“You are not a drop in the ocean. You are the entire ocean in a drop.” Rumi
Why This Mountain?
Sandstone Peak is a highly sentimental peak for both Tami and TJ. It is a peak that TJ has led many hikers on as a guide and the Santa Monica mountains were her main trails during her time as the hiking manager for a fitness resort. Sandstone Peak was the first mountain Tami ever hiked. It was the third training hike she did during her six months of training to hike Half-Dome.
Mountain & Route Facts
Sandstone Peak, also known as Mount Allen, is a mountain in Ventura County, California, and the highest summit in the Santa Monica Mountains with an elevation of 3,114 feet (949 m). Located near the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the summit provides panoramic views of Malibu, The Pacific Ocean, Santa Monica, the Conejo Valley, and four of the Channel Islands. The Sandstone Peak Trail, which leads to the top, connects to a vast trail system in the area, including the Backbone Trail.
We hike the Mishe Mowka trail. This is the longer loop and the lesser known of the trailheads for Sandstone Peak. It’s a gradual incline and takes about 4.5 miles to reach the summit of Sandstone Peak. The last little tenth of a mile to the summit has a tiny rock scramble where a handhold is needed once or twice. There are two fun stops on the way to the summit – Split Rock (get pictures in the crack, standing on top or even leaping across the crack) and Inspiration Point (great views of the Pacific Ocean). From the summit, it’s a quick 1.5 miles back to the parking lot down a gradual decline. The trail is well-maintained and mainly dirt. There are some shaded areas, but where sunscreen as the majority of the trail is exposed to the sun. If you are feeling adventurous there is a trail about 3 miles in that leads down a more overgrown trail to the back-side of Tri-Peaks. TJ and I explored this area a few years ago.
Historical and Cultural Information
The Santa Monica Mountains are in southern California. Sandstone Peak is located in Malibu which is just North of Los Angeles.
California is the most populous state in the US. It is also the third most extensive in area (after Alaska and Texas). Los Angeles is the second most populous city in the US behind New York. The state’s capitol is Sacramento, which is located in Northern California.
California contains both the highest point (Mount Whitney) and the lowest point (Death Valley) in the contiguous United States. Earthquakes are common because of the state’s location along the Pacific Ring of Fire. About 37,000 earthquakes are recorded each year, but most are too small to be felt.
What is now California was first settled by various Native American tribes before being explored by a number of European expeditions during the 16th and 17th centuries. It was then claimed by the Spanish Empire as part of Alta California in the larger territory of New Spain. Alta California became a part of Mexico in 1821 following its successful war for independence, but was ceded to the United States in 1848 after the Mexican–American War. The western portion of Alta California was organized as the State of California, which was admitted as the 31st state on September 9, 1850. The California Gold Rush starting in 1848 led to dramatic social and demographic changes, with large-scale immigration from the east and abroad with an accompanying economic boom.