Skip links

Facts about the Santa Monica Mountains For Kids


Because of its proximity to densely populated regions it is one of the most visited natural areas in California. The range extends approximately 40 miles 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 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 Santa Susana Mountains, which are located directly north of the mountains across the San Fernando Valley.
  • Malibu Creek, which eroded its own channel while the mountains were slowly uplifted, bisects the mountain range.
  • Snow is unusual in the Santa Monica Mountains, since they are not as high as the nearby San Gabriel Mountains.
  • Preservation of lands within the region are managed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, the National Park Service, the California State Parks, and County and Municipal agencies.
  • Over twenty individual state and municipal parks are in the Santa Monica Mountains, including: Topanga State Park, Leo Carrillo State Park, Malibu Creek State Park, Point Mugu State Park, Will Rogers State Historic Park, Point Dume State Beach, Griffith Park, Marvin Braude Mulholland Gateway Park, Charmlee Wilderness Park, Franklin Canyon Park, Runyon Canyon Park, King Gillette Ranch Park, and Paramount Ranch Park.
  • At the eastern end of the Santa Monica Mountains are Griffith Park and lastly Elysian Park.
  • Griffith Park is separated from the rest of the Santa Monica Mountains to the west by the Cahuenga Pass, over which the 101 Freeway passes from the San Fernando Valley into Hollywood.
  • The Santa Monica Mountains are in the California chaparral and woodlands Ecoregion, and includes the California oak woodland and Southern coastal sage scrub plant community, and are covered by hundreds of local plant species, some of which are very rare or endemic, and others which are widespread and have become popular horticultural ornamentals.
  • Further west are Topanga Canyon Boulevard (SR 27), Laurel Canyon Boulevard, Malibu Canyon Road, and Kanan Dume Road.
  • Mulholland Drive runs much of the length of the Santa Monica Mountains, from Cahuenga Pass to Woodland Hills while the Mulholland Highway runs from Woodland Hills to Sequit Point at the Pacific Ocean.