Santa Monica sunset
Hidden in plain sight from Los Angeles, the Santa Monica Mountains offer easy access to surprisingly wild places.
Beaches along the Malibu coast include Surfrider Beach, Zuma Beach, Malibu Beach, Topanga Beach, Point Dume Beach, County Line, and Dan Blocker Beach. State parks and beaches on the Malibu coast include Malibu Creek State Park, Leo Carrillo State Beach and Park, Point Mugu State Park, and Robert H. Meyer Memorial State Beach, with individual beaches: El Pescador, La Piedra and El Matador.
The Santa Monica mountain range extends approximately 40 miles (64 km) east-west from the Hollywood Hills in Los Angeles to Point Mugu in Ventura County. The western mountains, separating the Conejo Valley from Malibu, suddenly end at Mugu Peak as the rugged, nearly impassible shoreline gives way to tidal lagoons and coastal sand dunes of the alluvial Oxnard Plain.
The mountain range contributed to the isolation of this vast coastal plain before regular transportation routes reached western Ventura County. The eastern mountains form a barrier between the San Fernando Valley and the Los Angeles Basin, separating “the Valley“ on the north and west-central Los Angeles on the south. The Santa Monica Mountains are parallel to the Santa Susana Mountains, which are located directly north of the mountains across the San Fernando Valley.
Photo by Derick McKinney shot with iPhone XS was published on August 10, 2019.