Oak Creek Canyon Loop Trail in Thousand Oaks

The Oak Creek Canyon Loop Trail is about a mile hike that is great to do with the kids near the Los Robles Trail in Thousand Oaks.

Get there by taking Moorpark Road south of the 101 until it ends at Greenmeadow Avenue. Turn right and drive about half a mile to the parking lot.

 Signs along the Oak Creek Canyon Whole Access Interpretative Trail are in braille.

Signs along the Oak Creek Canyon Whole Access Interpretative Trail are in braille.

The first .4 mile section of trail is called the Oak Creek Canyon Whole Access Interpretive Trail and is a mostly shaded oak grove area that is accessible by all, including equestrians, bicycles, hikers, wheelchairs, disabled and blind individuals. There is actually a "guide cable" along the fence as well as informational signs in braille.

 One of three picnic benches along the Interpretive Trail.

One of three picnic benches along the Interpretive Trail.

There is a restroom, drinking fountain and picnic bench at the trailhead as well as two other picnic tables and a bench on this portion of the trail. There is also abundant poison oak on the sides of the trails, so be careful to stay on the trail.

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At the end of the Interpretive Trail section of the loop, you reach a well maintained dirt trail through the chaparral that is a bit more challenging and ok for most kids. There's a few moderate hills to be aware of, making it somewhat of a challenge with a stroller but in my opinion, a do-able challenge. And of course, you can always turn around and take the Interpretive Trail back. 

 The loop trail continues on the left.

The loop trail continues on the left.

 One of the moderate hills on the trail.

One of the moderate hills on the trail.

You go about .4 mile back towards Greenmeadow. Before you get to the street you will see a bench on the west side of the trail. Do be aware that there is no sidewalk on this section of Greenmeadow as you walk back towards the parking area. More information and a map available on the Conejo Open Space Foundation website at www.cosf.org/website/html/oak-creek-canyon.html.

Calabasas Trolley

The City of Calabasas offers free trolley service on Saturdays between the hours of 10am and 10pm (with a break from 3-4pm) and Sundays between noon and 4pm (limited stops). 

There are 24 stops over a one hour duration on Saturday at the following locations:

  • Las Virgenes Road at Thousand Oaks Blvd (0:00)
  • Agoura Road at Las Virgenes (Albertson's) (0:03)
  • Agoura Road at Lost Hills Road (Summit) (0:04)
  • Parkville Road at Grape Arbor Park (0:05)
  • Malibu Hills Road at Agoura Road (Community Center (0:08)
  • Lost Hills Road at Las Virgenes (de Anza Park) (0:10)
  • Mureau Road at Las Virgenes Road (0:16)
  • Parkway Calabasas at Calabasas Road (0:22)
  • Parkway Calabasas at Park Granada (0:23)
  • Parkway Calabasas at Camino Portal (0:25)
  • Parkway Calabasas at Paseo Primario (North) (0:26)
  • Park Granada at Park Capri (0:28)
  • Park Sorrento at Avanti (0:29)
  • Calabasas Road at El Canon (Old Town) (0:31)
  • Mulholland at Paul Revere Drive (0:36)
  • Mulholland at Declaration Ave (0:37)
  • Mulholland at Mobil Home Park (0:40)
  • Old Topanga Canyon at Calabasas High School (0:43)
  • Old Topanga Canyon at Wrencrest Drive (0:44)
  • Park Sorrento at Park Ora (0:45)
  • Park Sorrento at Park Mirasol (Tennis & Swim Center) (0:47)
  • Park Sorrento at Park Granada (0:48)
  • Park Sorrento at Civic Center Way (Civic Center) (0:51)
  • Mureau Road at Las Virgenes Road (0:58)

Sunday stops (15 minute frequency)

  • Parkville Road at Grape Arbor Park
  • Malibu Hills Road at Agoura Road (Community Center)
  • Lost Hills Road at Las Virgenes Road (de Anza Park)
  • Agoura Road at Las Virgenes Road (Albertson's)
  • Agoura Road at Lost Hills Road (Summit)

Learn more at www.cityofcalabasas.com/trolley.html.

Backbone Trail Hike From Kanan Road Trailhead to Zuma Ridge Motorway in Malibu

You've driven Kanan Road from Agoura Hills towards PCH for decades and have passed by the Backbone Trail trailhead on Kanan and Newton Canyon Road just before Tunnel "T-1" hundreds of times. But you never stopped there to check it out. Well, it's about time to give it a try!

The Backbone Trail stretches 67 miles through the Santa Monica Mountains, from Will Rogers State Park on the east to the Ray Miller Trailhead on the west. There are 12 "official" Backbone Trail trailheads and the Kanan Road Trailhead is one of them. More information on the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/backbonetrail.htm.

There are two trailheads to catch here at what is also referred to as the Newton Canyon Trailhead. The Backbone Trail to the Latigo Canyon Trailhead is 2.5 miles one way headed east. The Backbone Trail to the Zuma Ridge Motorway - the one covered here - is also 2.5 miles one way headed west. 

The Backbone Trail to Zuma Ridge Motorway is a nice, moderate, winding, mostly single track, well-maintained trail. You'll encounter a creek, a view of the Upper Zuma Falls, a short bridge, some tree-lined canopied sections, wildflowers and moderately rocky sections.

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Once you reach Zuma Ridge Motorway, you can continue on the Backbone Trail or turn back for a five mile round trip hike.

Medea Creek Natural Park in Oak Park

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Medea Creek Natural Park has hiking, biking and fitness trails that stretch from Calle Rio Vista and Oaks Hills Drive in Oak Park on the north, then south past Medea Creek Lane and Conifer Street to a cul de sac entrance to the park at the west terminus of Tamarind Street.

 Nicely paved Medea Creek Trail north towards Kanan/Oak Park Library

Nicely paved Medea Creek Trail north towards Kanan/Oak Park Library

The paved Medea Creek Trail, great for walks as well as casual bicycling, has a northern entry point at Kanan Road across from Deerhill Road (adjacent to the Oak Park Library). It crosses Sunnycrest Drive, where there is street parking, so you do need to be careful with kids when you cross.

 Medea Creek runs through suburbia via this wash, where you will see some neat bird activity.

Medea Creek runs through suburbia via this wash, where you will see some neat bird activity.

The nature loop trail is about 1.5 miles. You will likely see ducks and perhaps other birds enjoying the creek as you choose between the paved and dirt paths. There's also a fitness circuit. It is kind of interesting as you'll see multiple layers of trails; some dirt, some paved, some grassy, some in the creek.

 Multiple paths and areas to explore at Medea Creek.

Multiple paths and areas to explore at Medea Creek.

Medea Creek Natural Park is managed by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District www.rsrpd.org/oak_park/parks/medea_creek_park.php.

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 Sign at east end terminus of Tamarind StreetFitness course signs along 1.5 mile path.

Sign at east end terminus of Tamarind StreetFitness course signs along 1.5 mile path.

Bike Path in Oxnard at Oxnard Beach Park to Channel Islands Harbor

There's a bike path that starts at the ocean side of Oxnard Beach Park at Mandalay Beach Road at Beach Way and takes you south all the way to Hollywood Beach and Channel Islands Harbor. Alternatively you can just park at the Oxnard Beach Park and go from there. It is roughly 3/4 of a mile one way to Harbor Boulevard.

Cross Harbor Boulevard and make your way into Channel Islands Harbor, where you can ride all the way to the south end of the harbor.

 Entrance to bike path at Mandalay Beach Road and Beach Way

Entrance to bike path at Mandalay Beach Road and Beach Way

 There's a loop you can do around Oxnard Beach Park

There's a loop you can do around Oxnard Beach Park

 The bike path continues south and goes around the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel

The bike path continues south and goes around the Embassy Suites Mandalay Beach Hotel

 Soon after passing the hotel, the path swing east towards Harbor Boulevard

Soon after passing the hotel, the path swing east towards Harbor Boulevard

 At Harbor Boulevard, you can cross over to Channel Islands Harbor or veer right (west) on West Channel Islands Boulevard towards Hollywood Beach. 

At Harbor Boulevard, you can cross over to Channel Islands Harbor or veer right (west) on West Channel Islands Boulevard towards Hollywood Beach. 

 plenty of sand at Hollywood Beach. There's a restroom facility here. You can bike along Ocean Drive, which parallels the beach, to an entry point. do note that you are no longer on a bike path. you can continue south on Ocean Drive until its endpoint, where you turn left on South Harbor Boulevard past Channel View Park, where you will soon reach Channel Islands Harbor. 

plenty of sand at Hollywood Beach. There's a restroom facility here. You can bike along Ocean Drive, which parallels the beach, to an entry point. do note that you are no longer on a bike path. you can continue south on Ocean Drive until its endpoint, where you turn left on South Harbor Boulevard past Channel View Park, where you will soon reach Channel Islands Harbor. 

 On S. Harbor Boulevard going north now, you will be able to take a right (east) turn on Albacore Way to get to the nice pedestrian/bike path along Channel Islands Harbor. It will take you past the  Channel Islands Maritime Museum  and marina, where there are restaurants and other things to do.

On S. Harbor Boulevard going north now, you will be able to take a right (east) turn on Albacore Way to get to the nice pedestrian/bike path along Channel Islands Harbor. It will take you past the Channel Islands Maritime Museum and marina, where there are restaurants and other things to do.

 Pretty cool place to ride bikes at the harbor...and rarely crowded in my experience.

Pretty cool place to ride bikes at the harbor...and rarely crowded in my experience.

 If you and the kids are up to it and want a longer ride, after reaching the north side of the Harbor, you can take Harbor Boulevard back over to W. Channel Islands Boulevard over the bridge to the middle of the Harbor. There's a popular Toppers Pizza over there. Or go the east side of the Harbor. 

If you and the kids are up to it and want a longer ride, after reaching the north side of the Harbor, you can take Harbor Boulevard back over to W. Channel Islands Boulevard over the bridge to the middle of the Harbor. There's a popular Toppers Pizza over there. Or go the east side of the Harbor. 

Other options of course include parking at the Channel Islands Harbor somewhere and cycling your way up to the Oxnard Beach Park. And you can also pedal your way over to S. Victoria Avenue and take the bike lane all the way down to Silverstrand Beach (or even park at Silverstrand and ride your way up from there...though do take not that this is not a bike path). Have fun!

Commemorative Air Force Aviation Museum at Camarillo Airport

Located at the Camarillo Airport at 455 Aviation Drive, the Southern California Wing of the Commemorative Air Force has hangars devoted to preserving, maintaining, displaying, and flying World War II aircraft.

The Commemorative Air Force Southern California Wing Aviation Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays from 10 am to 4 pm and Sundays noon to 4pm. Closed New Year's, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Donations of $10 for adults, $5 for ages 10 to 18, $3 for ages 6 to 10 are requested. Kids under 6 and active military are free. Visit www.cafsocal.com or call 805.482.0064 for more information.

You can rent out the hangar for events! Visit hangarevents.com for more information.

Also, take a vintage WWII airplane ride on a PT-19 Cornell open cockpit aircraft or aSNJ-5/AT-6 "Texan" aircraft! Get a 20 minute ride on the Ventura County coastline or along the mountains for only $250 (PT-19) or $395 (SNJ-5)! Or try the P-51 Mustang Warbird for $1,495! What a thrill! Visit www.cafsocal.com/rides for more information.

Docents are enjoyable to speak with as they have a lot of history to share at this museum. Two 15,000 sq ft hangars and a new (2016) 32,800 sq. ft. hangar complex serve as a Museum Hangar and a Maintenance and Restoration Hangar.

The Museum Hangar contains some of the many artifacts that are currently on display as well as a gift shop. It also houses any of the aircraft that are not away on a mission or undergoing maintenance.  For safety reasons the maintenance hangar is not available for a walk-through, however visitors can observe any work in progress from behind a safety perimeter.

There are a number of aircraft on display, including several you can physically inspect, which is always fun to do with the kids. There are some interesting WWII exhibits on hand too. 

 The only authentic Marine BPJ-1J variant of the famed Mitchell B-25 Bomber. It flew into Camarillo from Midland, TX in 1993 for a 20 year restoration project. It is now flight-ready!

The only authentic Marine BPJ-1J variant of the famed Mitchell B-25 Bomber. It flew into Camarillo from Midland, TX in 1993 for a 20 year restoration project. It is now flight-ready!

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 The Kakovlev Yak-3 is widely considered the lightest fighter aircraft between 1939 and 1945.

The Kakovlev Yak-3 is widely considered the lightest fighter aircraft between 1939 and 1945.

Rocky Peak Park in Simi Valley

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The 4,800 acre Rocky Peak Park is located in the Santa Susana Mountains, adjacent to the 118 freeway between Yosemite Avenue and Rocky Peak Road in Simi Valley. It is visually stunning to see as you drive up the 118 grade east towards the San Fernando Valley.

  View of Rocky Peak Park from Highway 118 driving eastbound

View of Rocky Peak Park from Highway 118 driving eastbound

There are large sandstone structures, unusually balanced rocks, caves and other interesting formations throughout Rocky Peak Park. Plenty to explore and views abound!

The main entrance to the park is the Rocky Peak Trail, which runs north/south over about five miles of fire roads. It is moderately strenuous, with lots of hard, rocky surfaces, so make sure to wear solid shoes for this trail. Be prepared for panoramic views of Simi Valley and the San Fernando Valley as the trail is nearly on the Ventura/Los Angeles County line.

To get there from the west, take the 118 east to Kuehner Drive, turn right where after a few miles it becomes Santa Susana Pass Road, until you see the Rocky Peak overpass. The trailhead is across the freeway, but parking is very limited, so plan to park on Santa Susana Pass Road, where plenty of street parking is available.

 Lots of rocky surfaces on the Rocky Peak Trail as you can see

Lots of rocky surfaces on the Rocky Peak Trail as you can see

Trails that intersect the Rocky Peak Trail going east/west include the Hummingbird Creek Trail, Chumash Trail and Las Llajas Canyon Trail. Not far into Rocky Peak Trail you'll see a sign that indicates the Hummingbird Creek Trail.

 No doubt about it...you'll have some really nice views of Simi Valley from up here!

No doubt about it...you'll have some really nice views of Simi Valley from up here!

After reaching the 2,715 foot Rocky Peak and taking in the views, if you're up to it you can continue north where you will pass by the Chumash Trail and Las Llajas Canyon Trail.

The Rocky Peak Trail terminates north of Blind Canyon in Las Llajas Canyon. You must then double back to return to the trailhead, or take the three mile Chumash Trail down to the westernmost boundary of the property at the end of Flanagan Drive in Simi Valley.

Chumash Trail is about 3 miles of steady climb from Flanagan Drive. To get to the Chumash Trail trailhead, take the 118 to Yosemite, go north, turn right on Flanagan to the end. Park on the street.

The Hummingbird Trail was built by the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District, starting near Kuehner Drive and the 118 Freeway. The trail leads up to the main Rocky Peak Trail. During and just after the rainy season, the trail passes cascades flowing down the sandstone boulders and cliffs. It is about 2 miles or so each way. Take the 118 to Kuehner, go north to the parking area about a quarter of a mile away.

 Clearly marked sign on Rocky Peak Trail showing the Hummingbird Trail turnoff

Clearly marked sign on Rocky Peak Trail showing the Hummingbird Trail turnoff

Rocky Peak Park is maintained by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Learn more at lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=51. Dogs are allowed on these trails on leash.

 Peering down upon the northwest San Fernando Valley from Rocky Peak.

Peering down upon the northwest San Fernando Valley from Rocky Peak.

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 corner of South Moorpark Road and Greenmeadow Avenue in Thousand Oaks.

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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.

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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!

Leo Carrillo State Park in Malibu

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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 $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.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

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Founded in 1926, the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden is the oldest botanic garden in California dedicated to the study, conservation and display of native flora.  The Garden is a place of beauty and serenity, of education, research and conservation, of history and stewardship.

The Garden's living collections, including more than 1,000 types of plants, are featured throughout 78 acres accessible by over 5.5 miles of public trails; many trails are accessible by stroller or wheelchair. Accredited by the American Association of Museums as a living museum, the collections are devoted to illustrating the remarkable diversity of California's native flora. Arranged in stunning displays and interpreted through signage and docent-led tours, the living collections capture California's natural beauty and provide endless opportunities for learning, appreciation, and enjoyment.

Garden sections and displays include the Arroyo Section, Campbell Trail, Canyon Section, Desert Section, Home Demonstration Section, Manzanita Section, Meadow Section, Porter Trail, Redwood Section, Tea House Garden and Woodland Trail.

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The Garden's library includes over 15,000 books and journals, representing an important resource for education and research. Special collections include rare books, photos, manuscripts, and horticultural catalogs. The strength of the collection lies in its diversity, representing important botanical and horticultural works on California flora, Mediterranean floras of the world, landscape history, and the disciplines of botany and horticulture.

Composed of over 140,000 specimens of plants, the herbarium represents the region's largest scientific collection of preserved central coast plants. Collectively, the specimens document the ecology and geography of the region's plant diversity.

Open 7 days a week, the Garden is closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years Day and during some special events. Current admission costs as of April 2018 are $12 for adults, $10 for 60+ seniors, $8 for ages 13-17, college students and active military, and $6 for ages 2 to 12. Current garden hours are 9 am to 6 pm March through October and 9 am to 5 pm November through February.

The Garden Shop has an extensive selection of crafts, nature-related books and gifts for all ages and is open daily. There's also a Garden Growers Nursery open year-round.

Located at 1212 Mission Canyon Road, Santa Barbara. Visit www.sbbg.org or call 805.682.4726 for more information.

Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa in Newbury Park

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We are fortunate to have such great trails and views of Boney Peak from in Newbury Park. At Wendy and Potrero is the Western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains where Sycamore Canyon cuts through Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa and Point Mugu State Park.

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Roughly a mile easy hike from Wendy/Potrero gets you to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center where you can explore some native Chumash items and educational information and chat with rangers. This is a nice little hike to take the kids on. There are restrooms and water at the center, which is open from 9 to 5 on weekends.

Learn more about hiking in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa at THIS LINK.

You can get easier access to the center by parking in the adjacent National Park Service parking lot via Lynn Road to the access road at Via Goleta in Newbury Park.

Another mile and a half of hiking gets you to a small waterfall, which is fun to check out with the kids but somewhat more strenuous of a hike. Note that in recent years (2012-2015), the waterfall has barely flowed due to low rainfall.

Here is more information about the Boney Mountain Trail, leading up to Hidden Valley Overlook, the waterfall and Danielson Monument.

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Click here for a pdf file describing these and other local trails or go to the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/samo.  Visit www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/rsvsatwiwa.htm for a map and site information on the National Park Service website.

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Trailhead at the corner of Wendy Drive and Potrero Road in Newbury Park. Park on the dirt on the south side of Potrero or on the street on Wendy.

Mt. McCoy Trail in Simi Valley

The Mt. McCoy Trail is located on the west side of Simi Valley with a trailhead at the corner of Washburn Street and Los Amigos Avenue (off the west end of Royal Avenue).

 The trailhead at the corner of Washburn St and Los Amigos Avenue

The trailhead at the corner of Washburn St and Los Amigos Avenue

The Mt. McCoy trail is distinctive as there is a large white cross at the top of the mountain, which is about a 600 or so foot climb. From the trailhead, go straight and then take the switchbacks up the mountain.

 At this first juncture, keep going straight (south) to the switchbacks. Turn right and you'll be going straight up the steep hill, like we did the first time.

At this first juncture, keep going straight (south) to the switchbacks. Turn right and you'll be going straight up the steep hill, like we did the first time.

Actually, after just a few hundred feet from the Washburn/Los Amigos trailhead, you'll reach a juncture where you either go straight (which is correct) or take a trail to the right, which is much steeper, but a much more direct path to the top. We made the mistake of taking that path the first time and it got us right up to the cross, but it is pretty steep.

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The trails here are all really nicely groomed, thanks to the Rancho Simi Trailblazers and RSRPD. There are dozens of "shortcuts" along the trail but try to stick to the main path. Taking the correct path, with its switchbacks and twists and turns, is a bit over a mile to the top of Mt. McCoy, where you will be treated to panoramic views of the entire Simi Valley and the other direction towards the Reagan Library.  In fact, there are paths from the top that take you in other directions, including  a fire road that intersects with Presidential Drive to the Reagan Library.

 View of the cross from about halfway up

View of the cross from about halfway up

 A couple benches at the top of the hill to take in the beautiful views

A couple benches at the top of the hill to take in the beautiful views

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The Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District owns 200 acres surrounding Mt. McCoy and the Rancho Simi Trailblazers helped construct the nicely maintained trail. Learn more at www.rsrpd.org/simi_valley/trails/mt_mccoy_trail.php.

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 Looking down from the cross to the south, where the benches and trailhead are.

Looking down from the cross to the south, where the benches and trailhead are.

California Oil Museum in Santa Paula

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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.

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 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