The park is situated at the western end of the Santa Monica mountains, where they descend into the Pacific Ocean. I was astonished by the diversity of the landscape and flora there. We entered the park from north, where the scenery was dominated by rolling hills and grassland. Less than a mile into the park, we started ascending into the brush and succulent covered mountains that I so strongly associate with Southern California. Our trail led us into the forested Sycamore Canyon, terminating at a refreshingly cool albeit anemic waterfall.
We descended back along the stream bed down the canyon until it met up with Fossil Trail. We followed this deserted trail up an arduous ascent and were greeted with views of a network of canyons below, Boney Mountain summit above, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. True to the trail’s name, there was a rock formation containing dozens of fossilized shellfish midway to the top.
At the top of the trail, we followed another trail back along the ridge of Sycamore Canyon which offered a more gentle descent back to the valley floor. A large section of this trail was covered by a dense grove of trees arching over the path giving the impression of walking through a long narrow cathedral. Combined with the singing birds and an absence of other people, it made for a supremely serene ramble.
Peter and I only explored a small corner of the park on our hike. Given more time, I would love to return to scale the higher peaks and hike down to the ocean. I will certainly return to Point Mugu state park.