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Newton & Zuma Canyon Falls

Malibu, California

based on 3 reviews



2 miles

Elevation Gain

-600 ft

Route Type



Added by Derek Mathewson

Newton & Zuma Canyon Falls is a few mile hike will take you to 3 amazing lesser known waterfalls in the Santa Monica mountains National Recreational Area. 

Three waterfalls in one short hike?!...I'll take it! That's what you'll get if you make the visit to these falls in the Santa Monica mountains in Malibu. The trailhead starts on Kanan Dume road, which is also where the Backbone trail meets. Park in the designated (free) parking area and take the vegetated downhill trail about .2 miles until you get to an unmarked junction. Take the trail to the left for another .2 miles which will lead you to a vertical 25-foot hidden waterfall. Once making your way down to the base of the falls, soak up the scenery and get a few shots. From here is where the fun begins!

 To see the other two waterfalls, be prepared to rock hop downstream. There's no immediate trail, so your only option is to hike through the water or scramble across the rocks. (Warning: The scramble can be easy or difficult, depending on how intense the flow of the stream is.) Hike your way downstream towards Lower Newton Canyon Falls. You'll know when you've arrived because the end of the stream will take you to a sheer cliff which is the top of Lower Newton falls. From here take the slightly beaten trail to the left and make your way on a steep downhill slope to the base of the 30-foot waterfall. I personally enjoyed this fall a bit more then Upper Newton Falls. The forecast and composition made for great photographs. Another couple hundred feet is where Zuma and Newton creeks join. Stay right for another 5-10 minutes until you get to Zuma Canyon Falls.

Note: I learned my lesson the hard way after being careless hiking through some brush of poison oak, so cover up and be careful! Zuma Falls is only about 23-feet tall, but this was my favorite of the three. So I guess you can say the waterfalls just keep getting better and better!...lol. This has a spectacular setting with the falls dropping over a sandstone ledge and surrounded by large caves. On a warm day, feel free to take a dip in the water! When done, make your way back the way you came.

Have fun and happy trails! 

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Easy Parking
Swimming Hole

Newton & Zuma Canyon Falls Reviews

We went Oct of 2022 and it was totally dry, which was predictable this time of year, but there is also a sign that encourages hikers not to go left at the first unmarked fork in the road. There also doesn't seem to be any way to really get down past that first drop anymore. Was still a really lovely area though, and would probably be even cooler after some rainfall!

How we loved this off beaten path. Derek did a fantastic job with directions, hence we made the trek down with no issues. However, due to season (mid spring) we came across two issues. First, on the decent to the second water fall there was a considerable amount of loose dirt. Thankful for the ropes! Second, we could not reach the third water fall (oh we were so close) due to poison oak. This is perfect for hikers who like to use a bit upper body also love water newts, frogs & blue belly’s. Again, due to Derek’s directions we felt so comfortable on this hike. Knowing where to go is the main battle for me. You will want to photograph the entire time, so grab a lanyard for your cell phone. Now get out and hike!! PS there’s another hike over T1, same parking lot, you will love!!!

You won't see anyone on this 'non existent washed out trail' so you have to rely on the directions of outbound collective.... but we loved every minute of it. We were alone but with nature and that is exactly what we wanted.

Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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