America is stuffed with wonderful spots we likely drive by all the time because we tell ourselves, “Next time, I’m going to stop there.” The next time you are on one of the greatest drives in the United States - the Pacific Coast Highway - stop at the sand dunes just south of Oxnard and go for a walk “up the beach.”
This is one of the single hardest walks you can possibly try.
Head north out of Malibu, and eventually along this wonderfully scenic coastline you approach the Thornhill Broome Campground. Just before the entrance to the campground is the Sycamore Cove Beach; across the highway is a massive dune that stretches up towards the top of a ridge.
There is safe parking on both sides of the road, and people stop to walk up this very steep dune. There are some rocks at the foot of the walk, but nothing too dangerous.
To walk from the highway to the top of the dunes is just under .25 miles. Depending on the time of the day wear sandles, or socks, as the sand can get rather hot. In the morning or evening, barefoot is best. Take a bottle of water, too. And a camera. And don’t be in any rush to get to the top. You aren’t running this.
The pitch of these dunes feels like 30 degrees, at least. And each step is an ankle-deep excursion into the sand. At the top of the dunes this point turns into a normal hike up terrain that can be hiked to the peak; for that you will need conventional hiking shoes.
It took me 5 minutes and 15 seconds to go up of these dunes just once; that was without stopping. There was a Hispanic gentleman who was wearing long pants, a hat and a sweatshirt there the day I did it and he told me he does six “laps” for a workout.
I thought I could do six. I made it four times and wanted to die.
If/when you do make it, the top does offer a terrific view of the Mugu Rock, the Pacific Ocean and the beach with minimal noise. It’s a great way to see a sunset. Or any part of the day.
The dunes are just a good reminder America is loaded with these places, many of which are likely near your home, we just need to stop and take advantage of them.
Mac Engel, 817-390-7760