Hike Mugu Peak Trail
|In This Guide|
|Total Distance (?)||3 miles (4.8 km)|
|Hike Time||2 Hours (Total)|
|Total Ascent (?)||1,270 feet (387m)|
|Highest Elevation||1,266 feet (386m)|
|Fees & Permits||Free|
|Alerts & Closures (?)||Point Mugu State Park|
|Weather & Forecast||Latest Conditions|
|Stay Safe||Copy this webpage link to the clipobard and share with a friend before you hike. Let them know when to expect you back.|
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
There is no parking pass needed here.
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.
Garmin InReach Mini 2
I’m a firm believer in carrying a satellite communications device which works where cell phones don’t. I use a Garmin InReach which lets me send text messages back and forth to my family to let them know that I’m okay or if my plans change when I’m out in the backcountry. It also has an SOS subscription built-in so that you can reach first-responders in an emergency. The devices also offer weather reports, GPS, and navigation functionality (what’s the difference between a GPS and satellite communicator?). For a few hundred bucks they could save your life, so for me it’s a no brainer to have something like a Garmin InReach. If you use a smartphone to navigate and want a more affordable option that integrates with your phone easily, check out the ZOLEO.
Latest Prices: Amazon | REI
Altra Lone Peak 6
For most people, the Altra Lone Peak is a solid choice that will leave your feet feeling great at the end of any hike. The feel is cushy and light, and if it had a car equivalent, this would be a Cadillac or Mercedes Sedan. The grip is great and they’re reasonably durable for this type of trail runner, which I think is better in most conditions than a hiking boot, and here’s why. The downside of this shoe is that it won’t last as long as something like the Moab 2 (see alternate footwear choices at the bottom of my gear page). I’ve been using mine for many miles and my feet always feel great. I have a video on the details of the Altra Lone Peak 6 here.
Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Men’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork Trekking Poles
I’ve gone back and forth on trekking poles, but I think for most people they are a good investment. They help you dig in on the uphills, provide stability on loose downhills, act as a brace when crossing streams, and can probably poke away aggressive wildlife in a pinch. The Trail Ergo Cork poles are a good balance of light weight, durability, affordability, and ease of use. If you want something ultralight and a little more pricey, I’ve had great luck with the Black Diamond Z Poles too.
Trail Ergo Poles: REI | Amazon
Z-Poles: REI | Amazon
Gregory Zulu 30 & Jade 28
After testing quite a few backpacks, the Gregory Zulu 30 (and Jade 28 for women) is, for most hikers, the best all-season day-pack. First off, it’s very comfortable, and the mesh “trampoline” back keeps your back dry. Its 30L capacity is enough for all the essentials and plenty of layers for winter hiking. External pockets make it easy to grab gear. It’s hard to find something wrong with the pack; if anything, it could be a bit lighter, but overall, it’s not heavy. And its price-point makes it not only affordable but generally a great value.
Women’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Men’s Latest Prices: REI | Amazon
Here’s my complete gear list that I personally use, have tested, and recommend, updated May 2022.
No company pays me to promote or push a product, all the gear you see here is gear I use and recommend. If you click an a link and buy gear, I get a small commission that helps keep the website ad and promotion free. There is no cost to you.
Mugu Peak Trail Maps
Explore Map on CalTopoView a Printable PDF Hike MapDownload the Hike GPX File
If you try to download the GPX file and your browser adds a “.txt” or “.xml” extension to it, simply rename it as a “.gpx” file.
How Are You Going to Navigate This Hike?
Here’s what I use. If you are a hardcore hiker and/or hike in extreme conditions, I recommend getting a dedicated GPS like a GPSMAP 66sr or 66i, or a wrist-based GPS with maps like the Garmin Fenix 7 or Epix. If you only hike in fair weather and a touchscreen is fine, or just want a solid tool, I highly recommend downloading the smartphone app, Gaia GPS. It’s a piece of cake to use and very powerful, just make sure your phone is in airplane mode so the battery doesn’t drain. You can also check for wildfires, weather, snow, and choose from dozens of map types with a premium membership (HikingGuy readers get a big discount here). Note that I also carry a paper map with me in case the phone dies or gets smashed.
- The trail we’ll take up the climb is called the Chumash Trail, named after the native peoples who originally lived here. It is believed that the Chumash used this trail as early as 7,000 years ago. It is the only (open and accessible) native trail in the Santa Monica Mountains.
- Mugu is named after the Chumash village Muwu, oncelocated by the trailhead. It was the largest coastal settlement in the area and is even noted by the Spanish explorer Juan Rodríguez Cabrillo in his 1542 journal. By the early 1800s the village was gone, a victim of western encroachment and expansion.
- It’s not uncommon to see Naval aircraft flying in the area. North of the trail is Naval Base Ventura County, originally the major staging base for the Navy Seabees construction force during World War 2.
Mugu Peak Hike Directions
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Turn by Turn Directions
This guide last updated on March 11, 2022. Did something change on this hike? If so, please contact me and let me know. I'll update the guide.