BETA PHOTO: The Echo Cliffs
This is a good sport crag in a beautiful location. The crag includes over 100 bolted routes on volcanic tuff.
Guidebooks: Louie Anderson, "Sport Climbing in the Santa Monicas," 2003.
Steve Edwards, "Rock Climbing Santa Barbara and Ventura," 2000.
From Highway 101 take the Westlake Boulevard exit and head south on Westlake (California 23). After roughly 7 miles turn right (west) on Mulholland Highway. After half a mile turn right on Little Sycamore Canyon Road, which becomes Yerba Buena Road. After 4 miles park in dirt pullouts on either side of the road. The trail starts from parking lot on the right (west) side of road.
The hike in takes about 45 minutes. Take the Mishe Mokwa trail for about 30 minutes. The trail intersects dry stream bed on right; several logs are piled on the stream bed here to indicate that it is not the regular hiking train. Follow the stream bed down to the climbs.
Browse More Classics in Echo Cliffs
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Echo Cliffs:
Featured Route For Echo Cliffs
BETA PHOTO: Echo Cliffs, as seen from the Mishe Mokwa trail. T...
BETA PHOTO: Left end of Echo Cliffs, with some climbs on the L...
A view of Echo Cliffs (with Balanced Rock looming ...
Looking down Annihilator, 5.11d. The chalked hold...
It is a long way from The Grotto over to the Kamik...
After the ladder, go through a narrow tunnel to en...
The hanging draw garden of the Kamikaze Cave.
Climbers at Echo Cliffs
Echo Cliffs, with climbers visible on Easy Street
BETA PHOTO: After the ladder, the trail leading up to the tunn...
Balanced Rock. Just one more earthquake...
Looking down the valley to the northeast? from the...
Views from the Wasteland
Looking down the ladder - now that's an approach!
BETA PHOTO: From the main trail, head down the steep gully. W...
Humboldt Lily, photographed along the trail to Ech...
Looking down the re-bar ladder, en route to Easy S...
kamakazie cave 12d
Nearing the end of another fine day of climbing at...
The streambed of Carlyle Canyon, in the Grotto, at...
The approach slabs to the Grotto in the rainy seas...
A busy afternoon on the upper tier. Climber is Co...
VCSAR Copter at Echo - Be careful out there.
Local climbers collaborate with NPS rangers to cle...
Litter recently gathered from the base of Echo Cli...
BETA PHOTO: Echo Cliffs from the Mishe Mokwa approach trail.
Dudleya pulverulenta, or chalk lettuce, photograph...
A really busy day at the parking area for Echo Cli...
Ventura County Search & Rescue buzzing the "White ...
On the road to Echo Cliffs. Turn right and up the ...
From: Sacramento, CA
Dec 15, 2006
The trailhead is about a 30-minute drive from Westlake Village. Click on the "Aerial Photo" link above for directions.
|By Lizzy Trower|
From: Stanford, CA
Sep 26, 2007
You can also reach the trailhead by driving west/north on the PCH from Santa Monica and turning right on Yerba Buena road (at Neptune's Net restaurant) and following that up to the trailhead.
|By Ryan Kelly|
Nov 4, 2007
I don't think the description gives fair mention of the amount of choss you'll find here. There's some fun climbing for sure, but there's enough bad rock to warrant mentioning while describing the place. Just something to keep in mind; you'll have more fun if you know what you're in for. Take your helmet, not so much for the actually climbing, but while hanging out at the base.
|By Rob Chaney|
Mar 1, 2009
The beta photo on this page of easy street and the far side dose not match the guide book Sport Climbing in the Santa Monicas. I climbed these climbs on 2/28/2009 and the guide book seems to be accurate. Climb #4 is not Golden Years, it is the Sperpent 10A and #5 is not Dirty Deeds it is Watermark 5.9.Golden Years and Dirty deeds are the next set of bolts to the left.
|By ryan mattock|
Mar 2, 2009
nice place to go climbing for the afternoon. some anchor replacement has been happening (it's not me), but I 'm glad.
|By Matthew Fienup|
From: Ventura, CA
Mar 3, 2009
Thanks for noting the problem with the beta photo, Rob. I made the same note on another part of the site back in September (see here). It would be REALLY nice to get this cleaned up.
|By Tamara Hastie|
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
Aug 18, 2009
go and climb those routes in question and have fun- then mark it in your guidebook...no more confusion! easy!
|By Benjamin Chapman|
Nov 29, 2009
Echo Cliffs is a wonderful area and the recent sunny warm days this Fall have made for awesome climbing. Saturday was beautiful and there was hardly anyone at Echo Cliffs. Unfortunately, there seems to be a trend developing down at the Far Side with parties responding to the call-of-nature and NOT venturing off the trail and/or packing their trash out. An awful mess has been created on the approach to Black Face/Energy Wall with groups feeling this is the restroom. Please remind climbers that you see that others don't care to see their toilet paper and feces and that going down hill, AWAY from the base of the cliff would be more appreciate.
|By Rory Moulton|
Apr 22, 2010
Great long moderates, including some multi-pitch 8s/9s in the Easy Street section. Extremely well-protected, though rock can be super-sketch in places. Helmet is a MUST for belayers, base-area lingerers.
This is one of the better places to learn lead & multi-pitch climbing on fixed bolts. And it's probably the least crowded crag in LA County. Gorgeous area with a beautiful, shady grotto.
I'm saddened to hear about the trash and feces problem. This area was just starting to gain populairty when I lived there (03-05) and trash hadn't yet become a problem.
C'mon people respect one of LA County's only "backcountry" crags!
|By Benjamin Chapman|
May 1, 2010
The Park Service has ignored climbers at Echo Cliffs for some time, and expected climbers to police themselves. Unfortunately, activites such as allowing dogs to wander off leash at the base of the cliff, leaving trash/litter, leaving tissue paper/feces, camping, fire pits, and loud music have become a problem and the rangers are monitoring climber activities more closely, and we are on the radar. Again, please monitor your behavior as this wonderful area has been closed before. Routes on the south side of the Grotto have been removed, posted, and closed to protect endangered plants species as well.
Jan 1, 2011
The guidebook for this area is doing climbers a disservice by liberally using a 5 star rating system. A place like J-Tree or Yosemite is deserving of such a system. Stars are given out to many routes in massive quantities where they may not be warranted, especially routes put up by the guidebook author.
From: Altadena, CA
Jan 1, 2011
It's a sport area, the guy who spent a shitload of time and energy developing it is going to be biased. The glue alone probably cost a small fortune. If it bugs you, don't use the guidebook. Or look at the mountainproject ratings. They tend to be a lot more objective. If you could get Williamson reopened, then the problem might work itself out... But unfortunately most of the other sport areas near LA are choss piles, and the ratings in Louie's book are implicitly based on comparisons with other bolted choss.
It's better than nothing; you can either ignore the star ratings in his book or write a better one (in print or on the web). Bottom line is that the guidebook is out there, it represents the viewpoint of a guy who spent a lot of time developing the area, and he just isn't real likely to change it just because the area is (objectively) a choss pile.
With the right frame of mind, training at Echo can still be a good time. You just can't show up expecting Astroman to rise out of the hills.
|By Joseph Stover|
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Feb 6, 2011
Adam's map is perfectly right on, at least according to the gps on my phone in google maps. Thanks! The climbers trail was marked with many chalk splotches, so you can't miss it. Is this the best way in? The Edwards guide says something about a trail that was frowned upon by rangers, I am assuming this is the climber-specific trail made to ensure plant safety.
This is a beautiful area, this weekend was my first time here, and it was BUSY! I'm not sure if that is normal. If you want to climb below 5.10, you might expect a line. The newer walls (far side and further) seem to still be cleaning up, so helmets for everyone at the base is a good idea, unless there are no other parties. However, if it's not so busy, the moderates here are stellar. It can be quite noisy, and I hope the local residents don't hear it all day everyday.
This is just from a small sampling though. I hope to get back soon to do more. If the rock was cleaner... this area would be STELLAR! But don't let that deter you. The trails along the crag bases were especially nicely maintained.
|By Benjamin Chapman|
Feb 11, 2012
Adamclimbs..... this isn't Joshua Tree or Yosemite, so using such areas (granite) as the datum for assigning quality ratings to Echo Cliffs (rhyolite) is ridiculous. As Chris Owen (administrator) has indicated elsewhere, the assigning of quality stars should be adjusted to reflect a spectrum of the best to worst climbs in an area, not to compare climbs from such drastically different areas as Yosemite and Echo Cliffs. As for the guidebook author, Louie Anderson put in a hell of a lot of time, $$, and hard work establishing and climbing the lions share of the routes at Echo Cliffs, so he undoubtedly has much more time in the maai (correct spelling, look it up) then you and has been reasonably objective in assigning quality stars in a venue John Long has referred to as "vertical mud." A quality star rating is just a tool or point of reference, not the word of God.
Jul 8, 2012
FOUND rope on june 30th at echo cliffs. Please call Chris (818)317-2329 with a description if you believe it is yours.
|By Benjamin Chapman|
May 15, 2013
We haven't seen anything official regarding the status of Echo Cliffs, but got an email from Jim Herbaugh (ranger) indicating that due to the Springs Fire the Sandstone Peak Trail and the Mishe Mokwa Trail would be closed until an assessment of the damage and a rehabilitation plan could be conducted. The Springs Fire was 43 sq. miles (28,000 acres).