A picturesque hiking loop in the Santa Monica Mountains that offers breathtaking views and scenery guaranteed to make your jaw drop along every bend throughout the trail.
- When taking the 101 North to get to Sandstone Peak, there's a mandatory stop at the following coffee shop located in Calabasas that I guarantee will kick off your adventure in the best way possible:
- From Los Angeles, take the 101 North towards Ventura. Take Kanan Road exit in Agora Hills and turn right onto Encinal Canyon Road after passing Rocky Oaks Park. After 3.5 miles, turn right on Lechusa Road and then a quick right on CA 23 North until you hit Mulholland Drive. At Muholland, take a left which will lead you to the Sandstone Peak trailhead parking lot.
- Begin your hike on the northside of the parking lot until you meet with Backbone Trail. I preferred seeing the highest point first on the hike along with getting the more difficult portion out of the way before being too exhausted. You'll continue up the ascending path of Backbone Trail until you reach the sign for Sandstone Peak and it's a short distance off the main trail to visit and return after seeing the peak.
- Once you finish at the peak, return back to Backbone Trail and take a left to continue on the loop. Inspiration Point will be approximately 1.0 mile down the path on the left.
- After Inspiration Point, the rest of the trail is quite relaxing and the hardest part is out of the way. The remainder of the trail is full of incredible vistas of rock formations that are unlike anything normally seen in Los Angeles.
- Shortly after Inspiration Point, there will be a split in the trail and you'll want to keep forward with the trail turning into Mishe Mokwa Trail and this will be the one you stay on until the end of the hike.
- The next split will occur 1.4 miles up and you'll want to take a right leading towards Echo Cliffs and Balance Rock. The view of Echo Cliffs was, personally, my favorite part of the hike. We spotted a few rock climbers and decided to sit back and watch them scale the cliff for at least 45 minutes. It was incredible because of the canyon walls, you could hear each and every breath and movement the climbers made.
- After admiring the rock climbers (if any are present), proceed down the path until the split with Backbone Trail and turn right in order to loop back to the trailhead and parking lot.
- Elevation at the summit: 3,111 feet (highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains)