Summary: This is one of the most beautiful hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains. Highlights include the spectacular Echo Cliffs where rock climbers ascend shear cliffs, a house sized boulder delicately balanced on a small rock beneath, a giant split rock where kids can dash between the sheer walls, stunning giant sandstone formations, and breathtaking views from the top of Sandstone Peak and Inspiration point. Highly recommended.
Trailhead: The trailhead is 1 mile east of the Circle X Ranch, which is located 5 ½ miles from Pacific Coast Highway on Yerba Buena Road in Malibu. Alternately, from Westlake Village, exit on Westlake Blvd from the 101 Freeway, and follow it south for several miles as it merges with Mulholland highway. Turn right onto Little Sycamore Canyon and it will become Yerba Buena Road as you cross the county line. Proceed on Yerba Buena Road for about 4 miles to trailhead (about a mike before you hit the Circle X Ranch Ranger Station). (Lat:34.11161 Lon:-118.92643)
Trail Guides for Mishe Mokwa Trail - Sandstone Peak:
101 Hikes in Southern California
by Jerry Schad (Wilderness Press)
On The Trail - Malibu to Santa Barbara
by Cathy Philipp (Cathy Philipp Publishing)
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
Best Seasons: Year-Round
User Groups: Hikers
Ranger Contact: Santa Monica Rec. Area - 805-370-2301
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 21 Submit your own review
Reviewed by ck on 4/21/2013
We did the hike today from 9:30am till 3:30. Took the full loop and stopped at split rock first, as said to do below. We also took a side trail to get closer to balanced rock. This trail as stated on the map from Circle X Ranch is STRENUOUS!!! It's an incline up and steep decline. We ran out of water because there wasn't much shade. You should take lots of water, lunch, hat and sunscreen. Be sure to take the sunscreen in your pack to re-apply.
Reviewed by Kurt on 3/4/2013
We did the hike again yesterday. One of our favorites. Definitly take the Mishe Mokwa trail to split rock 1st then stay on the backbone trail around to Inspiration pt. then Sandstone Peak. It's not as hard as going to Sandstone Peak 1st. then around. Did not see any Ladybugs yesterday. Does anybody know what month they are there ?
Reviewed by Schuyler on 12/31/2012
Amazing hike up the highest peak in the Santa Monicas. Strenuous to be sure, but not difficult - I saw people of all ages on the trail. Took me about 2.5 hours to do the loop, but your mileage may vary. I started at Mishe Mokwa and recommend taking it to Backbone, and up from there, rather than the other way around - doing it this way is less steep on the ascent, and saves the best views for last. Be sure to stop at both Inspiration Point as well as Sandstone Peak itself. The 360 degree panorama from the very top is breathtaking.
Reviewed by Samantha on 8/25/2012
Do the Mishe often now, I Hike/Run the trail. It was just beautiful out there. I sat on the rocky area across from the rock climbing guys watching & enjoying my lunch.
Reviewed by Samantha on 6/3/2012
Sandstone Peak - it was a UP hill hike for sure, but WoW!!! Making it to the top, I found a perfect spot for Lunch :-) I just sat there on the rocks having my lunch of cheese & pretzels & Sobe drink. Over looking the beauty of the coastal fog below & the sun above...watching lizards, birds, then I giggled as 2 Butterflies swirled above me :-) magical day :-) Next time, I'll start out earlier & take the Mishe Mokwa trail, great Hike beautiful views. Do bring plenty of Water & a lunch.
Reviewed by Ilovejoyce on 3/27/2012
This place is breathtakingly stunning! The pictures on this site does not do it justice. As you're walking you will notice the scenery changing and it's quite magical. Bring lots of water,good hiking shoes and a walking stick. A good lunch is definitely needed.
Reviewed by af on 3/15/2012
i had the best time of my life :,).. so beautiful *sigh..
Reviewed by sm on 3/5/2012
Very nice hike. Beautiful on the way and beautiful when you are the top. Very nice rock formations. Split rock is great place to relax and take a break. Bit of a tough drive to get there though.
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