Mishe Mokwa to Sandstone Peak


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:

  1. No more winding road. I tried not to look down while I was on it because it made me nervous.
  2. There was a vault toilet. It was a long drive.
  3. 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.

In many pictures, you see Xena’s head shot in a corner or at the bottom that’s because she pops her head in often at the last minute. She is not supposed to be in the picture! 😝

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
Happy Hiking!

3 comments on “Mishe Mokwa to Sandstone Peak”

  1. Well, I’m glad you met up with others hikers too. It’s tricky when you don’t have mobile phone signal are are lost. I thoroughly enjoyed going with you and your dog on a virtual walk. The views look gorgeous! Thanks.

  2. Lovely views on the entire hike! So nice to have the trail head start high up and give these amazing views:)

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