Quantcast
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Explore native grasslands and climb Mugu Peak at Ventura County's Point Mugu State Park.

Up the coast, past Malibu and into Ventura County, Point Mugu State Park sprawls across more than 15,000 acres of ocean-facing hills, valleys, and canyons -- all of it emerald-green in the wake of the recent heavy rains. The several-hour-long (10.8-mile) hiking route described here comprehensively covers the park's western quadrant, which includes some of California's most attractive coastal landscapes. Short-cuts are possible, of course, if you opt for a shorter outing.

Park at the Ray Miller Trailhead, off Pacific Coast Highway. Two trails diverge from the parking lot. The wide one going up along the canyon bottom ahead is the La Jolla Canyon Trail, your return route. To begin, take the narrower Ray Miller Trail to your right, which is the westernmost segment of the Backbone Trail that stretches along (you guessed it) the backbone of the Santa Monica Mountains.

You ascend immediately, enjoying ever-widening ocean views, and reach a junction with the wide, ridge-running Overlook Trail after 2.4 miles. Head left (north) on the Overlook Trail, wend your way around several bumps on the undulating ridge, and arrive at a saddle (4.5 miles from the start) where roads descend both right and left. Go left (west) and descend moderately toward the smooth, verdant floor of La Jolla Valley. The valley harbors native bunchgrass, which constitutes a rare, authentic California "tall-grass prairie."

La Jolla Valley Camp (5.0 miles by way of our circuitous route) has piped water, restrooms, and oak-shaded picnic tables. Continue west in the direction of a military radar installation on distant Laguna Peak. Ignore trails going left, right, and left; you'll want to gradually circle to the southwest and south, heading for a saddle on the right (northwest) shoulder of rounded Mugu Peak. Attaining that saddle at 6.8 miles, you'll enjoy a fabulous view of the Pacific Ocean.

Curving around the south flank of Mugu Peak, you'll arrive (7.7 miles) at another saddle just east of Mugu's 1266-foot high point. Five minutes of climbing on a steep path will get you to the thinly vegetated summit, which features a 360-degree panorama of ocean, coastline, and interior mountains.

Return to the saddle east of the peak and continue descending to a junction (9.0 miles) in a wooded recess of La Jolla Canyon. Turn right, proceed east along a hillside, and then hook up with the La Jolla Canyon Trail, where you turn right again. On this, the final downhill stretch through a rocky gorge, take note of blooming (until May) giant coreopsis, a plant endemic to the Channel Islands and a few locales on the central California coast. A little farther down, you'll pass a grove of native walnut trees and a trickling waterfall in the narrowest part of the gorge.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all

Previous article

As COVID-19 lockdown lifted, mayoral fundraising delivered better results

Bry outdoes Gloria
Next Article

Treetop Tutoring Center: Jeanne Volk‘s triple tutoring whammy

“Kids miss school friends they were used to seeing and playing with most days.”

Up the coast, past Malibu and into Ventura County, Point Mugu State Park sprawls across more than 15,000 acres of ocean-facing hills, valleys, and canyons -- all of it emerald-green in the wake of the recent heavy rains. The several-hour-long (10.8-mile) hiking route described here comprehensively covers the park's western quadrant, which includes some of California's most attractive coastal landscapes. Short-cuts are possible, of course, if you opt for a shorter outing.

Park at the Ray Miller Trailhead, off Pacific Coast Highway. Two trails diverge from the parking lot. The wide one going up along the canyon bottom ahead is the La Jolla Canyon Trail, your return route. To begin, take the narrower Ray Miller Trail to your right, which is the westernmost segment of the Backbone Trail that stretches along (you guessed it) the backbone of the Santa Monica Mountains.

You ascend immediately, enjoying ever-widening ocean views, and reach a junction with the wide, ridge-running Overlook Trail after 2.4 miles. Head left (north) on the Overlook Trail, wend your way around several bumps on the undulating ridge, and arrive at a saddle (4.5 miles from the start) where roads descend both right and left. Go left (west) and descend moderately toward the smooth, verdant floor of La Jolla Valley. The valley harbors native bunchgrass, which constitutes a rare, authentic California "tall-grass prairie."

La Jolla Valley Camp (5.0 miles by way of our circuitous route) has piped water, restrooms, and oak-shaded picnic tables. Continue west in the direction of a military radar installation on distant Laguna Peak. Ignore trails going left, right, and left; you'll want to gradually circle to the southwest and south, heading for a saddle on the right (northwest) shoulder of rounded Mugu Peak. Attaining that saddle at 6.8 miles, you'll enjoy a fabulous view of the Pacific Ocean.

Curving around the south flank of Mugu Peak, you'll arrive (7.7 miles) at another saddle just east of Mugu's 1266-foot high point. Five minutes of climbing on a steep path will get you to the thinly vegetated summit, which features a 360-degree panorama of ocean, coastline, and interior mountains.

Return to the saddle east of the peak and continue descending to a junction (9.0 miles) in a wooded recess of La Jolla Canyon. Turn right, proceed east along a hillside, and then hook up with the La Jolla Canyon Trail, where you turn right again. On this, the final downhill stretch through a rocky gorge, take note of blooming (until May) giant coreopsis, a plant endemic to the Channel Islands and a few locales on the central California coast. A little farther down, you'll pass a grove of native walnut trees and a trickling waterfall in the narrowest part of the gorge.

Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

More palm greasers’ help wanted

Tom Sudberry, Peter Cooper give to Barbara Bry
Next Article

As COVID-19 lockdown lifted, mayoral fundraising delivered better results

Bry outdoes Gloria
Comments
0

Be the first to leave a comment.

Sign in to comment

Sign in

Art Reviews — W.S. Di Piero's eye on exhibits Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Best Buys — San Diego shopping Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits City Lights — News and politics Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Famous Former Neighbors — Next-door celebs Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town Here's the Deal — Chad Deal's watering holes Just Announced — The scoop on shows Letters — Our inbox [email protected] — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Of Note — Concert picks Out & About — What's Happening Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Pour Over — Grab a cup Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer News — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Set 'em Up Joe — Bartenders' drink recipes Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Sports — Athletics without gush Street Style — San Diego streets have style Suit Up — Fashion tips for dudes Theater Reviews — Local productions Theater antireviews — Narrow your search Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Waterfront — All things ocean Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close