Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak at Circle X Ranch

At a Glance:

Website: http://www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/circlexranch.htm
Address: 12896 Yerba Buena Road, Malibu, CA, 90265
Hike length: 6 miles, about 2.5 hours-3 hours

If you’re in need of an escape from the city, look no further than beautiful Malibu. While Runyon Canyon is great for people watching and a quick “hike”, Sandstone Peak is the real deal. With breathtaking views of the Santa Monica Mountains and amazing rock formations, these 6 miles are sure to give you a taste of nature that you’ve been missing.

Pre Sweat

There is a relatively large parking lot at the trailhead complete with a glorified porta-potty and a blown up, detailed map where you can plan your trip and grab a smaller version to take with you. The trail that we did was 6 miles so I recommend using the restroom and eating beforehand. Definitely bring along water bottles, energy bars or snacks, and sunscreen.

photo 1

photo 1 photo 2


This was a great beginner/moderate hike. The trail was well marked and the ground generally a dirt path with occasional rocky sections. There were a few steep inclines but the majority was a gradual grade. As a relatively athletic person, I did find myself out of breath a couple times but it didn’t last long. We passed other groups every 20 minutes or so but it was by no means crowded, which made for great opportunities to enjoy the scenery and noises of nature.

At an elevation of 3,111 feet, Sandstone Peak is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. At the peak you will find a monument and a registry book to sign. The peak is a slight deviation from the actual path (just look for the sign) and it is a bit more treacherous as well. To be 100% truthful…I was too scared to make it all the way up to the top (I was about 40 feet away), but my trustful fiancé gave me the deets. Either way, there are gorgeous views of the mountains and Pacific Ocean!

photo 5  photo 3photo 4 photo 2 photo 1

Post Sweat

While there isn’t a ton to do, we’ve stopped twice at the Rustic Canyon General Store and Grill. They have delicious BBQ and my fiancé swears by the club sandwich. I opted for a grilled cheese pre-hike and it was perfectly toasted and diagonally cut. If you’re a Bachelor fan, do not miss out on stopping by the Bachelor mansion at 2351 Kanan Road!

Tricks of the Trade

  • If you’re pressed for time, you can always take the shorter, steeper hike directly to Sandstone for an efficient workout with the same pretty views.
  • Try to come on a clear day to get the most of the elevation.
  • The drive is super windy so watch your speed and be mindful of other cars.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s