Malibu Creek State Park — Bulldog 25K Loop
No Name 5030 Training
Yesterday, I ran the Bulldog 25K loop through Malibu Creek State Park with my best friend, girlfriend, and training partner, Daisy Martinez.
We began at approximately 8:30 AM after having a very fueling breakfast which consisted of a PB&J with banana, some potato chips, a rice roll and plenty of water.
I’ll start off by saying that this is a very hard loop, which makes it infamous amongst Southern California trail runners for the challenge it poses. Complete the loop twice and you’ll have completed the Bulldog 50K course.
Starting off, Daisy and I saw quite a lot of people already on the trails making their way to the very famous M*A*S*H site and other attractions.
The first 3 miles of the route are what I consider the warm up. They are mostly flat, with gentle rollers with the exception of the incline at mile 1.
At approximately 2.4 miles (more or less) you reach the M*A*S*H site, where the show was filmed. This is a huge tourist attraction, and one of the main reasons people visit the park.
At 3 miles, you reach Bulldog Road. This is where the “fun” starts. Get your climbing legs ready!
For the next 3.4 miles, you climb steep, but luckily non-technical terrain. Bulldog Rd is very physically challenging, but it is very run-able through many of its rolling hills.
6.4 miles later we finally reached Castro Peak!
We decided not to spend too much time at Castro Peak after refueling, and quickly got back on the trail!
After leaving Castro Peak, we made our way back down the trail for about a mile to Mesa Peak. This mile of downhill is very fun!
There is lots of climbing still to be done from Mesa Peak to mile 10, but once you reach mile 10 you’re rewarded with fast downhill! In the past I’ve been able to run 7 minute splits from mile 10 to 12.
At mile 12, you’ll reach the Backbone Trail connector which comes up on the right. It’s a narrow single track that’s easy to miss if you’re not paying attention! You’ll do a little bit of climbing to get this view of the park.
At mile 13, you’ll reach Tapia Park and hop on the Tapia Sur trail which will lead you back into Malibu Creek. You have two miles to go, but these two miles are very demanding. For elite trail runners, this is where races are either won or lost. The last climb through Tapia Park seems to be never ending, and is my least favorite part of the loop, but power through it and finish strong.
When you reach mile 14, the Tapia Sur trail will finally start guiding you back down into Malibu Creek. If you’ve made it this far, dig deep and pull out the strength to run it in! You’ll feel incredibly accomplished that you did!
Notes regarding the run:
- Nutrition is key! Make sure that you have plenty of easily digestible calories to take in throughout the run. You’ll need the energy that these calories will provide you!
- Hydration is also key! Make sure to pack plenty of water and electrolytes to last you the duration of the run. I always pack more water than I think I need, and take Salt Sticks every 3–4 miles.
- Wear plenty of sunscreen or breathable layers to protect your skin. The trail is mostly shadeless as with most trails in the Santa Monica Mountains.
- Remain patient and self motivated. The loop is hard but very fun, and offers some of the best views in the LA area. Remind yourself that you are strong, and keep moving forward!
Snapshot of the route as shown on the RunGo app.
Snapshot of the description and elevation chart from the RunGo app. 12 miles is the distance away from my home to the trailhead, the distance will vary depending on where you are located.
Thanks for reading! Now go out and tackle this trail!