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Our FAVORITE SoCal Hike: Sandstone Peak

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Rising high above the city smog, surrounded by green, rolling hills and framed by the famous, endless summer waves of Malibu, rests Sandstone Peak, aka Mount Allen – the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. At 3,111 feet, this peak can be reached via a 6.25-mile loop with a 1,075 elevation gain, granting you major bragging rights, as well as stellar views.

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Our favorite way to start this hike is a with a cook out! – yep that’s right – we pack a picnic, bring our mini grill along and head towards Malibu until we find just the right spot. Some days we opt for a seaside view, while other days we go for a heightened sense of perspective up in the canyons:

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For so many reasons we tend to take every single LA visitor we get on this hike – from mom and dad to cousins and friends, and it’s even dog friendly! This hike just packs all the things that we love about LA into 1 pretty little package:

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Getting to the trailhead is simple, we drive up Yerba Buena road until reaching a dirt parking lot (map here). There’s a restroom available for one last pit spot before hitting the trail, which starts at the North end of the lot. Here’s a view of the lot from above:

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The first part of the journey starts on the Backbone Trail – and let me and all our visitors tell you, this baby is steep. Luckily, after .3 miles, you’ll make a left onto the Mishe Mokwa Trail, which is a wide dirt and rock path with a much more gradual ascent, offering some unforgettable views early on:

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As the trail continues, the views only get better and vaster. The deep and lush ravines, the sandstone Echo Cliffs lined with rock climbers, and the wildflowers and colorful critters that greet you along the way! There is never a dull moment on the journey to the top:

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How beautiful is this little guy?!

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And this stunning blue bird!:

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Just before reaching the top there is an sign letting you know that you are almost there! This is then followed by a set of steep stairs, making you realize… you are still not there yet… but keep on keeping on! – it’s totally worth it.

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After this final set of stair steppers, it’s just a few more feet of steep rock scrambling before reaching the summit! Once you see the plaque at the top of the mountain, you know you have arrived – it’s  now time to relax and enjoy the view:

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Check out the full moon:

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Oh and you have to be sure to write a little something in the adventure book at the top! It’s in the slot under the Mount Allen plaque – you can’t miss it:

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Thanks to the amazing California weather patterns, we have been blessed with some of the most beautiful of days – nothing but clear, blue skies for miles:

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Then, there have been those other days… those days with fog so thick it’s as if we have to push it out of our way to get through:

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Regardless of the weather, time of day, or season, every time we do this hike we experience something uniquely special… but we do have to admit – we are total suckers for that hour right before sunset where the entire California coast turns to gold, they don’t call it LA la land for nothing:

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And how do we make an already incredible hike even more memorable? We drive back to Malibu, park at Neptune’s Net and walk down to the beach to watch the sunset over the Pacific – which is of course followed by a d’lish meal at Neptune’s, one of our favorite SoCal spots:

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No wonder we keep coming back for more, can you blame us?! I can’t wait until the next repeat… more like eight-peat 😉

 

 

12 Comments

  1. Reply

    Eli

    October 29, 2016

    Hey, I wanted to do this hike tomorrow, and was wondering how long it took you. Thanks.

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      November 25, 2016

      Sorry we just saw this!! Takes about 3 hours round trip if you take your time and enjoy the view 🙂

  2. Reply

    Patrice

    December 31, 2015

    Hello! My family is going to Southern California next week, and I really want to do this hike. The steepness and hard work don’t worry me, but I am afraid of heights. Is this a scary hike or are you always safe? Thanks!

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      December 31, 2015

      Hi Patrice! So glad you found us as this is THE PERFECT family hike. Gorgeous views, safe the entire time and fun for people of all ages and fitness levels. When you get to the very top you will see a statue type thing at the top, this is right on the edge of the mountain so if you’re afraid of heights I recommend not going on top or behind the statue, but you’ll be able to judge your comfort level once your up there. Enjoy and feel free to let us know how it goes!

  3. Reply

    Madeline

    February 6, 2015

    My boyfriend and I just moved to Los Angeles from the East Coast and have been trying to find places to hike (and also good West Coast trips! Yosemite is on our bucket list). Your blog has been so helpful! I haven’t been able to find any other kind of information that has pictures, directions, and suggestions like yours. Thank you so much for documenting your adventures!

    And also…I think we will try this hike tomorrow! 🙂

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      February 11, 2015

      Hi Madeline! Thank you so much for taking the time to write such a kind and thoughtful comment. We have been on the road in our RV for the past week and we have been waiting for a decent wifi connection so we could write back to you – We are so glad you found our blog! We fell head over heels in love with LA so you should be able to find a ton of suggestions on our site, if you have any questions about things to do and how to do them, please know you can always reach out to us – we just got a hotspot so wifi shouldn’t be a problem moving forward! Wishing you and yours many adventures and sweet memories to share 🙂

  4. Reply

    heliothrix

    December 20, 2014

    Thank you for the wonderful post.

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      December 23, 2014

      You are so welcome!! We hope you have a beautiful time 🙂

  5. Reply

    Rebecca

    September 3, 2014

    found your blog after you commented on californiathroughmylens.com and i’m so glad i did! we were looking for a good trail to hike after hiking in kauai,hawaii and i’m excited to check out sandstone peak this weekend!! thanks for the thorough post!

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      September 4, 2014

      You are going to have a wonderful time!! The weather has been absolutely perfect here 🙂 Have fun in Hawaii and let us know if you have any other questions at all. xx

  6. Reply

    Marie

    June 19, 2014

    You really make us want to come out to the coast and take a hike!
    Miss you, Marie and Bill.

    • Reply

      mrandmrsadventure

      June 19, 2014

      We wish you would!! One day, when you give in, we’ll be waiting 🙂

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