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Sandstone Peak - Loop

Location : Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu

Total distance : 6 miles round-trip (loop) 

Elevation gain : 1,400 ft

Peak elevation : 3,111 ft

Tree Cover : Partial tree cover. Sunscreen recommended.

Parking : Parking lot at the trailhead and a overflow parking area few minutes away 

Trailhead : Sandstone peak trailhead, click here

Landmark : Trailhead is at the end of the parking lot


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Topo map of Sandstone peak hike

At 0.4 miles from the trailhead you will reach the 1st fork. Turn right on to Backbone trail. 

Alt. route : If you want to turn left and go to the Sandstone peak, click here for directions. If you take left, it will be a 3.2 miles roundtrip (out-and-back) but the views are much better if you take the 6 mile loop. If you have a small dog it is good idea to take this shorter route.

You will see this sign in front of the Split rock. It is split into 3 pieces which is interesting, I wonder how it got split into 3 almost equal pieces.

You have covered 4.1 miles from the trailhead so far. Take the stairs going up, the stairs disappear after few meters and it gets steeper so feel free to take multiple breaks. From this point the peak is at 0.2 miles (4.3 miles total). 

Once you come back here from the peak, follow the route to the parking lot. Parking lot is 1.5 miles from here but it is a downward slope so you do not need too many breaks. 

You will reach the 1st fork at 1 mile from here. Keep right at the fork to reach the parking lot in 0.4 mi from the fork.

Detailed directions : Park your car in the parking lot at the trailhead, if it is full there is an overflow parking area very close this. Park your car and walk to the trailhead. The net gain in elevation is 1,400 ft but on this trail you will be go up and down few times. So really the total (not net) elevation gain is more than 1,400 ft.

Continue for 0.2 mi (0.6 from trailhead) to get to the 2nd fork. And continue towards Split rock which is 1.3 miles from the fork. On the way to Split rock you can see people climbing the wall in the valley. And the views are amazing, so it's a good idea to take your first break somewhere on Mishe Mokwa trail.

You will see balancing rock to your right when on Mishe Mokwa trail, be on the lookout for it. 

There is a bench and good shade so you can take a break here. There is also a water stream here. Look for the this sign on the right.

Do not take the other route that looks like a trail, it splits and one of the trails is a loop that brings you back to the split rock.

By the tme you see this you have already covered 2.6 mi. Keep left and continue on the Mishe Mokwa trail.

Follow the sign towards Sandstone peak. At this point you are 3.2 mi from the trailhead. 

Congrats! You've made it to the peak. Sign in the book that you can find if you lift the metal door in the memorial stone. Enjoy the views before you head back to the trailhead. 

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