Ranch Overlook Trail in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park

 Trailhead to the Ranch Overlook Trail starts at the juncture of Sycamore Canyon Fire Road (paved road that runs through Point Mugu State Park) and the access bridge to the Satwiwa Native American Culture Center.

Trailhead to the Ranch Overlook Trail starts at the juncture of Sycamore Canyon Fire Road (paved road that runs through Point Mugu State Park) and the access bridge to the Satwiwa Native American Culture Center.

 This is the bridge heading the other direction from the Ranch Overlook Trail sign leading to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center.

This is the bridge heading the other direction from the Ranch Overlook Trail sign leading to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center.

The one mile Ranch Overlook Trail is located in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park.

The trail extends from just west of the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center to the Palomino Trail in the Rancho Potrero Open Space.

The trail is about two wide and you’ll find hikers, runners, cyclists and equestrians all sharing it. The east portion is moderately flat, leading to a moderate hill. At the peak, you’ll have nice views toward the Rancho Sierra Vista main parking area and adjacent ranch structures as well as towards Boney Mountain.

Continue west down the trail to a juncture where you can either veer right towards the parking area and road into Rancho Sierra Vista, or you can continue straight until the next juncture. At the next juncture, if you take a left, you’ll soon be transitioning from Federal land (Rancho Sierra Vista) to Conejo Open Space land (Rancho Potrero). Though you won’t find a trail sign that indicates this, the trail that continues westward is the Palomino Trail.

Do be mindful of rattlesnakes back here. They want nothing to do with you, so if you come across one crossing the trail, let them make their way across.

 The “peak” of the Ranch Overlook Trail, looking southeast towards Satwiwa and Boney.

The “peak” of the Ranch Overlook Trail, looking southeast towards Satwiwa and Boney.

 Peak of Ranch Overlook Trail, looking down towards main Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa parking area and restrooms.

Peak of Ranch Overlook Trail, looking down towards main Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa parking area and restrooms.

 This is west of the peak of the Ranch Overlook Trail, a downhill section that takes you towards Rancho Potrero.

This is west of the peak of the Ranch Overlook Trail, a downhill section that takes you towards Rancho Potrero.

 This sign is at the bottom of the west side of the Ranch Overlook Trail, facing east, if you opt to take the trail counter-clockwise from the parking area.

This sign is at the bottom of the west side of the Ranch Overlook Trail, facing east, if you opt to take the trail counter-clockwise from the parking area.

 This ancient oak tree is adjacent to the Ranch Overlook Trail sign near the parking lot access. This was taken in September 2018. The large branch broke off earlier that summer. In the background is the parking area.

This ancient oak tree is adjacent to the Ranch Overlook Trail sign near the parking lot access. This was taken in September 2018. The large branch broke off earlier that summer. In the background is the parking area.

 This is the Palomino Trail in the adjacent Rancho Potrero Open Space, looking east towards Rancho Sierra Vista, in June 2018. These areas do green up after the winter rains in the April/May time frame….but dry up fast.

This is the Palomino Trail in the adjacent Rancho Potrero Open Space, looking east towards Rancho Sierra Vista, in June 2018. These areas do green up after the winter rains in the April/May time frame….but dry up fast.

Santa Rosa Loop Hike in Wildwood Park

The Santa Rosa Loop Hike in Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks is a 6 1/2 mile trek with moderately challenging uphills and downhills. You’ll be reward with beautiful views of the Conejo Valley and Santa Rosa Valley.

Start at the main Wildwood trailhead at the west end of Avenida de Los Arboles. Take the main Mesa Trail towards Lizard Rock. You'll soon reach the Santa Rosa Trail sign, which points you north.

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 As you crest the hill, follow the arrows toward the Lower Santa Rosa Trail.

As you crest the hill, follow the arrows toward the Lower Santa Rosa Trail.

Views of Santa Rosa Valley

So you're heading east and almost feeling like maybe you're getting lost, but this indeed is the Santa Rosa Trail. Just stay towards the left. It is single track much of the way over here. Then, you'll see the following sign as you get closer to the bottom of the Santa Rosa Valley.

So now you are zig zagging down the Shooting Star Trail, which eventually merges into the Lower Santa Rosa Trail.

Now you're going to turn left (west) on Lower Santa Rosa Trail for some gentle slopes alongside private residences and farms in the Santa Rosa Valley for about a mile or so.

 Some old farming equipment on the side of the Lower Santa Rosa Trail.

Some old farming equipment on the side of the Lower Santa Rosa Trail.

Then soon you come to the end of the trail and there's a sign that tells you to get back into Wildwood Park via the Box Canyon Trail, take the road up ahead 4/10ths of a mile. You're actually in Camarillo now on Rocky High Road.

 The trail ends at the juncture of Talal Ct (private) and Rocky High Road.

The trail ends at the juncture of Talal Ct (private) and Rocky High Road.

At the end of the short stretch of road is the trailhead back into Wildwood Park.

And soon you'll see the Box Canyon Trail sign. Veer left (although I think if you go right it loops around to the main trail also).

Box Canyon Trail Sign

It's about a 300 foot climb over less than half a mile up the Box Canyon Trail that gets you back to the main Mesa Trail artery in Wildwood Park. Take your time...you're almost there!

Box Canyon Lizard Rock Sign Wildwood Park

Then you'll see the Lizard Rock / Box Canyon sign that signifies you are back at the Mesa Trail to head about half a mile back to the parking lot. Or turn right to check out the views from Lizard Rock before you go.

To see a map of this hike, visit www.cosf.org/website/html/santa-rosa-loop.html.

OK, so if you're looking to take a break and sit back and enjoy the view near the juncture of the Mesa Trail and Box Canyon Trail?  Then head back (west) from the "Lizard Rock/Box Canyon" trail sign above toward Box Canyon and take the trail on the left to the Box Canyon Overlook, where you will find the following place to park your rear end. Not a bad view, eh?

 Bench at Box Canyon Overlook

Bench at Box Canyon Overlook

Channel Islands National Park

Channel Islands National Park consists of 5 of the 8 Channel Islands off the Santa Barbara coast. Although the islands are close to the shore, their isolation has left them relatively undeveloped.

The northern Channel Islands are Anacapa (1.1 sq mi), San Miguel (14.6 sq mi), Santa Cruz (96.5 sq mi) and Santa Rosa (83 sq mi) and the southern islands are San Clemente (57 sq mi), San Nicolas (23 sq mi), Santa Barbara (1 sq mi) and Santa Catalina (75 sq mi).

Channel Islands National Park includes the islands of San Miguel, Santa Rosa, Santa Cruz, Anacapa and Santa Barbara. Anacapa is located in Ventura County while the other four are in Santa Barbara County. San Clemente Island, the southernmost Channel Island, is owned and operated by the U.S. Navy. Catalina Island as we know with its population of 3,700 is a popular tourist destination. San Nicolas Island in Ventura County is also controlled by the U.S. Navy. On a clear day you can see two of the five islands, Anacapa and Santa Cruz.

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Visitors to the islands may swim, snorkel, hike, camp, watch wildlife, sail and explore tidepools, beaches and canyons. There is no food service on the islands, so bring what you need. Take a commercial service to the islands like Island Packers, which has been servicing the islands since 1968. Landings at Anacapa and Santa Cruz islands are year-round while the more remote outer islands, Santa Barbara, Santa Rosa and San Miguel are scheduled late spring through early fall.

Visit the National Park Service website at www.nps.gov/chis to learn more about visiting Channel Islands National Park. The park is open year-round.

The Robert J. Lagomarsino Visitor Center at Channel Islands National Park is located in the Ventura Harbor at 1901 Spinnaker Drive (805.658.5730) and the Outdoors Santa Barbara Visitor Center is located at the Santa Barbara Harbor at 113 Harbor Way, 4th Floor.

 On a clear day you can see two of the Channel Islands from Newbury Park and other Ventura County spots. Here's a view from the   Rancho Potrero Open Space   in Newbury Park.

On a clear day you can see two of the Channel Islands from Newbury Park and other Ventura County spots. Here's a view from the Rancho Potrero Open Space in Newbury Park.

 Anacapa Island seen from a whale watching boat.

Anacapa Island seen from a whale watching boat.

Lake Eleanor Open Space Hike in Westlake Village

For a nice, fairly moderate hike in Westlake Village, take Triunfo Canyon Road south to Highgate Road and head up to the southeast endpoint of Highgate, past Hillsbury Road, to the end of the road, where you'll see a trailhead sign.

It doesn't actually say "Lake Eleanor Open Space Hike" but this is indeed the way to get to this trail maintained by the Conejo Open Space Foundation (COSF).  Walk past the fence on the pavement, and in about 60 steps, the trailhead is on the right. There's no sign. In fact, I've never seen any signs indicating which way to go on this trail. But once you reach this path, for the most part the trail is pretty obvious. COSF has some helpful images and a trail map at www.cosf.org/website/html/lake-eleanor-open-space-hike.html.

There are some brief, slightly challenging hilly sections on this hike, along with some rocky sections, but for the most part, this trail is perfectly fine for all ages. I generally wouldn't recommend strollers on this trail though because of these sections, but if you have a solid off-road stroller, it is possible.

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 After record rainfalls in January/February 2017, this place is looking quite green.

After record rainfalls in January/February 2017, this place is looking quite green.

On the left you'll see the beautiful Las Virgenes Reservoir for most of the 1 1/2 mile hike.

 You can't go swimming in the Las Virgenes Reservoir but it sure makes for gorgeous views.

You can't go swimming in the Las Virgenes Reservoir but it sure makes for gorgeous views.

Towards the endpoint (Denver Springs Drive), on the right you can look down towards Westlake Boulevard/Decker Canyon and see the eight acre Lake Eleanor. Pretty cool to see from above as it is not accessible to the public.

 The main trail is on the left; veer right however for best views of Lake Eleanor.

The main trail is on the left; veer right however for best views of Lake Eleanor.

Lake Eleanor along with the Lake Eleanor Dam (also called Banning Dam) and surrounding 529 acres of open space has been named City of Thousand Oaks Historical Landmark #9. 

 Lake Eleanor, which is fenced off to protect the wildlife, is clearly visible from the trail.

Lake Eleanor, which is fenced off to protect the wildlife, is clearly visible from the trail.

I love this little hike. It is quiet and peaceful and the views are just wonderful up here. And you are just minutes from civilization.

CLICK HERE FOR DOZENS OF OTHER GREAT HIKING TRAILS AROUND VENTURA COUNTY

Rancho Potrero Open Space in Newbury Park

The Rancho Potrero Open Space area is located in Newbury Park off of Lynn Road, just east of the intersection with Rancho Dos Vientos. The area includes an equestrian center where Rocking K Horse Rentals is located and is adjacent to the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

 Map excerpt courtesy of Conejo Open Space Foundation (www.cosf.org)

Map excerpt courtesy of Conejo Open Space Foundation (www.cosf.org)

A new parking lot and restrooms were built in 2015 allowing for easier access to the Rancho Potrero Open Space (although notably the parking lot closes at 4pm, well before sunset). It is accessible just west of Rocking K off of Lynn/Potrero Road.

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There is a trailhead further west of the parking lot, just before Potrero (Lynn) Road takes a sharp right turn.  You can usually find parking off pavement here. A short (1/4 mile) walk up the hill gets you pretty darn nice views looking towards Camarillo and the Channel Islands. Take the adjoining Palomino Trail east towards Rancho Sierra Vista and the Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center.

 The entrance is further east off of Potrero/Lynn Road

The entrance is further east off of Potrero/Lynn Road

 About a 1/4 mile gets you to the top of a hill that gives you views as far as the Channel Islands.

About a 1/4 mile gets you to the top of a hill that gives you views as far as the Channel Islands.

 Can you believe this view!? Anacapa Island seen clearly through from Rancho Potrero.

Can you believe this view!? Anacapa Island seen clearly through from Rancho Potrero.

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 The views towards Boney Mountain from this area are quite nice too.

The views towards Boney Mountain from this area are quite nice too.

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Hiking in the North Ranch Open Space in Thousand Oaks

The North Open Space is represented by several massive sections of nearly 2,600 acres located in the east side of Thousand Oaks. There is a section east of Erbes Road to Westlake Boulevard down to Hillcrest Drive on the west side (this area is referred to as the Hillcrest Open Space Preserve) as well as a section further east bounded by Westlake Boulevard on the west, Lindero Canyon Road on the east and Thousand Oaks Boulevard on south.

These hills are beautiful and quite prominent from throughout the Conejo Valley. Hiking, running and cycling these hills can be a challenge as they are quite steep in most sections.

A main trailhead into the North Ranch Open Space is on Bowfield Street, just east of the North Rancho Playfields. The trail is called the Saddle Pass Trail, winding up and down the hills south towards Thousand Oaks Boulevard.

There are various other neighborhood trail entry points throughout the vast area. One of these is located at Canyon Oaks Park, 6200 Hedgewall Drive, Westlake Village. There's a walkway and a small bridge that leads to a quite intense looking path up the hill. And indeed, it is a very steep path. Definitely not for everyone. This is a path into the Bowfield/Saddle Pass Trail, which is maintained by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency.

 Small COSCA sign at the bottom of the steep hill from Canyon Oaks Park leading into the North Ranch Open Space.

Small COSCA sign at the bottom of the steep hill from Canyon Oaks Park leading into the North Ranch Open Space.

 A view of Canyon Oaks Park from about a third of the way up the hill.

A view of Canyon Oaks Park from about a third of the way up the hill.

There are roughly 3 or 4 miles of trails up here, mostly the Saddle Pass north/south trail but other connector trails to nearby neighborhoods, such as the townhome complex on Via Colinas above Thousand Oaks Blvd and the new Westlake Village Community Park and YMCA.

These hills get quite dry and hot during the summer months but in the spring green up nicely. You may even get the opportunity to enjoy some wildflowers.

 Orange beauties can often be seen in the March time frame off the Saddle Pass Trail south section.

Orange beauties can often be seen in the March time frame off the Saddle Pass Trail south section.

 Here's another section of trail that connects homes off of Via Colinas into the North Ranch Open Space. Most of these connector trails are quite steep, though generally well maintained!

Here's another section of trail that connects homes off of Via Colinas into the North Ranch Open Space. Most of these connector trails are quite steep, though generally well maintained!

Ventura Harbor Village

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Ventura Harbor Village at 1583 Spinnaker Drive, Ventura is home to 33 acres of harborside activities, shopping and restaurants.  The weather is always so cool over there it makes for a nice retreat.

There is a 36 horse carousel and arcade for the kids and plenty of outdoor activities available like kayaking, sailing, pedal boats, sport-fishing and cruises. Ventura Harbor Village hosts events and activities year-round, including music performances, kids' activities, themed events, festivals and more.

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Eateries at Ventura Harbor Village include 805 Bar & Grilled Cheese, Alexander's, Andria's Seafood Restaurant, Surf N' Taco, Boatyard Pub, Brophy Bros. Restaurant and Clam Bar, Coastal Cone (ice cream shop), Coffee Dock & Post, Copa Cubana, Fratellis Pizza & Brew, Harbor Cove Cafe, Le Petit Cafe, Bakery & Restaurant, Margarita Villa Mexican, Rhumb Line, The Greek Mediterranean Steak & Seafood and The Parlor. You won't go hungry here.

The Channel Islands National Park Visitor Center is located adjacent to Ventura Harbor Village. Free admission and an awesome resource for learning more about the Channel Islands and its protected habitat.

Island Packers at the Harbor has numerous boat rides and is the only authorized concessionaire to transport folks to Channel Islands National Park. 

Ventura Boat Rentals rents out electric boats, paddle boats, kayaks, power boats and charters cruises in the Ventura Harbor.  So much fun to be had!

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Across the street from Ventura Harbor Village is beach access at Harbor Cove Beach (a safe beach protected by jetties) and Surfer's Knoll Beach. Local area beaches at THIS LINK.

More information at www.venturaharborvillage.com or call 805.642.8538 (or 877.89.HARBOR).

Escondido Canyon Trail and Waterfalls in Malibu

 Trailhead on Winding Way

Trailhead on Winding Way

The Edward Albert Escondido Canyon Trail and Waterfalls is located off of Winding Way in Malibu.  It also also referred to as Escondido Falls.

The most unique aspect to Escondido Falls is that it is home to the tallest waterfall in the Santa Monica Mountains at over 150 feet, making it a wonderful place to visit. 

That said, in drought years, there is often no sign of waterfall, other than a sparse trickle into Escondido Canyon Creek. But even when that is the case, this is a wonderful, moderate hike, good for all ages. 

To get to Escondido Falls from the Conejo Valley/101, take Kanan south to PCH and turn left. You'll be driving just under 2 miles, past Paradise Cove, to the small parking lot on Winding Way and PCH. Turn left onto Winding Way and an immediate left into the parking lot. There's a sign; you can't miss it. The lot has spaces for only around 16 vehicles; it is full, you'll have to find a spot on PCH and make you way from there...but be careful and watch for the plentiful "no parking" signs on PCH.

(NOTE: Recently - summer 2018 time frame - an $8 per car parking fee was initiated at this parking lot. It takes both cash and credit cards. Parking fees contribute to the ongoing maintenance of the trails, including porta potty cleanings, graffiti and trash removal and partial staffing.)

 The parking area is on Winding Way and PCH. The initial section of the hike is along Winding Way is called the Winding Way Trail.

The parking area is on Winding Way and PCH. The initial section of the hike is along Winding Way is called the Winding Way Trail.

The hike is about 4 miles round trip and can be done in as fast as an hour (if you speed walk and don't hang out) or for most, a couple hours.

The first 8/10ths of a mile is along Winding Way to the trailhead. It has a moderate hill but is not that bad. Near the peak of the initial hill, you will need to cross from the left side of the street to the right side as you make your way up. There are signs that ask that you walk on the dirt trail rather than on the street, so try to abide by that. You will be treated to views of beautiful homes and ocean views along this portion of your trek.

After a short final downhill section, you'll reach the trailhead. After an initial left turn that takes you briefly west, most of the rest of the trail to Escondido Falls is a northeast to northerly direction. You'll be treated to lush oak woodlands and greenery year-round.  

 Much of the trail looks like this; canopied by oaks and shrub.

Much of the trail looks like this; canopied by oaks and shrub.

Hikers, equestrians and bikers are all welcome on the trail. Dogs too, on leash of course. I have not seen bikers on this trail, however. There are no restrooms, other than a porta-john at the parking lot. No drinking fountains, so bring water. There are trash cans at the trailhead. 

The waterfall is a treat to see but the rest of the hike is quite nice too, largely shaded and not too hilly or technical. There is a net elevation gain from 150' at the trailhead to 325' at the Falls over about a mile, which is not bad.

After the rainy season, you may have to cross the creek a few times as it criss-crosses the trail. There are a couple forks in the road where you may wonder which way to go. Generally speaking, turn left on your way to the falls and that will get you there.

 Believe it or not, this is the end of the trail, where the waterfall flows after the rainy season. In late August pictured here, there is a dribble of water flowing into the creek.

Believe it or not, this is the end of the trail, where the waterfall flows after the rainy season. In late August pictured here, there is a dribble of water flowing into the creek.

The parkland ends at the multi-tiered waterfall area and the trail basically ends. Except, there are paths that can get you to the upper falls. Technically you are not supposed to do this because you are no longer on public land, not to mention you are literally rock climbing your way up there and it can be dangerous. But (shame on me) yes, we did check it out and wow is it neat to see, even when there is zero water flow.

This is a fun, family-friendly hike that is worth a try. Quite popular, one could argue, too popular, on weekends.

 There's one side trail to the east that will give you views of the waterfall when it is flowing. The white-ish area in the upper right hand of this photo is where the waterfall resides.

There's one side trail to the east that will give you views of the waterfall when it is flowing. The white-ish area in the upper right hand of this photo is where the waterfall resides.

Why is it named after Edward Albert? Well, Edward Albert is the only son of actor Eddie Albert, well known for his role on TV sitcom "Green Acres." Edward died at age 55 in 2006. Prior to his death, he was a tireless advocate for preserving Escondido Canyon. The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy named the area in honor of him several months prior to his death. (1)

Escondido Canyon Park map at THIS LINK. Visit the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy site at www.lamountains.com/parks.asp?parkid=12.

(1) Los Angeles Times obituary dated 9/27/06 at this link.

Stearns Wharf in Santa Barbara

 Dolphins greet you at the entrance to Stearns Wharf.

Dolphins greet you at the entrance to Stearns Wharf.

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Stearns Wharf is located at the juncture of W. Cabrillo Road and State Street in Santa Barbara. Originally constructed in 1872 by lumberman John P. Stearns as the longest deep-water pier between Los Angeles and San Francisco, it is now one of the most visible and visited tourist destinations in Santa Barbara. In 1980-81, the City of Santa Barbara restored the wharf, constructed new buildings on it and assumed operation of the facility.

Our family particularly enjoys visiting the Museum of Santa Barbara Sea Center located on the wharf, followed by a stop at the candy store or the ice cream shop. Of course, The Harbor Restaurant and Longboards Grill are crowd favorites. There's also wine tasting, Moby Dick Restaurant, fish and chips, souvenir shops and other places that are fun to stop by.

 View from the end of Stearns Wharf back toward the mainland.

View from the end of Stearns Wharf back toward the mainland.

 View from Stearns Wharf

View from Stearns Wharf

You can get onto the wharf in a number of ways. There is limited parking on the wharf. Cost (as of August 2018) is $2.50/hour, but the first 90 minutes are FREE. Or you can park along Cabrillo Road or in a local beach parking lot and walk onto the wharf. Or do what we enjoy...park at the Santa Barbara Harbor and ride bikes onto the wharf. The wood planks are a bit bumpy but you'll survive!

Learn more about Stearns Wharf at www.stearnswharf.org.

Beautiful views of the harbor area as you'll see below from the pier. If you walk onto the wharf, you may encounter some locals that "live off the land" with sand sculptures and other monuments on the sand for your viewing pleasure (and perhaps some spare change). They are part of the carnival atmosphere. And of course on Sundays you'll be treated to the Santa Barbara Arts & Crafts Show that has been running since 1965.

Malibu Lagoon Field Trips Hosted by Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society

The Santa Monica Bay Audubon Society (SMBAS) hosts Malibu Lagoon Field Trips the 4th Sunday of every month.

Adult Walk starts at 8:30 a.m. for 2-3 hrs. The group meets at the metal-shaded viewing area next to parking lot. SMBAS makes a special effort to make these monthly Malibu Lagoon walks attractive to first-time and beginner birdwatchers. Brings binoculars and cameras.

 Metal shaded viewing area next to parking lot.

Metal shaded viewing area next to parking lot.

Children & Parents Walk starts at 10:00 a.m. for a 1 hr session. Meet at metal-shaded viewing area next to parking lot. SMBAS leaders are experienced with kids so by all means bring them down to the beach to enjoy nature. Binoculars will be provided.

Upcoming dates as of 8/16/18: 8/26/18, 9/23/18, 10/28/18, 11/25/18, 12/23/18, 1/27/19, 2/24/19, 3/24/19, 4/28/19, 5/26/19, 6/23/19, 7/28/19, 8/25/19, 9/22/19, 10/27/19, 11/24/19, 12/22/19, 1/26/20.

If you have a Scout troop or other group 7 or larger, please call Lu at 310.395.6235 to make sure SMBAS has enough binoculars and docents on hand.

Visit smbasblog.com to learn more.

Directions: Malibu Lagoon is located at the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Cross Creek Road in Malibu. Bring water and sun protection; look around for people wearing binoculars and hats.

Parking: Self-serve parking machine in lot, $3/hr, $12 day ($11 seniors); credit cards accepted. Annual passes accepted. You may also park (read all signs carefully) on PCH west of Cross Creek Road, on Cross Creek Road, or on Civic Center.Way north (inland) of the shopping center. Lagoon parking in shopping center lots is not permitted.

Old Boney Trail Hike in Pt. Mugu State Park

If you're looking for a hike of about 10 miles in the Rancho Sierra Vista/Boney Mountain Wilderness area, consider the Old Boney Trail loop from Newbury Park. You can park either in the National Park Service parking lot or at Wendy Drive where it meets Potrero Road.

You can do the hike clockwise or counter-clockwise since it is a loop course. I prefer clockwise, which starts by trekking through Rancho Sierra Vista to Danielson Road. Details of this path are at THIS LINK. This path gets you to a juncture where you can continue another 3/10ths of a mile to the Danielson Monument (which you definitely should do if you've never been there) or veer a sharp right up the Old Boney Trail.

 Sign at juncture of Danielson Road trail and Old Boney Trail in Pt. Mugu State Park

Sign at juncture of Danielson Road trail and Old Boney Trail in Pt. Mugu State Park

I love the Old Boney Trail. It is narrow and covered with growth on both sides. Kind of like running through a chaparral jungle. This makes the trail mostly shade covered for the first couple miles of this 3.5 mile stretch of trail. You'll be treated to some nice views of Boney Mountain along the way.

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Although the Old Boney Trail does not reach a peak for panoramic views, you'll still find several spots that reward you with views towards the Channel Islands and west Ventura County.

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About a mile or mile and a half into Old Boney Trail from Danielson Road, you'll see a turnoff sign to the right that takes you to the Fossil Trail, a mile or so drop back down to the bottom of Sycamore Canyon. The drop is about 1300 ft to 500 ft with plenty of rocky surfaces, so you'll have some fun going back down this way, for a shorter route. And of course, look closely and you'll be treated to surfaces covered with sea fossil imprints from millions of years ago.

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From the Old Boney Trail/Fossil Trail juncture, you have another 2.1 fun miles to the next juncture at Blue Canyon Trail at the bottom of the canyon. You'll get some more neat views of Boney Mountain during this stretch. At the juncture is the following sign on Blue Canyon Trail.

 Sign on Blue Canyon Trail at the Old Boney Trail juncture in Pt. Mugu State Park.

Sign on Blue Canyon Trail at the Old Boney Trail juncture in Pt. Mugu State Park.

You will turn right on Blue Canyon Trail, which will take you to the Danielson Multi-Use area and the paved Sycamore Canyon Fire Road. A left-hand turn will get you lots of fun for another day, onward to Chamberlain Trail that gets you up to some might nice peaks, and Serrano Valley.

 Sign at entrance to Blue Canyon Trail at the Danielson Multi-Use area (you of course will be looking at the back side of this sign if you're coming from the Old Boney Trail).

Sign at entrance to Blue Canyon Trail at the Danielson Multi-Use area (you of course will be looking at the back side of this sign if you're coming from the Old Boney Trail).

 I've never actually seen anyone using the Danielson Multi-Use area but here's the picnic area.

I've never actually seen anyone using the Danielson Multi-Use area but here's the picnic area.

So you run through the Danielson area to the main paved road to the right (turning left of course will take you to PCH in about 4-5 miles). In another 3 miles you'll be back in civilization; these miles include the 800 foot, 3/4 mile ascent into Rancho Sierra Vista, which can be a bit brutal...perhaps my (and maybe your) least favorite section of this course. But once you're up the hill, you're home free! Time for breakfast, lunch, dinner or all of the above!

 Sycamore Canyon Fire Road sign at the top of the hill in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa.

Sycamore Canyon Fire Road sign at the top of the hill in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa.

Of course, you can easily reverse this course and make your way DOWN Sycamore Canyon Fire Road, turn left onto Blue Canyon Trail, left on Old Boney Trail for 3.5 miles and then left on Danielson Road, back down into the canyon and up towards Satwiwa.

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.

The entry to the Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area.

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

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

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

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

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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, but it has largely grown back as of spring 2018).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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!

 Sycamore Cove Beach in Point Mugu

Sycamore Cove Beach in Point Mugu

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).

Sycamore Cove Beach in Point Mugu

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Sycamore Cove Beach is located at 9000 Pacific Coast Highway in Point Mugu. The beach is one of the closest and easiest to get to from the Conejo Valley and Camarillo via Las Posas and PCH.

 Sycamore Cove Beach in the background. Sycamore Canyon Campground entrance on left.

Sycamore Cove Beach in the background. Sycamore Canyon Campground entrance on left.

The beach is popular with families looking to barbecue and enjoy quick and easy access to the beach. There are also porta-johns and restrooms available. Very limited parking on PCH (read the signs carefully as you don't want to get ticketed) but plenty of paid parking available (generally $12 to $14 for the day).

 A view of Sycamore Cove Beach from the south.

A view of Sycamore Cove Beach from the south.

On the northwest end of the beach you can walk underneath PCH to the other side of PCH, where Sycamore Canyon Campground is located. From there, you can take Sycamore Canyon up to Newbury Park (about eight miles).

Due north of Sycamore Cove Beach is Thornhill Broome Beach/Campground, which along with Sycamore Cove and Sycamore Canyon is part of Point Mugu State Park. Across from Thornhill Broome is the large sand dune that makes for some fun climbing.

 The humongous sand dune walking distance from Sycamore Cove.

The humongous sand dune walking distance from Sycamore Cove.

Visit www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=630 for more information.