Hike to Sandstone Peak – Sandstone Peak – Malibu – Tallest Peak in the Santa Monica Mts.

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Hikes You Can Do presents;Sandstone Peak at Circle X Ranch

Hike to the top of the Highest Peak in the Santa Monica Mts.

Highlights: Rock Formations, 360 Degree Views, Summit Opportunity
Fun Rating: Super Fun
Difficulty: Strenuous
Distance: 6 miles
Hike Style: Loop
Duration: 3-4 Hours
Elevation Gain: 1400′
Trail Condition: Maintained, Some Washout
Shade: Mixture
Dogs Allowed: Yes
Passes Needed: None
GPS: 34° 6′ 35.75″ N 118° 56′ 14.63″ W
Pictures: Click Here
Download: Circle X Ranch Trail Map
Address: 12896 Yerba Buena Road, Malibu, CA, 90265
Directions: Pacific Coast Highway to Yerba Buena Road. Turn inland; go 5.4 miles to Circle X Ranch contact station. Map and Directions.
Phone: (310) 457-6408

Balanced Rock

Circle X Ranch in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, sits 50 miles west of downtown Los Angeles. The old boy scout camp now acts as a ranger station. The area sits in the shadow of sandstone peak, the tallest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains. The Circle X Ranch is nestled 5.5 miles inland from the Pacific Coast Highway on Yerba Buena Rd. Take PCH to Neptunes Net Resauarnt and make a right. Its a beautiful 15-20 minute drive on a windy, skinny road through the canyon. Eventually you will see the Circle X Ranch Ranger Station on the right. Park here if you plan on hiking to the Grotto. If not continue past about .5 miles and you will see the parking lot on the left where the trail head lies.

From the trail head head north. You will reach ones first decision. If you are trying to save time and get a quick work out by quickly getting to the summit go left on the Sandstone Peak Trail. Its 1.5mi or so up a pretty big incline. This is a butt kicker, very strenuous but the fastest way to the top. If you want to do the entire loop, take the Mishe Mokwa Trail heading NE. This is a long, partially shaded trail with great views of the Valley to the East. As one hikes west one sees the Famous Echo Cliffs. This climbers paradise offers the terrain many Southern California Climbers love. teetering above them sits Balanced Rock. This formation seems to defy gravity especially in a place with earthquakes. As one continues on down into the canyon one will reach another interesting rock formation called split rock. Stop here for lunch. Its in the shade and offers some time to explore and take a few photos. From this point make sure you have some sun screen because for the next 3 or so one will be in the sun. Hike west towards Tri Peaks. The last mile is all up. Put your head down and get to the top. Make sure you stop and go to inspiration point. There is a plaque showcasing all the points of interest. This is one of the most beautiful views on all of Southern California. Continue to the top. Once you summit take a look at the plaque. When Circle X Ranch was a Boy Scout camp in order to get a merit badge all the scouts had to reach the top. In order to get the badge they had to secretly reveal who the mountain is named after. It adds a little story to the hike. Make sure you sign the book at the top as well.

This is one of the best hikes in the Santa Monica Mts. It’s challenging, interesting but most importantly the views from the top are unbelievable. Do this hike after a windy day or after it rains. If its clear you can see as far as Mt. Baldy to the east. This is an absolutely incredible adventure. We recommend this hike to people all the time for a bunch of reasons; its scenic, adventurous, historic and most importantly, fun. We here at Hikes You Can do strive to bring you all the information you need when looking for a hike in the Los Angeles area. We hope this has inspired you to go out and check out Sandstone Peak at Circle X Ranch.

If you have a hike that you think we should feature on the site contact us and we will get back to you right away. For more information on this hike and many other hikes you can do in Los Angeles, visit; http://www.losangeleshikingguide.hikesyoucando.com

4 comments

  • As a mid-western gal recently transplanted to this southwestern world, I can’t thank you guys enough for detailing some of the more enigmatic hikes in Los Angeles. I love adventuring around SoCal and must admit that I am a bit jealous of the opportunity you guys have to explore the arresting beauty of the region. That said, keep up the good work! i will continue to stay tuned in on additional hikes that you might post. Thanks a lot and take care!

  • Pingback: Sandstone Peak « Nobody Hikes in L.A.

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