|Sandstone Peak Trail is well-defined, rocky and steep|
Sandstone Peak is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, known by the National Parks Service as SAMO. Located just beyond Malibu's shores, this is the low-key, paparazzi-free playground of the stars. Hike any of SAMO's trails and you are likely to run across a celebrity, though you probably won't realize it. This is a place where the stars are free to act just like the rest of us - enjoying the great outdoors, dressed in comfortable clothes, wearing a hat to block the sun, and hiking for fun and fitness.
|Plenty of parking at the Sandstone Peak Trail Head|
|View of Sandstone Peak as seen from the beginning of the trail|
|View of the trail head parking on Yerba Buena Rd., from Sandstone Peak Trail|
Trailhead: Parking lot is at 2,030 feet elevation, accesible on Yerba Buena Rd. From Pacific Coast Highway, turn at Ned's Net restaurant onto Yerba Buena and go five or so miles. TH is a mile or so past the Circle X Ranch headquarters office. From Highway 101, take Route 23 south (Westlake Boulevard) to Mulholland Highway. Turn right. Go a mile (maybe less) and turn right onto Little Sycamore Canyon Drive. This turns into Yerba Buena. Pass the Mishe Mokwa TH on the right and soon you will reach the Sandstone Peak TH. You can also take the Mishe Mokwa Trail for a 7-mile loop, reaching the peak after 6 miles.
Distance: 3 miles, out-and-back
Elevation Gain/Loss: 1,100/1,100
Map: You don't need a map for this trail, but I recommend picking up a free map from the gorgeous new visitor's center at Gillette Ranch. Get off the 101 at Lost Hills Road and go south to Mulholland and turn left, or from the Pacific Coast Highway take Malibu Canyon Road north to Mulholland and turn right. Gillette Ranch is on the south side of Mulholland Highway.
Hiking Time: On a recent hot summer hike, it took me 1.5 hours round trip, but it can probably be done in less time. I hung out for a while at the summit to take in the amazing 360-degree view, including the Channel Islands to the south, Oxnard Plain to the west, San Fernando Valley to the north and the entire Santa Monica Mountains stretching toward Los Angeles to the east.
Best Times to Hike: This hike can be done any time of day, all year long. Just be sure to bring plenty of water and wear a hat - there's barely any shade to be found.
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate (requires very little scrambling to the summit)
|View from Sandstone Peak, looking east over the Santa Monica Mountains|
|View from Sandstone Peak, looking south toward the Pacific Ocean|
|End your day of hiking with a refreshing dip at one of Malibu's beaches|