On Saturday, September 25th, we explored Point Mugu State Park. Our original plan was to hike the La Jolla Canyon Loop with a rewarding 11.75 miles; however, the plans changed as soon as we discovered the La Jolla Canyon trail was closed due to some damage. This trail goes up the canyon, to the waterfall and was the return route for our hike. Instead we explored 12.9 miles of the Ray Miller Trail, the western end of the 67 mile Backbone Trail.
To embark on this adventure you’ll have to start on the La Jolla Canyon entrance of the Point Mugu State Park just across PCH. You can either park along PCH, or drive into the State Park and onto their parking lot (fees apply). We parked along PCH then made our way into the state park. As you walk into the park stay to the left and continue foward until you reach the parking lot.
Once you reach the parking lot, you’ll see the parking fees, have access to porta potties, and a map of the trails. You’ll also notice two trail heads, La Jolla Canyon Trail (closed) and the Ray Miller Trail, the Ray Miller Trail is located on the East side.
When starting the trail make sure to stay to the ocean-side of the mountain, the views are breathtaking! The trial maintains a gradual incline for most of the hike and will gain over 1,200ft from the start of the trail to the highest point of the hike. Don’t worry, you don’t even notice the incline with views like those! On your way up to the top, you’ll see cars driving by on PCH, people swimming in the ocean, bikers cruising along the roads, and feel a nice breeze.
A couple of miles into the hike you’ll reach an overlook, this is a great place to take awesome pictures, enjoy the view of the ocean and mountains, or take a break if you need it. This trail does not offer much shade, so you’ll have to make sure to wear a hat and a lot of sunblock if you are sensitive to the heat! Even though this is early into the hike, I think this is the best place to take a breather or eat a snack because it offers the best views! Below is one of my favorite pictures, mostly because of the beautiful mountain in the back!
When you’re ready to start hiking again, continue onto the trail until you reach a fork. This would indicate you’ve reached the end of the Ray Miller Trail. At the fork, we encountered some pretty awesome rocks that formed a heart and peace sign! We decided to stick to the left of the fork, just because we wanted to add more mileage. We stayed on that trail for about 1.9 miles then took the Wood Canyon Vista Trail that came up on our right. There is a fork on this trail, make sure you go to the LEFT! This path will take you down to the Sycamore Canyon Trail, which is where we turned back. (took the exact same route) Make sure to watch out for bikers!!!!
Overall, I really enjoyed this hike it had some of the best views I’ve ever seen in the Santa Monica Mountains area and I would definitely go back! For someone who hikes often, I wouldn’t say this hike would be difficult. However, for those that don’t hike too often, I would say it’s difficult just because of the millage. Keep in mind that beauty of these trails is that YOU can make the hike as long or short as you want! All these trails connect with each other and there are many signs to ensure you don’t get lost! But if you do, don’t be afraid to ask someone for help, we sure did!