH trail.

Much of the MASH site was destroyed in fires, but this vehicle was fully restored by the Southern California Militay Vehicle Collectors Club. All outdoor filming for MASH was done here. While it looks quite large on the screen, it is actually a very small area.

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MASH wasn’t the only production done at Century Ranch.  In 1939, it stood in for a fictional Welsh coal mining town based on the real village of Gilfach Goch in the film “How Green Was My Valley“, directed by John Ford and starring Walter Pigeon, Maureen O’Hara, Donald Crisp, Roddy McDowall and Barry Fitzgerald. It was nominated for ten Academy Awards, and won five, for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Black and White Cinematography. If you look carefully at these stills from the movie, you can recognize the same pyramidical hills rising in the background, and in black and white, it is even possible to imagine that they are a deep Welsh green, and not brownish scrub.

Back along the trail

More examples of interesting plants are all around.

This California Redwood is native to the state but was probably planted here many years ago, as its native range is along the coast 200+ miles to the north.

The Redwood survived the wildfires that raced through the area a year ago with only minor damage. The tree’s interior is protected by a thick layer of fire-resistant bark.

Can you identify the plant below? If so please leave a comment at the end of the blog.

An unknown plant on the MASH trail
Unknown plant

Panoramic views

The route is full of great views of the mountains.

A beautiful view on the MASH trail

What Next?

If you enjoyed the MASH trail then you can find more great walks at Find a walk USA.

Do you have a favourite walk? We are always looking for new walks that everyone can enjoy. Please go to Share your walk and find out how to add your favourite route to the web site.

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