Tri Peaks Hike Malibu Backbone Trail Santa Monica Mountains

Want to add another peak to the Sandstone Peak-Mishe Mokwa loop? The side trail to Tri Peaks offers an additional 1.2 miles of rugged (but not too steep) hiking. The offshoot is far less maintained than the main loop and appears to get frequent visits from water runoff. Getting to Tri Peaks involves hiking up a trail that has devolved into a gully. If that doesn’t bother you, hike the extra track to Tri Peaks. The westward views are worth the extra effort.

Tri Peaks Hike
Hiking to Tri Peaks

First hike the initial 3 1/3 miles of the loop on Mishe Mokwa Trail toward Sandstone Peak. At the Backbone Trail junction turn right, following the sign for Tri Peaks. Make two more right turns at similarly well marked junctions to arrive at the base of this fun sandstone outcropping. As the trail dissolves, make your way up upon the rocks and take in the view to the west over Point Mugu State Park.

Tri Peaks Santa Monica Mountains
Tri Peaks

Climb around on the rocks and enjoy all there is to see. Tri Peaks is only one hundred feet shorter than Sandstone and offers great views to the north and west. With Tri Peaks added to the Sandstone Peak loop, the hike comes to a respectable 7.45 miles.

Woolsey Fire Update: Trails around Circle X Ranch have reopened following the November 2018 Woolsey Fire. Check the NPS Circle X Ranch webpage for more information.

To get to the trailhead: Take PCH to the far west end of Malibu. Make a right on Yerba Buena Road (just past Neptune’s Net Restaurant) and drive up Yerba Buena for 5.5 miles to the Circle X Ranch Ranger Station. Continue past the ranger station up Yerba Buena Road another mile and turn left into the Sandstone Peak trailhead parking lot. Bathroom are located at the trailhead and the Circle X Ranch Ranger Station.

Trailhead address: 12896 Yerba Buena Road, Malibu, CA 90265
Trailhead coordinates: 34.1116, -118.9268 (34° 06′ 41.8″N 118° 55′ 36.5″W)

Elevation Profile
Click or hover over any spot on this elevation profile to see the distance from the start and elevation above sea level at that location, which will be highlighted on the map.
Trail Map

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Tri Peaks Circle X Ranch MalibuTri Peaks Circle X Ranch MalibuTri Peaks Circle X Ranch MalibuTri Peaks Circle X Ranch MalibuTri Peaks Circle X Ranch MalibuTri Peaks Circle X Ranch Malibu

These photos were taken in August of 2007 and May of 2011. Click to enlarge.
Nearby Trails
sandstone peak malibu Sandstone Peak
This 6.25-mile loop summits the tallest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains.
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Malibu Springs Trail Nicholas Flat via Malibu Springs Trail
This scenic 7-mile round trip hike ascends 1,425 feet to meadows and a pond on Nicholas Flat in Leo Carrillo State Park.
malibu trails More trails in the Santa Monica Mountains
Explore beyond Circle X Ranch to other destinations in the range.

One Comment on Tri Peaks in the Santa Monica Mountains

  1. Brian wrote:

    This is a great trail write-up and this is one of our favorite hiking locations. Keep up the good work.

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