Sandstone Peak


At 3,111 feet, Sandstone Peak is the tallest point in the Santa Monica Mountains.

Last time we tried this hike back in May of 2015, it was too warm and too crowded for our liking. We completed the loop but opted out from summiting the peak. Xena struggled with the heat and I didn’t want to push her. It was a good decision then but it left me a feeling of unfinished business. A few months ago, we went back to summit Sandstone Peak at last.

I recommend doing this hike in a counterclockwise loop if you have time. My favorite part of this hike is the Mishe Mokwa Trail. When the trail splits at the 0.4-mile marker, go to your right. After 0.2 miles, take the Mishe Mokwa Trail on your left and enjoy the canyon view.


After about 3.5 miles, you will come to a junction where Mishe Mokwa meets Backbone and Chamberlain. Go straight and take the Backbone Trail.


Heading up to the peak at the 4.8-mile marker.


The view of Sandstone Peak

Julie and Ryan, a nice couple we met at the peak. Julie completed the 52 Hike Challenge that day. Yay!

The proof we made it to the top this time. It’s really for me than for anything. 




Leave a note in the summit register at the peak if you’d like. After a short picture break, we came down to Backbone Trail and completed the loop. Finally, this hike is complete after 2.5 years later.

This half-day hike is one of the most popular hikes in the Santa Monica Mountains and has almost no shade. I recommend starting early with plenty of water for you and your pup.

For additional photos and a trail guide, please use my previous post.

Good to Know:

  • Hike Date:  12.23.17
  • Distance: 6.35 miles RT
  • Elevation gain:  1,656 ft
  • Difficulty Level:  Challenging
  • Almost no shade; Take plenty of water and avoid the hottest time of the day
  • A vault toilet available at the trailhead
  • Permit/fee:  None

Get Our Latest Comprehensive Dog-friendly Trail List Here. Enjoy!

Happy Hiking!

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8 comments on “Sandstone Peak”

  1. Absolutely a pleasure meeting you! Hope to join a hike with you and Xena! Love your blog! Will share too. ♥️

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