Sunset Hike to Saddle Peak in the Santa Monica Mountains

Saddle Peak


From the issue The Magic Hour

Saddle Up

Catching a sunset from a summit can be spectacular—especially when the hike back down doesn't leave you in the dark. Luckily, Saddle Peak—one of the tallest in the Santa Monica Mountains—can be reached via a 1-mile (one-way) trail that offers massive views across mountains and sea. Start at the Lois Ewen Overlook, where you'll rise above the road on a very short section of the Backbone Trail. The high end of the saddle sits at 2,800 feet, with clear southward views down the Malibu coast toward Los Angeles. Its opposite perch is only slightly lower and easily accessed by dipping across the "saddle." Radio towers inhabit the area, along with clusters of sandstone boulders. Scramble to a rocky perch and watch the sun sink over the west end of the range, draping the Boney Mountains in navy and pink hues. Afterward, it's just a 1-mile hike back to your car. Magic.

Take the US-101 to Agoura Hills. Exit at Las Virgenes Rd. and continue south for 3.2 miles. Turn left at the light onto Mulholland Hwy. Go 4 miles and turn right on Stunt Rd. Drive 4 miles up the mountain to Lois Ewen Overlook at the intersection with Schueren Rd. Park on the left and walk a tenth of a mile back down the road. Cross the road and start up the trail to Saddle Peak. After 0.7-mile, turn left, leaving the Backbone Trail. Hike a tenth of a mile to the next junction. Turn left up a short spur to the summit or turn right to cross the mountain's saddle to the lower peak with a better sunset view. The curfew for parking at the trailhead is 9:00 p.m. No dogs.

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