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.
In this Guide:
Video and Turn-by-Turn Directions to Hike the Mugu Peak Trail
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.
As a hiking guide, I test lots of hiking gear. On my picks page, I'll show you all of the gear that I actually use. I don't accept paid promotions or talk about the stuff that doesn't make the cut. It's just the gear that works best, so you don't have to waste your money.
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.
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!).