Sandstone Peak is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains.
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.
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 made me nervous.
- There was a vault toilet. It was a long drive.
- I packed Xena’s Swamp Cooler and 80 oz of ice cold water for both of us just in case.
I wanted to do a loop counterclockwise – Mishe Mokwa Trail to Backbone Trail. 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.
The canyon view from Mishe Mokwa Trail was absolutely gorgeous. I was glad I decided on the loop.
I turned left when I reached the Split Rock.
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:
- Hike date: 5.31.2015
- Length: 6.35 miles RT
- Elevation gain: 1,173 feet
- Almost no shade; Take plenty of water and avoid the hottest time of the day
- A vault toilet available at the trailhead