Mugu Peak Trail: One of the Best Views on a Hike in Malibu

Mugu Peak is located in Point Mugu State Park in the western portion of Malibu. This peak is popular due to its short distance and 360-degree view from the summit. It is a tough climb though, but it is worth the effort to see such a fantastic view like this of a different part of Malibu. Here is all the information if you want to do this hike.


  • 2.7 miles round trip
  • 1200 feet of elevation
  • Bring a hiking pole because it is very steep, especially on the way down
  • Sign at the trailhead said it was not dog friendly
  • Location: 34.09183,-119.06549

Getting There

To get to the trailhead from Malibu, you will head west towards Oxnard and Ventura. As you reach the end of the Santa Monica Mountains, you will see Point Mugu State Park. This trail is outside of the main paid area, so you should get directions to the trailhead from AllTrails or the above coordinates so you don’t miss it. There was a dirt parking area that fit about a dozen cars, but it can fill up quickly on the weekends. It is right along Pacific Coast Highway.

The Mugu Peak Trail

The trail begins from the parking area and immediately heads up. It will be going up all the way to the summit, so be prepared for that.

I underestimated this trail, there are not many switchbacks, and it basically just goes up on a steep dirt path with loose rocks in some sections. It is doable, but not easy.

The trail gives way to nice views quickly as you head up, which makes sense as the ocean is basically right across the street from where you park. 

Getting to the summit is less than a mile and 1,200 feet of elevation, which is why the hike is so tough. That is a lot of elevation gain in such a short period of time.

There are some switchbacks as you head up and not a lot of shade as the plants in this area are pretty short.

The trail eventually hits a large hill that takes you up to the split in the trail. 

From here, it is normally hiked as a loop that goes to the summit and then goes around the front of the mountain to give you great ocean views.

If you want to make it easier but longer, head right and just head back the same way as that is the more gradual way to the summit.

If you want a real test though, head left. This is the way I went first, but it is tough.

Heading left, you will be greeted with a section with no switchbacks that goes straight up the mountainside.  I don’t see this type of thing on trails often, as there are usually switchbacks that make the elevation more gradual. 

It was a steep climb, but I was glad to be doing it on the way up and not the way down.

Once you make it to the top of this section, it gets less steep as you walk the ridgeline and do one more climb to the summit.

The views in this section are particularly amazing as well, looking out over the ocean, PCH, and towards the radar tower on the mountain across from you.

As you cross this last hill, you will see the flag and will be at the summit.

The summit is basically a 360-degree view, and it is pretty spectacular. 

There was a little bench up there to relax at before starting the hike back down. I made a loop of this upper section, so I headed down the other way. 

This section is still steep but nothing compared to the way I came up. The grade gets gradual quickly with a long path that takes you out and around the mountain and provides sweeping views of the ocean and Pacific Coast Highway.

As you make it back near the split, watch for a little spur that takes you out to another fantastic viewpoint. It is about a tenth of a mile, but it is worth it for the perspective shift it gives you.

From here, you will make it back to the end of the loop, where you can start heading back down to the trailhead. 

Take your time in this section as it is steep, and you will be distracted by the views in front of you.

Mugu Peak is a fantastic trail in Malibu, one that will push you but that will reward you at the end as well. I was happy to finally check it off my list, and let me know what you think in the comments. 

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