Miles: 3 round trip
Difficulty: Moderate to Strenuous ( steep and uneven terrain)
Beginner level hike
Sandstone Peak is a short but steep hike that offers breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Mountains. It's the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains so you can imagine the work you will put into getting to the top. At times there is cloud coverage, but even then the views are still worth the climb. This trail is very rugged, steep and offers very little shade so come prepared!Don't let the short distance of this hike lead you to believe it will be easy, you will start off hiking at an incline and will be at an incline for just about the whole hike. The terrain is very uneven with loose rocks and dips throughout the trail, proper hiking shoes are strongly recommended. There is a designated parking lot with a bathroom a short distance from the trailhead, there is not a parking fee for this hike.
- Shoes with good grip (hiking boots)
- First Aid Kit
- Trekking Poles
- 2 liters of water
Upon arriving at the parking lot you are already greeted with spectacular views of the mountains and ocean. You will see the trailhead to the right of the parking lot when driving in, there is a gate blocking off any vehicles from the trail, this is your starting point.The start of the trailhead of Sandstone Peak Trail. 1.5 miles from the top.
Depending on how much rain we received in the winter, this may be lush with wildflowers or very dry with native Chaparral plants. You will feel your legs working as soon as you set out on the trail, there are very few parts where the trail levels off but when it does you will notice it right away and be very appreciative. After a half mile, you will come to a 3-way trail junction, go to the left to keep on Sandstone Peak trail, there will be a sign pointing you in the proper direction. The other two trails will connect you to Backbone trail and Mishe Mokwa trail. Be sure to admire the views as you're making your way up they are spectacular.Depending on the time of day you will be provided by shade in a few areas by Redshank, Scrub Oak and Holly Berry, use these spots to take a break since they are far and few between. Be sure to stay hydrated and replinish your electrolytes.
After about 1.25 miles you will come to a set of stairs and a sign that says "Sandstone Peak, highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. Elevation 3,111 feet" Continue up the stairs, you will go through a shaded path of trees (pictured above) keep heading up the ridge. It can get a bit confusing on this part but just look around and you will see the small trails made by people heavily trafficking up to the peak. To your right you will see metal towers (antennas) go the opposite way of that. You will veer to your left from the trail and up the ridge, there will be some minor rock climbing. You will see a plaque that says "Mt. Allen" "elev. 3111", there is a brass opening where journals are kept to write your inspirational words to other hikers. Here you can sit and admire the beautiful view and rest your tired legs.
In the 1960's the boy scouts petitioned that the United States Department of the interior rename Sandstone Peak to "Mt. Allen", but were denied due to a policy that prohibited geographical sites be named after living persons. Herbert Allen was a benefactor of Circle X Ranch which is a few miles down the road from the Sandstone Peak trailhead, in 1969 the boy scouts had an honorary ceremony for Herbert Allen where this plaque is now standing.
When you are done admiring the gorgeous views you can head down the same way you came up. This hike will definitely have you sweating but the views are certainly worth it! Remember to take a moment to praise yourself for the hard work you just put in, you just hiked to the highest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains!!
Happier, Healthier one Hike at a Time.
Adaire to B Brave!