• Stars appear behind a dramatic landscape of rocky mountains, rolling hills, and fields of grass

    Santa Monica Mountains

    National Recreation Area California

Backbone Trail from Danielson Ranch (Pt Mugu State Park) to Circle X (NPS) - Sandstone Peak parking lot

  • Mileage: 8.1 miles
  • Agencies: Pt. Mugu State Park, and National Park Service (NPS) Circle X Ranch. You will hike partly on old fire road, partly on multi-use trails, and partly on single track trails.
  • Flora: Coastal Sage Scrub, Oak Woodlands and Chaparral. Chaparral grows at a higher elevation than Coastal Sage Scrub and requires more water, although chaparral plants are still considered very drought tolerant. The large chaparral shrubs create dense stands that are hard to walk through; they have tough leathery leaves or needle like leaves. There are many characteristic plants: scrub oak, red shanks, chamise, ceanothus and manzanita.
  • Geology: You'll go from just above sea level at Danielson Ranch to the highest point in the Santa Monicas (Sandstone Peak at 3111'). You will see evidence of the geologic changes all around this area, especially at Sandstone Peak, which is not sandstone at all, but volcanic in nature.
  • Caution: This hike is a steady uphill ascent from sea level to 3000'.
 

Did You Know?

Rangers from California State Parks and the National Park Service discuss program ideas.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area was established in 1978, but the National Park Service did not own public parkland in the area until 1980. National Park Rangers devised clever ways to promote the national park goals without land by creating thriving partnerships with many agencies.