Boney Mountain Loop

New Year’s Eve in Point Mugu State Park.  I pulled a switch at the beginning of the hike as I had planned on hiking Hidden Pond Trail.  When I got to the junction I decided instead to explore the trail on the other side of the road, Fossil Trail.  One thing led to another, Hidden Pond was saved for another day and I looped in front of Boney Mountain instead, visiting a waterfall, an old cabin site and the aforementioned Fossil Trail.  Just a great day, although the trails were really crowded.

1     2   I started off at the end of Wendy Drive in Newbury Park and hiked west toward Satwiwa Park.

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Photo 1 – Now right above the park, a nice view of Boney Mountain.  Photo 2 – The pond next to the Indian Village

5     6     7   Chumash Village mock-up in Satwiwa Park


I then took the paved road down to the trailhead.

9     10   It’s about a mile of hiking on pavement.  From the paved road, I looked into the upper portion of Sycamore Canyon.  I had hiked here a couple of times before and always took the road.  I didn’t know a great trail ran below and parallel to the road.

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17   The area shows damage from a recent fire.  The sycamore trees were showing some color, however.  I crossed the bridge and I took the trail marked Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail, Fossil Trail, etc., and began hiking back toward the direction from which I had just come.  Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail would be the beginning of a loop and I would have to hike it twice, the price I paid for changing my route at the last second.  Photo 4 – 0.1 miles in I passed the unreadable marker for Fossil Trail.  This hike is actually quite well marked.  At this point I wanted to take a quick look and see if I could find any fossils on Fossil Trail.  With all the burnt trees, cold wind and rusted junk on the trail I started to get a really bad vibe.  This felt more like a Halloween hike.

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Rust at the beginning of Fossil Trail.  I saw no fossils but some bones were sitting by the side of the trail.  I turned back at the first creek crossing right before the trail begins to climb up out of the canyon.  Later in the day I would hike down Fossil Trail from the top and pass this stream bed coming from the other direction.

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I returned to Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail and traveled on.  This is a typical “wet” canyon.  The trail disappears every now and then, especially at creek crossings, but it isn’t hard to follow.

26   I had to scramble up this rock wall.  It wasn’t too difficult and I was able to get to the top using just my hiking poles.


The trail rises up and out of Sycamore Canyon.

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30   Photo 1 – Looking back down Sycamore Canyon.  Photo 3 – I passed a perfect rock seat by the side of the trail.

31     32   Photo 2 – I noticed cape ivy creeping it’s way through the canyon.  Here you see two vines just beginning to climb this tree.  If left unabated this ivy will completely smother this tree someday.

33     34     35   I reached a road and the end of Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail.  You can go left 0.4 miles back to Satwiwa Park.  I went right in search of a waterfall and Danielson Monument.

36     37   In short order I reached a hairpin turn, on this day marked with a spray painted rock.  I did not go up the road, instead I went straight toward the waterfall on a well worn trail, hiking next to a creek bed filled with boulders.

38   I reached the waterfall in just a couple of minutes.


Wide shot of the waterfall

40   I backtracked, took that hairpin turn headed up the hill.


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There are signs posted in this area asking people to take photos and then post them to a Flickr page to show how much the environment has recovered from the wildfire.  Photo 2 shows the view from the sign.

44   Further up the road, toward the ocean

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I reached another signed junction.  The trail heading to the right is Old Boney Trail which I would hike later to reach Fossil Trail.  First I went left 0.3 miles to Danielson Monument, a peaceful sitting pavilion.


Also at Danielson Monument is this chimney, all that’s left of an old cabin.

48     49   I returned to the signed junction and headed up some more, now on Old Boney Trail.

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I passed right beneath some of the amazing rock formations.

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After reaching a high point the trail descends.


Way in the distance, the massive military satellite dish that can be seen throughout the park.

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At another signed junction I turned on to Fossil Trail.  It’s steep and very rocky and has some erosion issues.  It did deliver on the fossils, however.  There is a cluster of the shell fossils in one small area.  I continued to look but didn’t find anymore.

59     60     61   Photo 3Next to Fossil Trail is an area that sure looks like a waterfall. Maybe it runs when the rains pours.

62         63        64         65     66     68   Photo 1 – Grinning Tree  At the bottom of Fossil Trail.  I passed the rusted pile of junk again.  And again I hiked through Upper Sycamore Canyon.  When I reached that sign shown previously, this time I went up the hill to the left and toward Satwiwa Park.


From the top I could see Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail running below.

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71   Looking at my map I surmised that the shortest and best way to get back to Wendy Drive was to skirt the outer limits of Satwiwa Park on the right, passing the landmark windmill.

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Photo 1 – As the Sun began to sink, the grass turned a glowing atomic green.  Photo 2 – One last look at Boney Mountain.



Looking toward Conejo Mountain and Dos Vientos Open Space.

76   Late Afternoon – Long Shadow
Great way to say goodbye to 2014.


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