Hiking the M*A*S*H Set

M*A*S*H ambulance with recent paint job

Two of my L.A. area loves, hiking and filming locations, were married recently when I joined a group of hikers to tour the set of the television series M*A*S*H in Malibu Creek State Park. As a bonus, much of the original Planet of the Apes movie was shot there too.

The entire M*A*S*H camp covers only an acre or so, shockingly less than it appears on tv. There’s an ambulance and a Jeep from the show on site, rusted out as one might expect, as well as another ambulance whose paint job was restored much more recently. There’s a map indicating what was where in the camp, as well as ropes indicating the foundations of the Swamp and other tents. And of course, the famous sign pointing to Toledo, Tokyo, and, appropriately, Burbank. Turn around, and you can scramble up the hill to the plateau that served as the chopper pad. At the end of the hike, we also checked out the swimming hole from Planet of the Apes (see third link above), which, on a warm weekend day, was plenty popular.

View of M*A*S*H camp from "chopper pad"

Malibu Creek State Park is beautiful and dramatic, with many rocky peaks that dwarf those “Korean” hills found while watching M*A*S*H. The hike is nearly flat, and only about 4.5 miles round trip, so novices can do it too. However, as with many hikes east of the PCH, the sun shines on you nearly the whole time and there isn’t much tree cover, so if it’s 70 degrees or more outside, it feels hotter, and you need to dress appropriately and bring plenty of water. And if you go there and listen closely, you just might hear the whap! whap! of incoming choppers.

Swimming hole from Planet of the Apes