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catching some afternoon rays on the coast
Point Mugu State Park
Closest available address
9000 Pacific Coast Highway Malibu, CA 90265
The park gate is locked from 10pm to 8am, so daylight hours are best.
Best time to visit
Point Mugu State Park is a 14,000 acre park located in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreational Area. Most of the park is remote and rugged; a more accessible unit borders the Pacific Ocean. Park vegetation is mainly grass and shrubs; sycamore and walnut trees are more prevalent in the river valleys. Recreational activities include hiking, biking, horseback riding and camping. Ocean swimming is available at the beach. The Sycamore Canyon campground area is a good point of departure for hiking trails and fire roads.
A number of proposals for a national park or forest were made in the past for the Santa Monica Mountains, but they never came to pass. California eventually took the lead and began aquiring lands in and arount Point Mogu in the 1960s. The land had previously been used for ranching and so was minimally developed. Point Mogu State Park openned in 1967, 11 years prior to the establishment of the national recreation area. Point Mogu is one of several parks in these mountains. Common Trails link most of them together.
Point Mogu had been on the travel agenda for many years due to its remoteness and scenery but for some reason, it was always deferred. Excuses ran out in October 2014. The park website was completely inadequate to plan a trip, but fortunately there are some good third party sites with maps and trail information, such as:
. The Scenic Trail has an elevation gain of about 500 feet, and it’s approximately a mile hike to a great overlook of the Pacific Ocean. If you are in decent shape, you won’t have any issues with the ascent. Trail conditions were good too. The trail was then followed to a fire road heading north and eventually to the Fireline Trail which is a side trail that leads east and connects to the Sycamore Road which leads back to the parking area. The total hike was 4-5 miles. It should be noted that the Fireline Trail was quite narrow in places. Vegetation and brush were minimal on Fireline because of a recent wildfire, but otherwise this side trail can get overgrown. It was still the best option though because the next available loop option with a return via Sycamore Road would have added 5 additional miles to the hike. Privacy was great even on a weekend; there were just a handful of other hikers and bikers. The general scenery and views were also impressive. After finishing the hike, it was off to the beach to walk in the surf and enjoy the sights. The beach section was more crowded than the main park unit but was not saturated. It’s less congested than the beaches in Santa Monica, and the water is cleaner. Point Mogu was nice to visit. It works best for those seeking active recreation or a leisurely beach setting and are OK with few facilities.
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