Set on the coast between Oxnard and Malibu, Point Mugu State Park is dressed to impress. Make a date with its namesake peak on a 5-mile (round-trip) summit-bagging hike that shows off the best of the park. Starting at the Chumash trailhead, you’re immediately greeted with a three-quarter-mile ascent along a chaparral- and cactus-lined path offering views of the Channel Islands. Gravity soon provides relief on the descent into the lush La Jolla Valley. Framed by the rugged Boney Mountain Ridge, this valley is like a mini Eden with its billowing grass, stream bisecting an oak grove and tapestry of wildflowers like blue-eyed grass, California poppy and yellow coreopsis. Follow the trail from the meadow as it hugs the south flank of Mugu Peak. The final push to the mostly bald summit will have you huffing, but the top-out panorama is worth the work: at more than 1,200 feet, views of the Pacific and the Santa Monica Mountains stretch on for miles. Pure Mugu magic.
From westbound Pacific Coast Highway (1) in Malibu, the Chumash trailhead is 16.8 miles past Kanan Rd. and 3.5 miles past Sycamore Canyon, across from Mugu Lagoon; from the north, it’s 2.3 miles past Las Posas Rd. in Oxnard. Ascend Chumash Trail to a T junction and take the left fork into La Jolla Valley. At the junction with La Jolla Valley Loop Trail, go right. Take a right at the next fork as well, circling back to Mugu Peak. Continue until you reach a junction with Mugu Peak Trail on the right. Take this right turn to ascend the ridge; at the next trail split, veer right to the summit. From the summit, descend back to the trail split, this time taking the left fork, which connects to the first T junction at the top of Chumash Trail. Take the Chumash Trail back to the parking lot. No dogs.