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Sandstone Peak Loop

  4.5 ( 34 ) Favorite


6.1 mile 9.8 kilometer loop
86% Runnable


Ascent: 1,144' 349 m
Descent: -1,144' -349 m
High: 2,996' 913 m
Low: 2,115' 645 m


Avg Grade: 7% (4°)
Max Grade: 28% (16°)


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Trail shared by John McKinney with improvements by Liz

Run this six-mile loop to summit Sandstone Peak.

John McKinney

Features Geological Significance · Views


Utilizing the Mishe Mokwa Trail and the Backbone Trail, this running loop offers unrivaled views as it takes you through the Santa Monica Mountains to the summit of the highest peak in the range, Sandstone Peak (3,110').


From the trailhead at the edge of the parking area, run up the dirt road for 3/10 of a mile until you reach a juncture with the Backbone Trail. Follow the Backbone Trail to the right briefly before you come across another junction with the Mishe Mokwa Trail. Turn left here to follow the Mishe Mokwa Trail as it gains elevation winding around the hillsides of Boney Mountain.

Along the way, you'll have the chance to catch some views of Triunfo Pass and the historic Chumash Trail. The Mishe Mokwa Trail eventually levels off before descending to Carlisle Canyon. At this point, there are good views of Balanced Rock.

Moving along the trail will take you further into the canyon to Split Rock, which is home to a picnic area, creek and spring. Leaving Split Rock, you'll rise out of the canyon and at the highest point you'll see a pyramid-shaped rock called Egyptian Rock straight ahead. Following the trail along it will eventually come to an end soon as it runs into the Backbone Trail, roughly 1.3 miles from the Split Rock site.

From here, link up with the Backbone Trail and head south briefly before the trail turns eastward. Be sure to avoid following the Backbone Trail to the right (west) at its juncture with the Mishe Mokwa Trail. Continue gaining elevation while you follow the Backbone Trail. After switchbacking a couple of times, you'll see a steep trail diverge to the right, follow this to the summit of Sandstone Peak. From here, you'll have unrivaled views of the Oxnard Plain, the Channel Islands, the Topatopa Mountains, and the Pacific.

After you've had the chance to experience Sandstone Peak, return to the Backbone Trail and follow it for a little over a mile as it descends down to the original trailhead.

Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store.

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May 25, 2019
Black Beard
May 8, 2018
Kimi deMent
Great views, go early and beat the crowds!
Nov 20, 2016
brian taylor

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Trail Ratings

  4.5 from 34 votes


  4.5 from 34 votes
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in California


210 Views Last Month
4,605 Since Jul 25, 2017



Balanced rock, viewable from afar as well as up close like this. Very cool landmark.
Apr 2, 2015 near Casa Co…, CA
Clouds begin to fill the sky looking north from Sandstone Peak.
Feb 18, 2017 near Casa Co…, CA
Echo Cliffs
Jul 16, 2018 near Casa Co…, CA
One of the first vistapoint views on the trail starting from the bottom of Sandstone Peak Loop.
Mar 26, 2018 near Casa Co…, CA
Beautiful vistapoint before turning onto Sandstone Peak Gem.
Mar 26, 2018 near Casa Co…, CA
The view from Inspiration Point is pretty stellar.
Apr 6, 2017 near Casa Co…, CA


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