Mishe Mokwa Trail Hike in Malibu

Brendan and I recently found the Mishe Mokwa trail in the Santa Monica Mountains, which leads to Sandstone Peak. SoCal Hiker has a way better description than I’ll ever write, so check that out if you want the specifics! But…stay here if you want…random comments from me?

So, to get there we drove for a long time up a mountain. I know, SURPRISE, SURPISE. But we drove so far that I was like, what’s even left to hike? We passed a lot of cyclists that made me feel lazy. Do you know how hard it would be to bike up those hills?! I could barely survive Middlebury, Connecticut. Needless to say I promised myself I’d get back on my bike and ride up there one day. Just as soon as I get the spokes fixed. (Last time I went on a ride, a few spokes literally flew off while pedaling. Probz not safe.)

Anywho…after driving seemingly straight up for awhile and debating whether we totally missed the trailhead, we finally came upon a little parking lot and a sign with maps and routes that I did not attempt to read, because you just follow the path, right? (NO.) We started walking with no plan in mind, which is totally smart when you’re hiking an unknown trail.

Within the first 400 meters we were treated to these beautiful ocean views:

Sandstone Peak Hike

We tried to follow the signs on the actual trail but they made zero sense to us. The mileage was confusing – there would be two arrows pointing in seemingly the same direction with distances like 0.6 and 1.2 miles, even though I know the whole loop was around 6 miles. HELP ME UNDERSTAND. Regardless, we just followed the path, which began with a steep uphill and then leveled out a bit. It was really shaded and the temperatures were cool at first.

Sandstone Peak Hike Santa Monica Mountains

Sandstone Peak Hike Santa Monica Mountains Malibu

Do you see that balanced rock? HOW?!

We walked on a narrow path that was dangerously close to a cliff (don’t worry mom we were careful) and saw some people on the other side of the canyon rock climbing/repelling. It was pretty incredible to watch and I found myself wanting to try rock climbing myself one of these days. But mayyyyybe I’ll start at one of those indoor rock climbing walls as opposed to the great outdoors.

rock climbing santa monica mountains sandstone peak hike

You can’t really tell, but there were people climbing up that rock face, near the little cave.

mishe mokwa trail malibu

mishe mokwa trail to sandstone peak

mishe mokwa trail to sandstone peak

At this point we were pretty much constantly in the sun. It started getting rockier and rockier which was super painful on our feet. Since we were wearing running shoes and all.


Sandstone Peak Hike Malibu California

(It got way rockier than that photo above, I swear.)

By this time we were probably about 5 miles in and were getting cranky. And by we I mean me. We were pretty sure it was supposed to be a loop, but then again we weren’t confident we followed the right trails. A girl we asked assured us we were going the right way, so we kept walking. Eventually we saw a tiny little sign pointing up to “Inspiration Point” so we veered off the trail and up the short but steep path.

The ocean views at the top were some of the best I’ve seen since moving here.

Inspiration Point Malibu California

Santa Monica Mountains Malibu Hike

Inspiration Point Santa Monica Mountains Malibu

After hanging out up there for awhile, we headed back down (while crossing our fingers we were going the right way). It got extra rocky as we headed down a steep hill, so our feet and ankles were aching. Definitely come prepared to this one!

As we turned a corner, the tiny parking lot came into view far below. We dropped down quickly and found ourselves back where we started. Thank goodness it was a loop like we thought because I never would have made it back the way we came! Embarrassing admission: we realized afterwards we didn’t make it to the actual Sandstone Peak! Apparently there was a whole other section we missed…but I’m still thrilled with the 7-ish miles we did. It was a great workout and we still got to see those views!

It took us way longer than we thought we so we rushed home to pick up Brendan’s brother from the airport and finished the afternoon at a brewery in the south bay of Los Angeles. Perfect recovery!

Do you like hiking and trail running, or do you prefer to stick to the roads? Know any good trails in SoCal I should try out?

I’m a writer currently living in New Jersey and blogging about running, fitness, wellness, and motivation. I want every reader to laugh and feel empowered, balanced, and motivated! Subscribe by email to get 1-2 newsletters a month with post updates, my favorite articles, running playlists and more!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *