Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Mugu Peak

Hiked: 4/16/2014
Distance: 2.1 miles round trip on trail
Summit Elevation: 1266'
Prominence: 380'
Elevation Gain: 1250'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 1.00
Round trip time: 1 hour
Recommended water: 24 oz.
Parking/Fees: Free at Chumash trail turnout on PCH
Difficulty: Easy

The Chumash trail leaves from a small turnout off the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. With some spirited driving, I arrived in less than two hours and before sunrise. I had planned to start with a nice Malibu sunrise, but started in the dark with only my flashlight, having misplaced my headlamp. The trail gained elevation at a healthy pace and soon I had to stop and shed my top layer. There was evidence of the 2013 Malibu fire from melted piles of cactus and small charred trees. It took me 40 minutes to get to the top, where an American flag and busted ammo box stuffed with registers and loose paper greeted me. The top had been torn off the ammo box and the paper inside was damp. I did my best to tidy it up and replace the lid, but didn't sign it. I took one photo of Malibu lagoon and cursed the marine layer that was blocking what I suspected were fantastic views of the ocean. On the 20 minute descent, I passed a stream of hikers on their way up, some military, some civilians. I was surprised to see the small parking lot completely full when I got back to my car. A full lot before 7 AM? This hike appeared to be wildly popular. I took advantage of my head start on time and drove immediately to the Sandstone Peak Trailhead on Yerba Buena road where I had some unfinished business.

Chumash Trailhead sign

Approaching Mugu Peak

Mugu Peak flag and ammo box register

Malibu Lagoon from Mugu Peak


  1. Sound likes you started at the right time! Full parking lot before 7AM, midweek? Crazy.

    1. Noel,

      Yup, glad I did this one first. I was looking forward to a spectacular Malibu sunrise but the marine layer had other plans.