Visiting Point Mugu for Hiking or Camping

Point Mugu State Park is an adventurer’s paradise and a feast for the senses, with five miles of ocean coastline dotted with dunes, bluffs,  sandy beaches, and 70 miles of hiking trails.

If you wish to camp or hike in the mountains, Point Mugu State Park is the place to go. Hike in the Boney Mountains State Wilderness Area or the Santa Monica Mountains—there are 70 miles of hiking trails to pick from, with some offering spectacular ocean views. One day isn’t nearly enough, so book a campsite at one of the two beachfront campgrounds.

If you’re going Point Mugu camping or hiking, here’s everything you should know.

A Quick Overview of Point Mugu State Park

Point Mugu is a peninsula or cape within Point Mugu State Park on the Ventura County Pacific Coast, near Oxnard and Port Hueneme. The name stems from the Chumash Indian term “Muwu,” which means “beach,” and was first mentioned in Cabrillo’s journals in 1542. Mugu Lagoon is a salt marsh located just up-coast from the Naval Base Ventura County, formerly known as Naval Air Station Point Mugu.

Point Mugu State Park is positioned on 14,000 acres of peaceful and secluded land. It’s suited for hikers of all skill levels, with more than 60 miles of hiking trails. Sycamore Canyon and Thornhill Broome are the two camping areas. 

You can see migrating whales passing by the beach in the spring and late winter.

Hiking Trails in Point Mugu State Park

With over 70 miles of trails, Point Mugu State Park is perfect for both experienced and inexperienced hikers. Some of the hiking trails are even open to horses and bicycles, providing limitless opportunities for exploration. Explore 14,000 acres of scenic land, taking in views of rocky bluffs, dunes, rugged hills, and two beautiful river canyons.

According to hikers who enjoy a challenge, the top trail is Mugu Peak Trail, which boasts beautiful wildflowers. Big Sycamore Canyon Trail is the most family-friendly hike. Enjoy the shade of oaks, sycamores, and native walnut trees while keeping an eye out for wildlife throughout the park.

During the hike, you may see deer, woodpeckers, foxes, and, on rare occasions, a coyote or mountain lion. Bears have been sighted in the state park, though they are rare.

Camping at Point Mugu State Park

Thornhill Broome Campground and Sycamore Canyon Campground are the two main campsites in Point Mugu State Park. Both require reservations and are located directly on the sandy beach, providing breathtaking views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Both locations have picnic areas and fire pits where you can dine while admiring the scenery. And they’re both dog-friendly, so you can bring the whole family.

Check out the camping options in Point Mugu!

Thornhill Broome Campground

Thornhill Broome campground, a part of Point Mugu State Park, is situated between Point Mugu and Sycamore Cove on the Pacific Coast Highway. There are 62 prime camping spots for RVs or tents along the beach.

Portable toilets and water spigots are located at regular intervals throughout the campground. On the sand, there are fire rings and picnic tables. You could pitch tents there.

There are no facilities for day visitors. Reservations, like those at Sycamore Canyon, are not site-specific. However,  campers are usually permitted to look over the available spots once they show up and choose one that suits them.

Big Sycamore Canyon Campground

The Sycamore Canyon campground, with 58 campsites gorgeously shaded by sycamores in the aptly and conveniently named Sycamore Canyon, offers various sites with large yards to sites sheltered among the flora. The areas are somewhat close together, and this campground is well-known for being one of the more social spots, but that’s what camping is all about, right?

The location is within walking distance of the beach and is not excessive in the “wilderness” sense, but it is still fantastic. The campground is also recognized for its cleanliness and availability of all amenities, and it even sells extra firewood on-site if you need it. There is also direct access to hikes and the beach from the campground, so you never need to get in your car!

Sycamore Canyon Campground packs up quickly as reservations become available due to its closeness to beaches near Malibu and Point Mugu State Park. Reservations can be accomplished up to seven months ahead of time. Year-round, new reservations are announced in one-month increments on the first of each month.

Campsites can accommodate up to eight people, one vehicle, and one legally towed trailer or vehicle. There will be an added fee for extra vehicles.

Sycamore Canyon’s showers have gone to a token system. A one-dollar bill inserted into a token machine yield two tokens. There are also cold-water outdoor sinks.

La Jolla Group Campsite

The La Jolla Group Campsite, part of Point Mugu State Park, is across the Pacific Coast Highway. The site can accommodate up to 50 tent campers.

You must have at least nine people to reserve the group site. The parking area can accommodate a maximum of 16 vehicles.

La Jolla Backpacking Campsites

Aside from the group site near a highway, Point Mugu State Park has a collection of backcountry campgrounds in La Jolla Valley. The shortest hike to the campsite is approximately two and a half miles from the trailhead near the La Jolla Group campground described above. The campsites are nestled in the shelter of oak trees.

Register at the trailhead’s iron ranger. There is a vault toilet available, but campfires are not permitted. Because this is a dry camp, you must bring your water. Unfortunately, dogs are not permitted.

Things You Should Know Before You Go

The beach parking lots are accessible from 8 a.m. to sunset, and the two main campground gates are accessible from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Rockwell Kitchen, offering healthy beverages and meals ranging from omelets and breakfast burritos to skirt steak and fresh fish plates with local vegetables for all-day, elevated dining, will get you refueled after your adventures or energized for a day of fun on the coast. The food truck is situated at 18820 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu and is accessible from 6 in the morning to 6 in the evening, Tuesday to Sunday.

Don’t know how to dress for your camping adventure? Here’s a guide to practical yet stylish camping clothes to help you!