Sandstone Peak is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. On the morning of 5/31, it was overcast and misty. I was surrounded by low heavy clouds on freeways. I almost turned around a couple of times on my way to the trailhead due to low visibility. I was concerned about safety in case the condition was the same on the trail or even worse. I decided to make a decision at the trailhead.
With an excitement for an adventure, I didn’t really pay attention to the distance. After I got off the freeway, I still had many miles to go. After driving up the winding road for a while, I noticed sunlight leaking through the cracks of thick clouds. Eventually, I drove out of the clouds entirely. It was so clear. There was not even a cloud in the sky where I was!
Once I reached the trailhead, I was thankful for three things right away:
- No more winding road! I tried not to look down while I was on it because it makes me nervous.
- There was a bathroom facility! It was a long drive.
- I packed Xena’s Swamp Cooler and 80 oz of iced cold water for both of us just in case!
I wanted to do a loop counterclockwise – Mishe Mokwa Trail to Backbone Trail. The loop is 6.35 miles. If you want a shorter hike, you can just hike up to Sandstone Peak via Backbone Trail and then back. That’s little over 3 miles in total.
Canyon view from Mishe Mokwa Trail was absolutely gorgeous. I was glad I decided on the loop. Above the clouds, there was only sun.
Next small section of the trail was not maintained so I got lost. The group of hikers behind me caught up with us. They were lost too. So, together, we looked for a trail that seemed to be leading to somewhere and eventually, we found our way to Backbone Trail. I was glad they found us because I had no signal on my phone. On Backbone Trail, we found the clouds again.
Good to Know:
- Total distance: 6.35 miles
- Elevation gain: 1173 feet
- Dogs must be on a leash
- Take plenty of water and avoid hottest time of the day.