Sandstone Peak Hike

Updated: Jan 7, 2020

Sandstone Peak Hike is one of Los Angeles most popular hikes and an absolute must-do if you are looking for a great hike in the area. Lately I've been seeing a ton of posts and mentions about this hike online--so I thought I'd do a post to share my photos and experience there as well. I was lucky enough to go right after all the rain we had earlier this year, so it was exceptionally clear and green!

Like REALLY green. Can you believe this is even LA? The water in the background is Lake Malibu. Who even knew Malibu had a lake?!


Length: 6.25 loop | Level: Moderate | Duration: 3 hours | Elevation: 1075 | Dogs: Yes on leash

sandstone peak hike

This is the first view you get once you ascend the Sandstone Peak hike trail head and get walking up Mishe Mokwa Trail. This also marks a perfect place for a group shot- love this hiking crew! This hike is a bit longer for some at 6.1 miles for the full loop, so it's a super fun one to pack some snacks and do as a group. Dogs are welcome on leash!

sandstone peak hike

There are two ways to do this hike. The way you choose depends on how fast you want to get to the highest peak and the time you have. If you are short on time and just want to hit Sandstone Peak (which is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains), take a left at the beginning of the trail head following the sign pointing there, and hike up 1.4 miles. If you want to save that for last and do the full loop trail, take a right and follow signs for Mishe Mokwa Trail, and hike the full 6.1 miles to get to the peak. I chose to save the best for last and went right, so the view point photos you see here follow that path. I found this great little map here that outlines this for you.

sandstone peak hike

As you make your way through Sandstone Peak trail, there are some noted landmarks- Skull Rock, Balance Rock, Split Rock. All have little turn-offs from the main trail that you can explore to extend the hike longer up to 6.8 miles. We opted to not do those on this trip due to time, so the rest of the trail continues on through these rolling green mountains.

sandstone peak hike

Eventually as you make your way around, you'll end up on the Santa Monica mountain's main connector trail, The Backbone trail. You'll want to follow signs to stay on Mishe Mokwa Trail, in the direction toward Inspiration Point which is the first major view point on your last few miles up to Sandstone Peak

Inspiration point

Turn off the trail for a quick little stop at Inspiration Point. The view here is already pretty amazing and it only gets better from here! If there is one thing that Sandstone Peak hike offers, it's breathtaking overlooks!

inspiration point

And, it really doesn't get much better than that, until you go around the corner to the next peak as in the photo below. On this clear day, I got the mountains, ocean, and all this green! This is also a really nice spot to have lunch or take a break. The road to the top is only about a mile or so from here and it will be less crowded than at the actual Sandstone Peak.

sandstone peak hike

Not too far after that, you'll begin your final ascent of the Sandstone Peak trail. It's a bit steep on the last stretch, but totally manageable. You will see groups of people who bypassed the whole loop trail and ascended here right from the parking lot. In your view, you'll see the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, Sandstone Peak! The bottom point of the mountain has this epic view below which ended up being my favorite spot on the hike!

sandstone peak hike

The reward on this hike is definitely worth the work, as finally you've made it to the top. There's a little bit of scrambling to reach the ridge of the actual peak, but just be careful and be wear of the edge. Below you can see me waving in the blue shirt as my friend takes this shot from the place I'm sitting in the above photo. The view you get from where I am standing is the same in the image above--but, as you can see it's typically crowded which is why the lower areas of the peak provided better areas to enjoy the views!

sandstone peak hike

I have to agree, Sandstone Peak hike is one of the best hikes and day outing in Los Angeles, especially after a good rain! Directions and info HERE in case you missed it above. Not one to miss! What is your favorite LA hike?

Thanks @cdubs872 for your photo contributions!

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