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June 2005

Ultimate Summer Escapes: The Best Dayhikes and Backpacking Trips Near You

Coming soon to your city: far-out adventures that are shockingly close to home.

©Peter Bennett

Mishe Mokwa Trail, Santa Monica Mountains


Santa Monica Mountains Take the kids or just take it easy

on this low-effort, big-view hike.

Some lucky hikers stumble upon Sandstone Peak by the cardinal rule of L.A. hiking–if the parking lot is full, keep driving–and then credit serendipity for their discovery of one of the area’s best moderate dayhikes. With only a few steep climbs, this 6-mile loop has landmarks that make it fun for kids: a giant boulder split in two; another house-sized boulder balanced on a small rock; and a picnic-perfect streamside oak grove. Start hiking on the Mishe Mokwa Trail, then pick up the Backbone Trail about 3 miles out; take the short spur to the top of 3,111-foot Sandstone Peak. The highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, the peak is actually composed of volcanic rock. But you won’t mind the misnomer when you’re enjoying its wraparound panorama of Ventura County, the Channel Islands, and hills sloping all the way to the Pacific.

Get There From Malibu, take CA 1 to Yerba Buena Road and travel 6.3 miles east to the trailhead.

Get Info Santa Monica Mountain National Recreation Area, (805) 370-2301;

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