dogs on leash
Hiked part of this trail when got lost off the Zuma Loop ... Lovely hike ... but lots of turns and biker ... so if you have a dog, keep them close ... though unlike other trails I have been on, bikers are super nice to let you know if other bikers are behind and aren't angry for sharing the trail (thx!!)
I loved the trail ... but the trail to do the loop is not well marked. The first time we went clockwise and ended up on the wrong trail and hikes 17+ mi. The second time we went counter clockwise and only had a small misstep and ended up hiking 14 mi ... great views though the hike back will be in full sun so bring water and start early.
A very easy hike with some beautiful scenic trails that take you around the loop to sandstone peak. At the first junction you have a choice of either going up the hard path (which is a much steeper incline to Sandstone Peak) or doing the longer loop (but much more scenic route) to sandstone peak and decline back to the parking lot.
There's a sign at the entrance of the trail (posted January of 2015) that says a 1.14 mile section of this hike has been deemed "too dangerous" and has been closed. I ended up taking another trail. I couldn't tell how this would affect the loop.
I've always thought the Santa Monica Mountains were kinda blah....Solstice Canyon being totally trashed w/graffiti, trash, and random parties going on w/loud music around the ruins....although it does offer nice ocean views, it just felt like any other "city hike." Boy was I WRONG though. The Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak is absolutely GORGEOUS! The road to get to the trailhead is pretty gnarly and narrow so if you're not used to mountain driving it may bring some sweat to your hands & a faster heart rate. I've tried getting there from both PCH & the freeway, and both are gnarly. The parking lot is very easy to find as there is a fairly large sign that says "Sandstone Peak Trailhead." Pit toilets are available at the parking lot. This trail is quite busy during the weekend but has way less traffic on the weekdays.
After climbing a little less than 0.5 miles, the trail splits: making a right will take you to the Mishe Mokwa trail (longer but gradual incline) and making a left will take you to Sandstone Peak (shorter & steeper grade). I always make a right and follow the Mishe Mokwa trail and do a loop. Doing the loop is about 6.5 to 7 miles, depending on which places you decide to visit. I DEFINITELY recommend doing the Mishe Mokwa trail instead of going directly to Sandstone Peak since you will be missing out on SO much beautiful scenery! You will have a chance to see Split Rock, have the option to go visit the Balancing Rock, and also have the opportunity to check out Tri Peaks. Inspiration Point is another beautiful stop before reaching Sandstone Peak. It's not as crowded as Sandstone Peak and yet has the 360 view of the surrounding area. Highly recommend stopping here.
Lots of solitude if you can come during the weekdays. The trail is fairly exposed so I probably wouldn't do this in hot weather. The terrain is very rugged in certain sections with lots of loose rocks...not the best trail when you have an IT band and ankle problem. Coming down from Sandstone Peak to the main trail may be a challenge if you don't have shoes with good traction.
Total Miles - 7.1 miles (stopping by Tri-Peaks)
Total Elevation - 1,621 ft
Adventure Pass is not required to park. Dogs allowed on leash. Hiking permit not required.
Amazing rock formations! Go visit!!
Christopher C. on Solstice Canyon Loop Trail
It was a fascinating and beautiful trail. There aren't many where you can hike through ruins while getting killer views of the ocean and valleys. It takes some time for sure if you wanna go all the way through.
Hiked to the waterfall and then back to the parking lot on the Rising Sun trail. First half is very easy and beautiful through the bottom of the canyon. Rising Sun takes you up the mountain, which is a moderate but gradual incline, and well worth the views of the canyon and Pacific Ocean. Overall a gorgeous hike!
I loved this hike!!!! The end is very rewarding. You get to stand on the highest point of the Santa Monica Mountains with 360 views of pure amazingness and don't forget to open up the hidden little door where there is a pad of paper for you to sign and make your mark.
Tony V. on Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak
Great views. You can see all the way out to Catalina Island on a clear day. Elevation gain was moderate and not too challenging.
So I have to correct something I wrote in a previous review. I wrote that the view was only a water view. Well...that's incorrect. Turns out when there isn't a cloud bank you can see Catalina and the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Really improves the view. Still doesn't last for very long but at least it's a better view. There still are better hikes for ocean views along the coast.