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Trail Head Location:
Fees: free to park and play
You can hike or bike this, plenty of parking, bathrooms at the trail head.
The Sandstone Peak Hike in the Santa Monica mountains is a trail I have revisited time and time again. Whether on foot or mountain bike, this trail does not disappoint. The drive up the PCH out of Santa Monica and through Malibu is a beautiful stretch of Highway, as long as you are not on it during Rush hour or during the crowded weekend traffic. If you are driving north on the PCH from the Los Angeles area, you will make a right at the Neptune's Net restaurant up Yerba Buena road. This road will wind around the canyons and bring you up past the Circle X ranch on the right, which has a great trail too called the Grotto, and to the Sandstone Peak trail head on the Left bout a mile or so beyond the Ranch.Look for this sign to find the parking area
There is usually enough parking at this large gravel lot, but I would recommend trying to do this trail during the week if possible to reduce the number of cars and hikers. On a side note, don't have your car loaded up with valuables when parking at just about any trail head in southern California. I could fill a dumpster with all the glass I have seen shattered out of car windows scattered around trail head parking lots.! There is a bathroom at this trail head, and that's about it.Depending on when you go, the parking can be empty or pretty busy.
When you start hiking up this trail, you can go left, or you can go right. Going right will take you the "long" way to the main feature of this hike, the Sandstone Peak. This route will run about 6 miles in a large loop. It is a great hike with some nice views and terrain, but might be too long for some hikers. The Gps data associated with this write up is from the "short" version of the trail that takes you the direct way to Sandstone Peak.Views from the Long side of the hike
If you want to just get to sandstone peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica mountains at 3111 feet, take the left route, the "short" path. This will only be about a 1.5 mile hike to the base of the peak. Once there, you will see the path to get you up to the top. There is a little monument at the peak and usually some little notebooks to write your name in too if you like. The notebooks are in the little metal box.What you will see around the base of the Peak.
The view is great from the top. You might want to try this hike for the first time on a clear day so you get to take in the entire view while up here. If you do this for the first time and cant see the Pacific ocean or the surrounding vista's, you wont be taking advantage of the height up here.What you will see at the top.
This hike is one of my favorites in the area. Springtime brings colorful flowers lining the trails and butterflies are common to see all along the way. Keep your eyes sharp though. I have encountered rattlesnakes here more than once! I even went to take a break one time and found a nice looking outcropping of rocks right off the side of the trail, I go to sit back and hear the shake of a rattlesnake tail right as I started to lean back. Regardless of how sore my legs were, I shot right back up real quick.!Blue sky and rattlesnakes.
The night sky around here is about as good as it gets for the area, being this close to a large city like LA. There is a great parking area right up the street on the right you can go to and stargaze if you are into that. I have went there on more than one occasion, and during meteor showers, you will run into a good number of other people parked there enjoying the night sky. Just kill your headlights as soon as you safely can once you pull into the lot :)A detailed view of the moon I captured up here one clear night
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