Moderate to difficult, 6-mile loop, 1,100-foot elevation gain
At 3,111 feet Sandstone Peak isn’t all that tall. It isn’t even sandstone, and the volcanic summit bears a monument heralding Mount Allen. But whether named for the wrong type of rock or, unofficially, a Boy Scout benefactor, Sandstone is the range’s loftiest point, a place where the Santa Monicas feel most mountainous. It’s accessible in the Circle X Ranch area via a 1.5-mile climb up a fire road, which, steep as it is, still seems like cheating. Instead branch off from the fire road on the connector to the Mishe Mokwa Trail for the six-mile loop hike to the summit. Gaining 1,100 feet in elevation, the trail travels through Carlisle Canyon beneath Echo Cliffs before reaching the Split Rock picnic area. In another 1.4 miles Mishe Mokwa joins the Backbone Trail, where you can take a brief side trip for views at Inspiration Point before continuing through a hanging valley of rock outcroppings for the short scramble to the peak. View map.