Distance: >9 miles
Elevation Gain: >2,000 ft.
LEVEL: Advanced beginner/moderate
From the 101, exit Kanan Road and go south. Continue on Kanan Road until you reach Mulholland Highway and then turn right. You'll come to a split, stay to the right, which will be Encinal Canyon Road. Continue on Encinal Canyon Road until the road ends to a T-intersection. Make a right to Lechusa Road, which eventually turns into Decker Road.
When you reach a three-way intersection, make a left on Mulholland Highway. Turn right on Little Sycamore Canyon Road, which turns into Yerba Buena Road, staying to the left. There will be two dirt parking lots on either side of the street. We will meet here at the parking lots.
"Sandstone Peak, the Boney Range, all of the Santa Monica Mountains (including the Hollywood Hills), and the Northern Channel Islands belong to a narrow, east-west trending belt of uplifts that are the result of folding and faulting during the last 3 million years. The belt is still earthquake active and underlain by the large Elysian Park thrust fault.
"On a clear day from the crest of the Boney Range, one can appreciate the alignment of uplifts by looking eastward towards the Los Angeles basin, and westward and offshore towards the islands. An erosion resistant sequence of volcanic breccias (angular fragments) form the crest of the Boney Range. The breccias are within thick lahars deposits (volcanic debris flows) that belong to the Conejo Volcanics that were laid down 16-13 million years ago along the slopes of a massive coastal volcanic complex that is no longer active." Credit: Thom Davis
"The Mishe Mokwa Trailhead can be reached about 0.3 miles along the Backbone Trail from its connection with Yerba Buena Road (about half a mile east of the Sandstone Peak Trailhead). It can also be reached from the Sandstone Peak Trailhead and the Connector Trail (part of the Backbone Trail). The trail climbs gently through chaparral around the east side of Sandstone Peak, eventually descends into Carlisle Canyon, and you can see Echo Cliffs and Balanced Rock. We will veer off to explore the Balanced Rock before continuing on to Split Rock.
Near the canyon the trail becomes shadier under Oak and Laurel trees. The trail eventually enters the canyon at Split Rock, a volcanic breccia that is split into three pieces. You can walk through two of these pieces.
After Split Rock the trail soon goes uphill. Two water tanks become visible on the opposite site of the area just below Exchange Peak. The trail now turns and leads towards the water tanks. We'll pass a trail heading north towards Tri Peaks. We'll take this trail, and if any one feels adventurous playing and climbing through the formations and the caves can do so while the rest of the group takes a lunch break.
Then we'll continue towards the water tanks and further uphill towards Sandstone Peak.
A short, fun, scramble will lead us to the top of Sandstone Peak with magnificent views all around on clear days. We'll return down the steep used trail on the west side of the peak to the main trail that will lead east then south around Sandstone Peak. After several switchbacks, we will see the Connector Trail veering off to the left and take it back to where it intercepts the Mishe Mokwa Trail back to our cars.
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