Lang Ranch/Woodridge Open Space Trails in Thousand Oaks

Looking for some spectacular trail hiking and panaromic views stretching from the Conejo Valley to the Simi Hills? Then take a look at the open space trails in the Lang Ranch/Woodridge system in the northeast portion of Thousand Oaks in the Lang Ranch area (where Avenida de los Arboles meets Westlake Boulevard).

LangRanchTrail2.JPG

The 1,025 acre area is maintained by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) and connects with another 8,000 acres of open space that is part of the Santa Monica Mountains. There are 10 miles of well-maintained trails that are outstanding for hiking, running and biking. The views are spectacular and you can actually hike from Thousand Oaks to Simi Valley (via Long Canyon Trail) and Agoura Hills (Woodridge to Cheeseboro/Palo Comado).

More information about the various trails in the Lang Ranch/Woodridge Open Space on the Conejo Open Space Foundation website at www.cosf.org/website/html/lang-ranch.html.

The specific trails seen below are highlighted at www.cosf.org/website/html/autumn-ridge-loop.html and www.cosf.org/website/html/autumn-ridge-to-rancho-simi-scenic-loop.html and are accessed at the trailhead at Westlake Boulevard and Autumn Ridge Drive in Thousand Oaks.

Access to this trail is at the corner of Westlake Bd and Autumn Ridge Dr

Access to this trail is at the corner of Westlake Bd and Autumn Ridge Dr

You can get a clear view of Bard Lake (Calleguas Water District Reservoir) back here.

You can get a clear view of Bard Lake (Calleguas Water District Reservoir) back here.

LangRanchTrail4.JPG
Views of Simi Valley

Views of Simi Valley

Checking out fossils on display in the open space. Pretty fun to see with the kids.

Checking out fossils on display in the open space. Pretty fun to see with the kids.

This bench is located at the juncture of the Sunrise and Meadow Vista Trails in the Lang Ranch Open Space and Long Canyon Trail, which is accessible via the Wood Ranch section of Simi Valley. Not a bad view, eh?

This bench is located at the juncture of the Sunrise and Meadow Vista Trails in the Lang Ranch Open Space and Long Canyon Trail, which is accessible via the Wood Ranch section of Simi Valley. Not a bad view, eh?

Trailhead at east end of Lang Ranch Parkway, to Albertson Fire Road trail.

Trailhead at east end of Lang Ranch Parkway, to Albertson Fire Road trail.

Oakbrook Vista Trail in Thousand Oaks

The Oakbrook Vista Trail is a relatively easy out and back climb that provides nice panoramic views of the Lang Ranch area of Thousand Oaks. Access to the trail is on the south side of Lang Ranch Parkway, just west of Westlake Boulevard. See access point below.

OakbrookVista1.JPG
The narrow initial trail up Oakbrook Vista.

The narrow initial trail up Oakbrook Vista.

The first portion is a narrow trail that zig zags its way to a bench, where you can rest and enjoy the views. But I'd estimate this is only 1/4 of a mile, so keep going if you're game!

OakbrookVista2.5.JPG

After the bench, the trail opens up and continues up and up and up and if you reach the top, roughly a mile or so up the hill, you'll be enjoying 360 degree views towards Boney Mountain on the west, Lang Ranch/Woodridge trails on the north and more.

OakbrookVista4.JPG
OakBrookVista3.jpg

For a trail map and additional information, visit the Conejo Open Space Foundation website at www.cosf.org/website/html/oakbrook-vista-trail.html.

California Oil Museum in Santa Paula

CalifOilMuseum_logo.jpg

The California Oil Museum at 1001 E. Main Street, Santa Paula (corner of Main and 10th) is the birthplace of Union Oil Company (aka Unocal and more recently acquired by Chevron in 2005). The building was completed on October 17, 1890. The museum was established in 1950, and the building was restored to its original appearance for its centennial celebration in 1990. Click here for an early picture of the building. The building is also a California Historical Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The museum has one of the largest displays of vintage gas pumps in California. There is a turn of the century (20th century, that is) drilling rig, various displays, videos, working models and gas station memorabilia as well as rotating exhibits about science, technology and transportation as well as other more local exhibits on hand.

As of July 2017, admission is a suggested donation of $4. Open Wednesday to Sunday, 10 am to 4 pm.

More information at www.oilmuseum.net or 805.933.0076.

CalifOilMuseum.jpg
Left side of California Oil Museum on 10th Street

Left side of California Oil Museum on 10th Street

Display in the rig building

Display in the rig building

Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum

ReaganLibrarySign.JPG

A local must-see is the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, located at 40 Presidential Drive, Simi Valley.  With sweeping hilltop views of the surrounding valleys, this 100,000+ sq ft museum on 100 acres is incredible and quite interesting for all ages.  There is a wealth of memorabilia and artifacts from throughout Reagan's life on display. 

ReaganStatue.JPG

In February 2011, over 26,000 sq ft of new exhibits and dozens of interactive displays spanning Reagan's life were introduced.  There are 24 galleries that pay tribute to our 40th President's life. You can act in a movie with Reagan, deliver his inaugural address with a teleprompter, set the table for a state dinner, learn about his economic policies in interactive games, read his handwritten diary, ride a horse alongside Reagan at Rancho del Cielo, and much more. There is also a full-scale Oval Office replica and a 9 1/2 foot, 6,300 lb section of the Berlin Wall on display.

Volunteer docents are very friendly, helpful and extremely knowledgeable, they are there to help guide you through your visit and answer your questions.

Exhibits include: Intro Theater, Foundations of a Leader, GE Theater, Governor Years, Victory & Inauguration, Assassination Attempt, The Oval Office, First Lady, Berlin Wall, Rebuilding America, Threat Theater, Peace Through Strength, Summits, American Heroes, Ranch & Camp David, Post Presidency, Mourning Ronald Reagan, Legacy Theater, National Treasures Gallery, Mary Jane Wick Gallery (Special Exhibits) and the Air Force One Pavillion (1st Level: Marine One, 2nd Level: History of the Flying White House, Presidential Motorcade, 3rd Level: Flights of Freedom, Air Force One Theater, Board Air Force One). Outside is a decommissioned F-14 Tomcat, a replica of the White House Rose Garden, a piece of the Berlin Wall and President Reagan's Memorial Site.

The Air Force One Pavilion opened in October 2005.  It features the actual Air Force One aircraft used from 1973 to 2001 and you can walk through aircraft when you visit the museum.  There are also motorcade vehicles, helicopter and other items on display. 

In addition to the permanent exhibits discussed above, there are always temporary exhibits on display. Check out the museum's website for details.

Dine at the Reagan Library! Reagan's Country Cafe offers panoramic views and is open to the public from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily, 7 days a week. You can access the cafe without entering the Museum. The Ronald Reagan Pub is located inside the Air Force One Pavilion and offers drinks and prepackaged sandwiches and other items.

The museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. Parking is free of charge. Current admission costs as of November 2017 are $29 for ages 18 to 61, $26 ages 62+, $19 ages 11 to 17 and $16 for ages 3 to 10. Children 2 and under are free. More information at www.reaganfoundation.org or by calling 805.577.4000.

Los Robles Trail East in Thousand Oaks

The Los Robles Trail East in Thousand Oaks is accessible from the Los Robles Trail trailhead heading west from the South Moorpark Road and Greenmeadow Avenue in Thousand Oaks.

LosRoblesTrail_SignMain.JPG

From the main trailhead, go west just under 1/2 mile and you'll see the fork in the road where you can go east or west. Head south (click here if you prefer going west) where you'll go towards the Los Robles Trail East.

A gradual uphill of about 1/2 mile on a wide fire road trail takes you to a picnic bench and then a more winding, partially shaded, narrower, eastbound section of trail.

Fire road that takes you to picnic bench.

Fire road that takes you to picnic bench.

Picnic bench at juncture of fire road and narrower, steeper Los Robles Trail East.

Picnic bench at juncture of fire road and narrower, steeper Los Robles Trail East.

LosRoblesTrail_MapEast.jpg

Another .6 mile gets you to a hill where you'll soon be treated to a reward for your hiking effort...a bench with a view of the Conejo Valley.

Los Robles Trail East near hilltop viewpoint with bench.

Los Robles Trail East near hilltop viewpoint with bench.

And the bench at the top. Nice view of the Conejo Valley, eh?

And the bench at the top. Nice view of the Conejo Valley, eh?

And the trail loops around with another bench on the other side of the trail looking south towards Hidden Valley.

Bench facing south.

Bench facing south.

The trail loops back around towards the main Los Robles Trail, where you can head back west again from where you came from, or head east towards the northern tip of the Los Padres Trail or stretch further east towards the Triunfo Canyon Trail and White Horse Canyon Trail.

Now go on, take a hike!

Ventura Flea Market - Ventura County Fairgrounds

VenturaFleaMarket.jpg

The Ventura Flea Market is held near the ocean in Ventura and is a great place to shop. The event features antiques, used and new merchandise sold by over 500 vendors, more than 5,000 buyers visit the Market each time it is held. 

The Ventura Flea Market is held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. A special Early Bird admission is available from 6am to 9am at $10.00 per person. Regular admission starts at 9 a.m. at $5.00 per person. Children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult.  (Prices current as of September 2017.) Pets are not allowed. Event is held rain or shine! Parking is $5.

Upcoming Dates as of 10/22/17:

  • November 5, 2017
  • February 25, 2018
  • April 15, 2018
  • June 3, 2018
  • September 30, 2018
  • November 18, 2018

Visit www.rgcshows.com/Ventura.aspx or call 323.560.SHOW (7469) for more information.

VenturaSwapMeet_pic.jpg

Los Robles Trail System in Thousand Oaks

LosRoblesTrailSign.JPG

The Los Robles Trail winds from Potrero Road, just east of Wendy Drive in Newbury Park, to Foothill Drive near Fairview Road (near Hampshire Road in Westlake Village). A popular access point is at South Moorpark Road and Greenmeadow Avenue in Thousand Oaks.

Along with its many connecting trails (Triunfo Canyon Trail, Rosewood Trail, White Horse Canyon Trail, Los Padres Trail and more), awesome opportunities abound for hikers, bikers and equestrians to enjoy the open space.

If you're looking for an easy, one mile trail hike with the kids, the Oak Creek Canyon Loop is a nice one to do. There is also a unique Interpretive Trail at Oak Creek Canyon Loop that is accessible to handicapped/wheelchairs and blind individuals! Or extend the Oak Creek Canyon Loop to an easy 3 mile hike to the Los Robles Nature Walk. Also, the 1 mile Spring Canyon Trail is an excellent choice for families with young children.

OakCreekCynLoop_sign.JPG

For some of the most spectacular views of the Conejo Valley, try hiking up to Angel Vista Peak in Newbury Park.

A rugged, single track trail popular with mountain bikers and hikers is the Los Robles Trail West that goes up "Space Mountain" in Thousand Oaks. And Los Robles Trail East is another nice hike accessible from several points.

This nearly 2,000 acre ridgeline trail system with its many neighborhood feeder trails is located at the southern portion of the Conejo Open Space. The Los Robles Trail also traverses several open space areas including Los Padres, Los Vientos, Conejo Ridge. Hope Nature Preserve, Old Conejo, Deer Ridge, Rancho Potrero and Ventu Park.

Additional Los Robles Trail trailhead points west of the Rosewood Trail trailhead to Angel Vista Peak include Felton Street, east of Lynn Rd in Newbury Park (end of cul de sac) and Potrero Road, about 1/4 mile east of S Wendy Drive in Newbury Park (parking lot available).

Views from Angel Vista Peak are iconic.

Views from Angel Vista Peak are iconic.

To the west of Los Robles is Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa and Point Mugu State Park which creates a public backcountry of over 27,000 acres of open space that stretches to the Pacific Ocean at Sycamore Cove. This scenic region is part of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and provides panoramic views of Hidden Valley, the Conejo Valley and the Channel Islands.

Los Robles Trail trailhead and parking area on Potrero Road in Newbury Park.

Los Robles Trail trailhead and parking area on Potrero Road in Newbury Park.

The Los Robles Trail has historical significance. On February 28, 1776, Juan Bautista de Anza and his band of 198 settlers came through the Conejo Valley on their way from Mexico to San Francisco. Though the 101 freeway is the actual route, the National Park Service has designated the Los Robles Trail as the official recreational route so that everyone can enjoy the only national historical trail in the state of California.

Approximately 25 miles of trails provide a contiguous route from Westlake Village to Newbury Park with several shorter loops into narrow canyons and up steep ridges. The adjoining open space areas are managed by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), a joint powers authority created by the City of Thousand Oaks and the Conejo Recreation and Park District in 1977.

Unless you are an ant, this Los Robles Trail map is too small to read...click it for a full-size pdf map!

Unless you are an ant, this Los Robles Trail map is too small to read...click it for a full-size pdf map!

For more information about the Los Robles Trail, visit the Conejo Open Space Foundation website at cosf.org/los-robles.

Elverhøj Museum of History & Art in Solvang

Located in Solvang at 1624 Elverhoy Way, the Elverhøj Museum is the former residence of one of Solvang’s most artistic families and is now a community museum devoted to the history of Solvang, the Danish-American pioneer spirit, the colorful heritage of Denmark and the arts. The museum opened in May 1988. Elverhøj is one of the few museums outside of Denmark devoted to the Danish culture and the Danish-American experience.

The museum is open from 11am to 4pm Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is free of charge; suggest donation is $5 for ages 13+.

More information at www.elverhoj.org.

Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu

LeoCarilloSign.JPG

Leo Carrillo State Park has 1.5 miles of beach for swimming, surfing, windsurfing, surf fishing and beachcombing, as well as tide pools, coastal caves and reefs for exploring. Giant sycamores shade the main campgrounds. The park also features back-country hiking.

Among the many great features of Leo Carrillo, the most engaging activity for me and the kids is the tidepools. They are exposed twice daily at low tide and provide hours of engagement with sea stars, anemones, mussels, sea slugs and more amongst the thousands of rocks on shore.

Nature walks and campfire programs are offered and a small visitor center has interpretive displays. During the summer, children's programs are available.

Trails include Yellow Hill Fire Trail for panoramic views of the beach and the Channel Islands, and the steeper Nicholas Flat Trail, which brings you to a pond.

A view from the Leo Carrillo bluffs as the clouds start rolling in.

A view from the Leo Carrillo bluffs as the clouds start rolling in.

There are 135 family campsites at Leo Carrillo with restrooms and token-operated showers (which accept ONLY one dollar bills...plan ahead). Call 800.444.7275 or visit www.parks.ca.gov to make reservations.

The park was named after Leo Carrillo (1880-1961), actor, preservationist and conservationist. Leo Carrillo served on the California Beach and Parks commission for 18 years and was instrumental in the state's acquisition of the Hearst property at San Simeon. Leo's greatest fame came from his portrayal of Pancho, the sidekick to Duncan Renaldo's Cisco Kid, an early 1950's TV series.

Leo Carrillo State Park is located at 35000 W. Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. The park office phone is 310.457.8143. Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=616 for more information.

Parking is currently (as of September 2017) $12 in the parking lot for the day (or $3 per hour)...but free on PCH if you can find a nearby spot. There is plenty of parking spots available in the lot. After you park, you can walk in a tunnel underneath PCH to get to the beach.

The muraled tunnel that takes you underneath PCH to Leo Carrillo Beach.

The muraled tunnel that takes you underneath PCH to Leo Carrillo Beach.

Dogs on a leash are allowed in the Park's day use areas, campground and north beach (north of lifeguard tower 3). Dogs are not allowed on backcountry trails or south beach (south of lifeguard tower 3).

DIRECTIONS

The most direct way of getting to Leo Carrillo from the Conejo Valley is via Westlake Boulevard (CA-23) (aka Decker Canyon) south, which for some is a fun 14 mile drive, but for others, not so much. It is a bit winding, hilly, steep at many junctures. I take this route during daytime hours but coming home I'm not too keen on it. After getting to PCH, turn right and drive 2 1/2 miles to get to Leo Carrillo.

Another more popular, though less direct route is via Kanan Road. Either take Kanan Road straight down to PCH, turn right (west) on PCH about 9 miles to Leo Carrillo, or take Kanan to Encinal Canyon, which is about a 3 mile drive on PCH to Leo Carrillo.

Lastly, if you are in Newbury Park, you can take Potrero Road west to Las Posas down to PCH. In about 11 miles you will reach Leo Carrillo.

Sycamore to the Sea Hike, Run or Bike From Newbury Park to Sycamore Cove

Did you know that you can walk, hike, run or bike from Newbury Park to the ocean over 8 1/4 miles pretty easily, without dealing with automobiles? Park your car at the Wendy and Potrero trailhead or at the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa parking lot at Point Mugu State Park in Newbury Park and experience it yourself.

The entry to the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area, taken before the gate was actually open.

The entry to the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area, taken before the gate was actually open.

The Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center is a short walk from the parking lot.

SatwiwaSign.JPG

From there, take the paved road, called the Sycamore Canyon Fire Road, towards the ocean.

PtMuguNewburyPark.JPG

This is a nice, wide paved road with trails along the side much of the way. Generally cool in the early morning year-round as you head towards the ocean, plenty of rest/pit stop areas on the way down and nice and peaceful and beautiful, full of canyons, trees and wildlife (of course, the Springs Fire of 2013 took a major toll on the area).

SycamoreCanyonFireRoadSign.JPG

The steepest descent on this course is a roughly 800 foot drop over a 3/4 of a mile into the canyon on the paved road after you see this sign. Coming back up if you do the full round-trip circuit is a bit of a challenge.

SycamoreCanyonRoad.JPG

After you drop into the canyon, it is pretty much smooth sailing. The paved road stops right around the Danielson Multi-Use area (see image below for that juncture). After that, follow the wide, dirt fire road towards the beach.

Sycamore_RangerHouse.JPG

There are numerous water spigots on the side of the road going down, which comes in quite handy on warmer days. If you use them, just make sure to turn them off.

About 3/4ths of the way down to the beach, you'll pass one of the most picturesque locations for a porta-john that I've ever seen.

SycamoreTrail_portajohn.JPG

A few miles after passing the above porta-john, you'll reach the Sycamore Canyon Campground, which has 58 campsites and is across Pacific Coast Highway from the ocean. Cross over PCH (be careful!) or find the underpass that takes you under PCH to the Sycamore Cove Beach area, with picnic tables, bathrooms, etc., and enjoy your day!

SycamoreCoveBeach_rocks.JPG

From there, you either head back up or call your significant other to pick you up. Or perhaps plan it out in the morning to leave one car at the beach, drive another car back (obviously you can't do this alone), park the 2nd car at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa, hike/walk/bike down the canyon to retrieve car #1. Or do what I did once, which was drive down to Sycamore Cove via Potrero Road/Las Posas/PCH, park the car, run (or perhaps ride) up to Newbury Park, then ride down with the kids and enjoy the beach. Fun! 

For a map of the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area with a portion of the Big Sycamore Canyon Trail, visit www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/upload/RSV-2-12.pdf (National Park Service pdf brochure).

Aviation Museum of Santa Paula

aviationmuseumsantapaula.gif

The Aviation Museum of Santa Paula is open the first Sunday of each month, with a "Chain of Hangars" from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Closed if there is rain. FREE (but donations are appreciated).

Hangar Number One is the first in the museum's chain of hangars. It tells the story of the founding of Santa Paula Airport in 1930. Each of the privately owned hangars houses a variety of vintage aircraft and privately owned collections of memorabilia, from antique radios to race cars. Several other aircraft owners put their antique aircraft on display and many vintage aircraft also fly in each month.

A museum tram is available to save you some steps between hangars. The Experimental Aircraft Association Chapter 723 offers free airplane rides to kids ages 8-17. The Museum's Gift Hangar, located inside CP Aviation, offers a variety of toys and apparel for airplane buffs of all ages.

More information at www.aviationmuseumofsantapaula.org or call 805.525.1109. The Aviation Museum is located near the corner of Santa Maria Street and 8th Street in Santa Paula. More info at this link.

SPAviationMuseum.JPG
AviationMuseumTram.JPG

Arroyo Simi Bike Path in Simi Valley

The Arroyo Simi Bike Path is a two lane bike path in Simi Valley that runs from Madera Road, just south of Easy Street on the west, ending at Cochran Avenue between Fig Street and Ralston Street on the east. Roughly 6 to 7 miles. It is also referred to as the Arroyo Simi Greenway.

The Arroyo Simi is a waterway that begins at Corriganville Park in east Simi Valley and extends west all the way through Simi Valley until into merges into Arroyo Las Posas and Conejo Creek into Calleguas Creek. It is managed by the County of Ventura but the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District has access to the pathway for recreational use.

What a great bike path this is! While it may not be as visually appealing as bike paths along Ventura Beach and such, the Arroyo Simi Bike Path is almost entirely flat and allows passageway along much of Simi Valley from east to west. You can really do a lot of exploration from this artery. We like to park at the East Street entry point and bike to Rancho Simi Community Park (2.2 miles one way), Rancho Santa Susana Park (6 miles one way) and various other areas.

Because this path is so long and flat (and not crowded), it is a nice destination for learning to ride. However, do be aware that there are a number of street crossings where you are asked to walk your bike across. They are protected by lights and signs, however.

Arroyo Simi bike path entry point at Easy Street and Madera

Arroyo Simi bike path entry point at Easy Street and Madera

Arroyo Simi Bike path may not be the most picturesque path but is nicely flat and goes a long way!

Arroyo Simi Bike path may not be the most picturesque path but is nicely flat and goes a long way!

There are numerous entry points to the path, which largely parallels Los Angeles Avenue; this one is just east of Ralston off of Los Angeles Avenue.

There are numerous entry points to the path, which largely parallels Los Angeles Avenue; this one is just east of Ralston off of Los Angeles Avenue.

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History

SBNatHistMuseum.jpg

Founded in 1916, the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is a very low key museum that makes for a great excursion to Santa Barbara with the kids.  There are eight exhibit halls with permanent exhibits featuring birds, mammals, insects, ocean life, a planetarium and more. Many of the exhibits are "hands on" with buttons and interactive features that kids particularly enjoy. There are an additional two halls for changing exhibits.

Some of the thousands of insects on display at the Cartwright Hall of Plants and Insects

Some of the thousands of insects on display at the Cartwright Hall of Plants and Insects

You and your kids can roam the nature paths and visit the well stocked gift shop, full of educational items. I can vouch for the fascination kids (and adults) have at this Museum. It is a very comfortable museum that in my experience is rarely is crowded. The "Museum Backyard" area and gardens has a picnic area, stream, "Dino Dig," and other enjoyable features. The pond and stream often have tadpoles that captivate the kids.

The museum is open 7 days a week and is closed certain holidays. As of September 2017, admission is $12 for adults, $8 for 65+ seniors and teens (13-17) and $7 for children 2 to 12 years of age. Become a Museum member and you don't have to pay for admission. The Museum also offers birthday parties for members. Family memberships are currently $85/year.

Free Family Sundays are on on the third Sunday of January, February, March, April, September, October, November and December. No free days in May, June, July and August.

Also in the "Backyard" area of the Museum, there is a physical structure managed by the Santa Barbara Audubon Aviary that cares for birds of prey that are no longer able to survive in the wild. Often volunteers will bring these birds out for visitors to admire. These birds are beautiful.

SBAviaryBird1.JPG
SBAviaryBird2.JPG

Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History is located at 2559 Puesta del Sol Road, Santa Barbara. More information at www.sbnature.org or 805.682.4711.

The "Backyard" area of the Museum makes for a peaceful, rustic wedding/party venue.

The "Backyard" area of the Museum makes for a peaceful, rustic wedding/party venue.