Waterfall, Wildflowers, and a Chumash Hike

A Visit to Satwiwa Cultural Center and a Chumash Hike in the Santa Monica Mountains

Under the shadow of majestic Boney Mountain, Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a fascinating place to explore, with gorgeous hiking paths like the Satwiwa Loop Trail and an optional side-trip into Point Mugu Wilderness to see splashy wildflowers and an impressive waterfall. Named after a nearby Chumash village (“satwiwa” means “the bluffs” in the Chumash language), the cultural center was built on the site of an ancient Chumash trade route in Sycamore Canyon.  A trail system branching out from it weaves around the base of the mountain on the border of Point Mugu State Park.

From the parking area, follow the trail for a quarter-mile to reach the cultural center. Exhibits inside interpret the lives of the Chumash as well as the Gabrielino (Tongva) culture, and include a replica of a Chumash grass house. From there, take a walk on the Satwiwa Loop Trail. When you reach a fork, you can either take the 2-mile Upper Loop or the 1-mile Lower Loop.

Gallery image 1 of 13
Gallery image 2 of 13
Gallery image 3 of 13
Gallery image 4 of 13
Gallery image 5 of 13
Gallery image 6 of 13
Gallery image 7 of 13
Gallery image 8 of 13
Gallery image 9 of 13
Gallery image 10 of 13
Gallery image 11 of 13
Gallery image 12 of 13
Gallery image 13 of 13

Pro tip: From the Lower Loop you can tack on an additional 2-mile spur trail through the Point Mugu Wilderness to see a nicely flowing waterfall. Highly recommended! To get to the waterfall, head toward the Lower Loop. Then at the next fork, take the moderate trail into the canyon (a left at the fork, if hiking in a clockwise direction), following signs pointing toward the waterfall. Gentle ocean breezes make for a pleasant hike, with bright wildflowers and sweeping canyon views along the way. After a couple stream crossings and some light boulder scrambling, you’ll reach the beautiful unnamed waterfall. Take a moment to breathe it all in. It’s not hard to see why this area was so special to the early people of this land.

From US-101 in Newbury Park, exit on Lynn Rd. and head west. Turn left on Via Goleta, and the destination will be on your right. The lot is open from 8 a.m. to sunset. The center is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekends only. Satwiwa Cultural Center and the Loop Trail are dog-friendly, but no dogs in Point Mugu Wilderness (the spur trail to the waterfall).

Trending Stories SoCal

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Bouquet of Waterfalls

    Like a good love letter, some of the best hiking trails are short and sweet. Cue the hike to Bouquet Falls in Santa Clarita Valley’s Bouquet Canyon.

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    New Rules of the Trail

    As some parks around California begin to re-open, we came up with tips for being responsible on your outdoor adventures. Let’s do our part so we can all keep enjoying the parks.

    View
  3. Image that represents the story

    Big Time Hike

    This is the largest grove of giant sequoias in Yosemite. We recommend this grand tour hike at 7.5 miles which includes a spectacular overlook.

    View

Trending Stories Northern CA

View all Stories
  1. Image that represents the story

    Tam Slam!

    This 8-mile (round-trip) hike is a pure classic, with redwoods, water-flows, and soaring views of the coastline. Oh yeah, and that ladder!

    View
  2. Image that represents the story

    Easiest Best Hike in the World

    Choose the easiest and most view-rewarding hike in Yosemite. Okay, we’ll go first: the combination of hiking to Sentinel Dome and Taft Point. Both of these lookouts are within a couple miles of each other on Glacier Point Road

    View
  3. Image that represents the story
    Sponsored

    Road Trip Ahead: Oregon Outback

    Remote open spaces, camping under true Dark Skies, hiking and biking trails galore, wildlife refuges, and hot springs! Plan your road trip to the Oregon Outback this summer.

    View
  4. Image that represents the story

    Nice Ring to It

    This tiny but mighty open space preserve on the Tiburon Peninsula can often exhibit a wide range of wildflowers late into the season, not to mention one of the most jaw-dropping views of the bay.

    View