dogs on leash

wild flowers

nature trips

trail running



kid friendly

mountain biking


horseback riding

The Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area or SMMNRA, is a United States National Recreation Area containing many individual parks and open space preserves, located primarily in the Santa Monica Mountains of Southern California. The SMMNRA is located within the greater Los Angeles region, with two thirds of the parklands in northwest Los Angeles County, and the remaining third including a Simi Hills extension in southeastern Ventura County, California.

Beautiful trail! Took us 4 hours to complete the loop. Amazing views. Weather was perfect. I can see how this would be difficult on a very hot summer day since there isn't much shade for most of the trail. Had a short snack break at the table near split rock. Looking forward to returning to this trail in the winter or spring.

Overall a great hike though I agree with several other folks that it's more of a moderate plus plus... definitely more difficult that other moderate trails I've taken.

Getting to the trail head... I used Waze and it took me to the Backbone Trail parking not the main area... luckily once you go up Backbone, you join the main trail pretty quickly.

I was a little turned around and went to the left which took me on the short route to Sandstone Peak which was awesome. Unfortunately, with the payoff so early in the hike, it made the back portion along the Mishe Mokwa drag on a bit.

Also, by going in reverse, I really got turned around and ended up straying from the main path several times (down Backbone and Tri Peaks) which added a couple miles to the journey. Normally I wouldn't have minded the diversion, but it was 100 degrees and my water supply was running low. I've since learned my lesson.... I now bring more water that I think I'll need and I invested in a Garmin. :)

Overall I highly recommend.

1 day ago

Pretty nice hike. Breath-taking views at the peak but the path is a little obscure so use your best judgment once you hit the final scramble.

The entrance kind of sucks for smaller cars since its very uneven and rocky. A small car can still make it if you take your time. And its very short (unlike the drive to get to AZTEC FALLS!). People kind of make it sound worse than it actually is.

After half a mile or so up the hike, you'll have to choose between taking the Sandstone path or the Mishe Mokwa path (red pill or blue pill). Its a loop so technically it doesn't matter since you'll be covering the same mileage.

But here's the difference - taking the Sandstone path is a shorter path to get to the peak, HOWEVER, the incline is much more drastic than taking the more gradual incline of the Mishwe Mokwa path. Me? I mistakenly took the Sandstone path - no ragrets though because beating everyone else to the peak and having the view to myself for a couple hours was worth it. In all honesty, its not so bad.

If you reached the antenna, congratulations! You climbed to the wrong peak because as you look to the left, you'll see the TRUE peak (I made this mistake so its okay if you did or will as well)! But we're not here to talk about the phony peak, we're here to talk about the mt allen peak!

At the REAL peak, you'll notice a plaque dedicated to Mr. W Herbert Allen who did much for the Boy Scouts of America (4-H ALL THE WAY BABY!). Beneath the plaque is a rectangular slit covered by a...cover that hinges upwards. Inside are notebooks and pens for you to write your life experiences. Me? I wrote people who done me wrong. LOL JK (or am i?)

After you're done taking in the scenery, breathing in the southern california air, and taken plenty of instagram selfies, its time to take on the other parts of the hike.

Returning down to the main trail and onto the backbone, you'll eventually come across Inspiration Point! I stood there debating if i should take it one since all i really wanted to do at that point was to eat sushi. I decided, the heck with it, what's another mile? PLOT TWIST! it only took a few yards to actually reach Inspiration Point. Once you reach the block with a plaque that describes how this place was created by an eagle scout (still 4-H BABY!), there's a circular plaque on the top surface that if you turn it based on the direction the arrows point to, a cave will open and lead you to an 80s arcade. JUST KIDDING! but the plaque is still pretty cool.

Continuing on, at this point i'm really hungry for sushi, you'll traverse for another 2 or so more miles until you return to your car.

Overall, this hike was pretty neat and cool with all the sweet historical stuff. I am disappointed that there aren't any plaques dedicated to any 4-H individuals. House 4-H abides by these words: HEAD, HEART, HANDS, and HEALTH! (Game of Thrones anyone?)

Fantastic loop with plenty to see. Ocean on one side valley on the other. Plus plenty of extensions to modify your day!

2 days ago

2 days ago

enjoyed this CA hike.