Sandstone Peak is the highest point in the Santa Monica mountains at 3,111'. There's a nice 6 mile loop that can be done in both directions and combined with several offshoots to make for a great 17 mile, 4,100' gain day.
1 Sandstone Peak trailhead. Parking here is extremely tough on the weekends. I started a couple miles down the road at Circle X Ranch and ran from there.
2 The Mishe Mokwa plus Backbone trails form a nice 6 mile loop. I ran it counter-clockwise first then clockwise on the way back.
3 Echo Cliffs near the end of Carlisle Canyon.
4 Looking down the canyon.
5 Now high above Echo Cliffs.
6 Zoomed in on a group of rock climbers at the base of the cliffs.
7 Split Rock about a third of the way around the loop on the Mishe Mokwa trail.
8 The first good look at Exchange, Boney, and Sandstone Peaks.
9 A closer look at the peaks.
10 The Tri-Peaks area about halfway around the loop.
11 Tri-Peak at 3,010' is just a bit lower than Sandstone Peak.
12 A couple guys look stuck scrambling around the peak.
13 Geological marker on Tri-Peak.
14 About two-thirds around the loop is a short offshoot to Inspiration Point.
15 Unfortunately, it's a really foggy day so the view from the peak wasn't entirely inspiring.
16 It's crowded though with a Boy Scout troop on the peak.
17 Nice view across the canyon from the South side of the loop.
18 Ready to take the offshoot up to Sandstone Peak.
19 The statue on Sandstone Peak.
20 A panoramic look inland from Sandstone Peak.
21 This is supposed to be one of the best views in Southern CA. I'll have to come back on a clearer day.
22 Spring wildflowers are in bloom.
23 Heading down the Backbone trail from Sandstone Peak. You can see Lake Malibu in the distance.
24 After making it to the bottom of the Backbone trail, I turn around and head back up to Sandstone Peak for the clockwise loop. I passed several people on the way down and then passed them again on the way up. I got several crazy looks and comments.
25 Second summit of the day. It's a bit clearer this time around. Looking across at the scramble to the peak.
26 A little bit clearer this time but still no ocean view.
27 Now I continue the clockwise loop and head down the Mishe Mokwa trail.
28 The unmaintained trail out to Balance Rock. Sounds like my kind of trail. Unfortunately, I don't have time to do it today. Maybe next time.
29 Balance Rock. Definitely need to take the trail out there next time.
30 Coming back down Carlisle Canyon in the afternoon.
31 The downhill is definitely much nicer on Mishe Monkwa than on the Backbone side of the loop. I reach the bottom of Mishe Monkwa and then cross over to the Sandstone Peak trailhead and then back to Circle X Ranch. Another great day in the Santa Monica Mountains in the books.