After doing a climbing /trail running combo in Pt. Mugu State Park last Sunday, I headed back to Wendy Drive this morning to do a trail run to Mugu Peak and back.
The plan was to get in a long run (20 miles) with fewer “get your feet wet” stream crossings, and also check out the conditions on several trails I hadn’t done this year.
So much for keeping the feet dry! The temp was in the mid-30s when I turned off Big Sycamore Canyon fire road and onto Wood Canyon fire road. The main creek draining Sycamore Canyon cuts across the fire road here, and there was no way I was going to get across it without wading. Some smaller stream crossings followed, ending with Wood Canyon Creek.
My shoes were squish-squashing loudly as I started up Hell Hill. The 600′ climb was almost enjoyable with the cool temperatures. Partway up, a slurry of rock and mud had flowed from the hillside onto the road — the soil saturated from storm after storm.
Several trails/roads converge at the top of Hell Hill, and I turned right onto the fire road that leads to the La Jolla Valley Loop Trail. I like to do Mugu Peak as part of a counterclockwise loop that combines segments of the La Jolla Valley Loop Trail and Mugu Peak Trails.
Long stretches of the La Jolla Valley Loop Trail between the walk-in camp and Mugu Peak were sopping wet. I’ll be curious to see how quickly it dries out, but today (April 2) it was really, really wet.
Mugu Peak was pretty much as it always is on this side — busy and steep. The steepness of the “Direct” trail helped wring the water from my Ultraglides and Injinji socks. By the time I reached the top, my feet were only damp.
Mugu Peak is VERY popular, and there are almost always a few people taking in the wide-ranging views from the summit. Most do the short, steep hike from PCH on the Chumash Trail. A few start at the Ray Miller Trailhead — or like I was doing today — the long route from Wendy Drive.
Although I usually climb the peak, two other options are worthwhile: the loop around the ocean-facing side of Mugu Peak and
the loop around La Jolla Valley.
The wildflowers along the Mugu Peak Trail and La Jolla Loop Trail were fantastic. California poppies were plentiful on the south-facing slopes. The vibrance of the bright orange poppies could not have been better accentuated than by purple lupine. Yellow bush sunflower, royal blue phacelia, and rich red paintbrush also decorated the trail.
I followed my usual route on the way back to Wendy — returning to the Hub, descending Hell Hill, retracing my steps in Wood Canyon, then following the Two Foxes single-track trail north to a short connector to Sycamore Canyon Road. This is near the Danielson Multi-Use Area. Once on Sycamore Canyon Road, the route back was the same as last week — up 1.8 miles of paved road and then onto the Upper Sycamore Trail. After that, up Danielson Road and across Satwiwa to the Wendy Drive trailhead.
Here is an interactive, 3D terrain map of my GPS track to Mugu Peak and back from Wendy Drive. To change the view, use the control on the upper right side of the screen. Track and placename locations are approximate and subject to errors. Poor weather and other conditions may make this route unsuitable for this activity.