Hike Mugu Peak Trail

Hike Mugu Peak Trail

In This Guide
  • Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to Hike the Mugu Peak Trail
  • Where to Park for the Mugu Peak Trail
  • Insider Tips & Recommendations
Total Distance (?)3 miles (4.8 km)
Hike Time2 Hours (Total)
Difficulty (?)Moderate
Total Ascent (?)1,270 feet (387m)
Highest Elevation1,266 feet (386m)
Fees & PermitsFree
Dogs AllowedNo
Alerts & Closures (?)Point Mugu State Park
Park Phone805-488-1827
Weather & ForecastLatest Conditions

Don’t let the short distance fool you; the hike up to Mugu Peak is challenging, climbing 1200 feet in about a mile. But with great effort comes a great reward, and the views from the summit of Mugu Peak are spectacular, from the high peaks of the Santa Monica Mountains to the Channel Islands. And while you’re suffering on the climb, let your mind wander by thinking about the trail you are on, used by the native Chumash peoples for over 7,000 years. The Mugu Peak Trail is a fun adventure that’s worth the effort.

Where is Mugu Peak?

The trailhead for Mugu Peak, up the Chumash Trail, is right off the Pacific Coast Highway in Point Mugu State Park. The trailhead doesn’t have any official parking area or park signage, so you have to keep your eyes open for it. Use these GPS addresses:
Chumash Trailhead, Malibu, CA 90265 or 34.09171787401509, -119.06571593445499

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Look for the dirt parking area on the side of the road.
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The lot is a decent size and is across from the old Navy Seabee gunnery range (with the tower across the street).

There is no parking pass needed here.

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The trailhead is at the end of the parking lot.

This hike is best done at sunrise or sunset when the crowds and temps are not too bad.

Gear For the Hike

This isn’t a long hike, and you are best served with light hiking gear or fitness clothes. You’re going to want good footwear for the dirt and rocks, and trekking poles will be helpful on the steep slopes. The coastal weather is often variable, it can be foggy or clear depending on the winds and season.

Gear 2022 8

I waste my time with lousy hiking gear so you don’t have to. Only the winners get onto my gear page. There’s no fluff, sponsorships, or promotions. It’s just gear I personally use, have tested, and recommend. Right now I’m liking my inReach Mini 2, Garmin Epix, and Lone Peak 6 shoes.
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My September 2022 Top Gear Picks

Mugu Peak Trail Maps

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Elevation Profile

Hike Mugu Peak Trail Elevation
Not many climbs in SoCal do 1200 feet of climbing in 1 mile, but the Mugu Peak Trail does. On the way back down, we’ll take a gentler slope so that we can enjoy the ocean views.

3D Map

Hike Mugu Peak Trail 3d Map
We’re going to hike in a clockwise lollipop loop. The view on this 3d map is accurate; it’s a tough climb directly from the coast.

Hike Brief

Chumash Village
Point Mugu and the valleys above it were originally Chumash lands. The Chumash would hunt and fish along the coast, and then bring it up to villages in the valleys behind Mugu Peak. Image Museum of Ventura County

Mugu Peak Hike Directions

Video Directions

Have a question about the guide or want to see what other people are saying/asking? View the Youtube comments for this video. Leave a comment and I will do my best to respond.

Turn by Turn Directions

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Start at the unmarked trailhead at the end of the parking lot.
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Right from the gun it’s a steep uphill. This is the Chumash Trail.
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Avoid the small trails heading off the main trail. Keep heading uphill on the wide trail.
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You’ll be able to see the trail winding up in front of you.
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Take breaks and turn around to admire the view. In the distance are the Channel Islands of Anacapa and Santa Cruz (the big one).
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There are some trail posts along the way, but they’re pretty random.
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The trail is rocky and can be loose. Look for the sections that don’t have gravel, which is easier to ascend.
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As you ascend you’ll start to see the saddle. We’re hiking to the saddle, and then up toward Mugu Peak on the right.
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After about 0.3 miles the grade eases up for a second.
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And you can see it get steeper again shortly.
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Keep hiking up the steep section.
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And when you get to the t-junction, make the hard left.
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You’ll wind around to the saddle and see the trail going up the slope to the right.
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The section ahead is steep.
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Before you ascend you’ll get nice views of the La Jolla Valley and La Jolla Peak in the distance. The valley here was a popular place for Chumash settlements.
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Okay, grind your teeth and head up the last real steep section.
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Look behind you to see the Navy satellite tracking station on Laguna Peak, the westernmost peak in the Santa Monica Mountains.
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And off to your right is the spectacular Boney Mountains range by Sandstone Peak. These are the tallest peaks in the Santa Monica Mountains.
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One last little section of uphill to Mugu Peak.
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And soon you’ll see the flag in the distance.
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Here you are at Mugu Peak! The flag was placed here by the Chief Petty Officers Association after 9/11.
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To the north is the Naval Air Station and Mugu Lagoon.
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To the south is Sandy Dune, formed by the winds off the ocean blowing sand up the mountain.
Hike Mugu Peak Trail San Nicolas
And on a clear day you can see San Nicolas Island, the most remote of all the Channel Islands. It is the site inhabited by the famous “Lone Woman of San Nicolas Island” and now serves as a Navy munitions testing base. It was also a candidate for detonating the world’s first atomic bomb during the Manhattan Project (which ended up happening in New Mexico).
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When you’re done at the summit, continue down the other side. you’ll see the trail unfold in front of you.
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And if you look down, you’ll see the loop trail that you’ll return on.
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When you see the large trail off to your right, make the turn.
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Now you have a gentle descent down an old dirt road along the ridge. Enjoy the views.
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The views of Santa Cruz Island are great from here.
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You’ll round a bend and see the Chumash Trail that you came up on below.
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When you get to the t-junction where you came up, make the left and continue downhill.
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The downhill is steep so watch your step.
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And in about 3 miles you’re back where you started!

Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.

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This Guide Was Written by Cris Hazzard

Cris Hazzard 4 Mile Trail Yosemite
Hi, I’m Cris Hazzard, aka Hiking Guy, a professional outdoors guide, hiking expert, and author based in Southern California. I created this website to share all the great hikes I do with everyone else out there. This site is different because it gives detailed directions that even the beginning hiker can follow. I also share what hiking gear works and doesn’t so you don’t waste money. I don’t do sponsored or promoted content; I share only the gear recommendations, hikes, and tips that I would with my family and friends. If you like the website and YouTube channel, please support these free guides (I couldn’t do it without folks like you!).

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