Santa Monica Mountains Recreation Area Programs in Ventura County

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Free events and programs at Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area locations in Ventura County and adjacent areas are highlighted below! (updated periodically to remove past activities). For additional details and other event locations, visit samofund.org/calendar.

Most activities subject to cancellation if there's significant rain.

Sat 10/6,, 11/24, 12/28 - Welcome Walk at Malibu Creek State Park 10am to 12:30pm - Join a docent for a refreshing walk along Malibu Creek, through a wooded valley. Learn about fire restoration, plus the park’s animals, plants, early inhabitants, and movies filmed on location. Meet at the Main Trailhead parking lot (second, lower lot) by the restrooms.

Sun 9/15, 10/20, 11/17, 12/15, 1/19/20, 2/16, 3/15, 4/19, 5/17, 6/21, 7/19 8am to 11:30am - San Fernando Valley Audubon Bird Walk at Malibu Creek State Park - Considered the recreational crown jewel of the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu Creek State Park has over 8,000 acres of rolling tall grass plains, oak savannahs and dramatic peaks. It’s no wonder many call it “The Yosemite of Southern California.” Seasoned birders and beginners alike will enjoy good bird watching and a beautiful, easy hike. Meet at the second (lower) day-use parking lot. Entrance to the park is on the west side of Las Virgenes Rd., just south of Mulholland Hwy. Entrance fee is $12 per car.

Sat 10/5, 11/2, 12/7, 1/4/20, 2/1 8:30-10am - Birds of the Santa Monica Mountains Walk at King Gillette Ranch - Bring your binoculars, bird guide, and/or camera and join us for an easy bird walk around the grounds of King Gillette Ranch. This area attracts many songbirds, water birds, woodpeckers, and raptors and we are always treated to something interesting. Kids are welcome and the walk is less than a mile at a very easy pace as we stop often to observe the birds. We leave promptly at 8:30 from the flagpole. Heavy rain cancels (but I will be there for anyone who wants to walk in it!). See you there!

9/14 10-11am at Malibu Lagoon State Beach - Slow Down and Relax - Relax, unwind and recharge on the beach with gentle Qigong exercises, such as the Crane. Qigong is a healing system which includes slow flowing movements inspired by nature that can easily be adapted to one’s physical ability. Meet on west end of beach at Malibu Point. No experience necessary. Event is free.

9/14 and 9/27 7-8pm - Park After Dark: The Stars of Paramount Ranch - Go behind the scenes with a ranger and explore Paramount Ranch at night! See the eerie remains of Western Town. Stand on a dangerous, abandoned racetrack. Gaze into the sky to see the stars that still shine here. Bring a flashlight, water, and wear sturdy shoes. Stargazing will be available if the sky is clear. Questions? Call visitor center at (805) 370-2301.

9/14 2-4pm - Junior Ranger Program: Habitat Exploration at Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center - Take a 1 mile hike with Ranger Luis and learn more about the wildlife habitat at King Gillette Ranch. Please bring proper attire for a short hike. Hat, sun protection, water, snacks, and comfortable walking shoes. Meet Ranger by the water fountain.!

9/14 9:30-11am - Bees Out, Man! Jr. Ranger Program at Rancho Sierra Vista - Learn about the diverse species of bees that live in the Santa Monica Mountains! Participate in fun activities and a short hike in search of the buzzing pollinators that are vital to the health of local ecosystems!

9/15 2-3:30pm - Who Lives Here? Jr. Ranger Program at Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center - Join a ranger and learn something cool about the many different owls in the Santa Monica Mountains. Practice your scientific exploration skills with an owl pellet dissection activity. Earn a Jr. Ranger badge and get sworn in by a ranger! Family friendly fun for all ages.

9/20 6-8pm - Park After Dark: Protectors of the Night at Paramount Ranch - Join Ranger Luis for a night out in the park to learn more about our lesser known wildlife. This program will have a short 2 mile hike around Paramount Ranch as we learn about bats’ echolocation, habitat, and overall impact they have in our ecosystem. Please bring water, headlamps, and a light jacket for the evening.

9/21 11am-noon, 1-2pm and 3-4pm - L.A.’s Historic Mountain Neighborhood: Presentation & Book Signing at the Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center - Is quiet little Cornell one of the most historical neighborhoods in Los Angeles? Cornell is the only known community in Southern California with a one-room schoolhouse, general store, and post office dating back to the 1920s that are still in use. Add to that Paramount Ranch, Malibu Creek State Park, a historic racetrack, two former movie ranches, a popular pre-Disneyland amusement park, and more and it is easy to see why Cornell is such a special place.

Join author Brian Rooney for a lively and entertaining talk about his book Three Magical Miles: L.A.’s Amazing Historical Neighborhood and watch never-before-seen footage of the Lake Enchanto amusement park. Following the program, Rooney will be on hand to sign Three Magical Miles, which will be available for purchase in the visitor center store. Parking and program are free!

9/22 9-11am - Hike into History at Rancho Sierra Vista - Explore and learn! Join Ranger Aaron for a short 1-mile guided hike at Rancho Sierra Vista and learn about the ranching history of this park site!

This hike will feature occasional stops along the trail where we will learn about the different periods and people who helped shape Rancho Sierra Vista.

Following the hike we will explore locations where historic photographs were taken at Rancho Sierra Vista as early as 1900 to get a before-and-after look of how the Ranch has evolved through time.

It is estimated that this hike should be approximately 1 hour in length to cover both the hike and the talk. The exploration with photographs should take approximately 45 minutes. There will also be plenty of time afterwards for any questions!

We will be meeting at the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center. We will start our hike at 9:15am.

Sign up here for free here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/hike-into-history-at-rancho-sierra-vista-tickets-71219849487

9/22 10am-noon, 1-3pm - Basketry Workshop with Hupa Elder Kat High - Hupa artist, storyteller and astronomer will demonstrate how to make round reed baskets.

There are two workshops available. The first workshop begins promptly at 10am. The second workshop begins at 1pm. Please be on time. Materials will be provided. For ages 7 and up.

To sign up for a workshop follow the links below:

10 am workshop

1 pm workshop

9/28 9:30-11:30am - Adventures with a Ranger at Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center - Come and enjoy a nice hike to Inspiration Point at King Gillette Ranch! Explore what types of plants and animals are native to the park and discover the rich history of the individuals that once lived and visited the park.

This ranger led program is about mile hike and all ages are welcomed! Meet the Ranger by the water fountain at the Visitor Center.

9/28 10-11:30am - Who Lives Here? Jr. Ranger Program at Rancho Sierra Vista - Join a ranger and learn something cool about the many different owls in the Santa Monica Mountains. Practice your scientific exploration skills with an owl pellet dissection activity. Earn a Jr. Ranger badge and get sworn in by a ranger! Family friendly fun for all ages.

10/5 8:30am-12:30pm - Intro to Mountain Bike Skills at Malibu Creek State Park - Learn basic mountain biking skills from professional mountain bike coach Mark Langton (mountainbikeskills.com). Skills covered are proper posture (body position) for balance, cornering, climbing, descending, and braking.

10/20 10am to noon and 1-3pm - Gourd Necklace Workshop at Rancho Sierra Vista - Get creative with Potawatomi artist Nadiya Littlewarrior as she presents a workshop on making and decorating gourd necklaces. The first workshop begins promptly at 10am. The second workshop begins at 1pm. Please be on time. All ages welcome. Materials will be provided.

To sign up for a work shop follow the links below:

10 am workshop

1 pm workshop

11/3 10am to noon and 1-3pm - Make an Authentic Native American Pinch Pot at Rancho Sierra Vista - Join Navajo – Pueblo of Isletas Native, Rowan Harrison, as he will teach and demonstrate how to create your very own small, traditional, hand-coiled pottery.

The first workshop begins promptly at 10am. The second workshop begins at 1pm. Please be on time. Materials will be provided. All ages welcome.

To sign up for a work shop follow the links below:

10 am workshop

1 pm workshop

11/17 10am-noon and 1-3pm - Make a Dream Catcher at Rancho Sierra Vista - Come make a dream-catcher with Witchita tribal artist Michael Williams. He will teach the basics of creating your very own dream-catcher using natural resources.

There are two workshops available. The first workshop begins promptly at 10am. The second workshop begins at 1pm. Please be on time. Materials will be provided. All ages welcome.

To sign up for a work shop follow the links below:

10 am workshop

1 pm workshop

12/1 10am-3pm - Winter Solstice Festival at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa - Join us for a full day of Native American hand-crafted art, music, storytelling, dance demonstration, and family fun.

More than a dozen Native American Indian artists will show and sell artwork reflecting Chumash, Tongva, Wichita, Hupa, Cahuilla, Apache, Kumeyaay, Dine/Navajo, and many other Native cultures.

This is a great opportunity to purchase beautiful and unique Native American art for the holidays and meet our local artists.

Native American flute music, traditional dance demonstrations, and stories will be performed throughout the day. All ages welcome.


Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center in Calabasas

Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center in Calabasas

King Gillette Ranch - View from near Inspiration Point

King Gillette Ranch - View from near Inspiration Point

Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center in Newbury Park

Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center in Newbury Park

Directions to various locations

Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyons: Ventura Fwy (101) to Chesebro Rd exit. Turn north on Palo Comado Canyon Rd then right on Chesebro Rd. Go north 1 mile to park entrance. Turn right and follow road to parking lot.

Circle X Ranch: Pacific Coast Hwy to Yerba Buena Rd. Turn inland; go 5.4 miles to Circle X Ranch contact station.

Sandstone Peak Trailhead: 1 mile north of Circle X Ranch contact station on Yerba Buena Rd. Parking lot is on left.

Mishe Mokwa Trailhead: 1.75 miles north of the Circle X contact station along Yerba Buena Road. Parking lot is on right.

King Gillette Ranch: Ventura Fwy (101) Exit Las Virgenes Rd. Go 3 miles south on Las Virgenes Rd to Mulholland Hwy intersection (traffic light). Turn left on Mulholland Hwy. Park entrance is 0.1 mile on right.

Malibu Creek State Park: Ventura Fwy (101) Exit Las Virgenes Rd. Go 3 miles south on Las Virgenes Rd to Mulholland Hwy intersection (traffic light). Park entrance is 0.25 mile south of the intersection on Las Virgenes Rd. From Pacific Coast Hwy: north on Malibu Canyon Rd to park entrance on left.

Paramount Ranch: Ventura Fwy (101) to Kanan Rd exit. South on Kanan 0.5 mile. Left on Cornell Way and veer to right. South 2.5 miles, entrance is on right side of the road.

Peter Strauss Ranch is located at 30000 Mulholland Highway, Agoura Hills.

Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa: Ventura Fwy (101) to Lynn Rd exit. South on Lynn Rd 5.25 miles to Via Goleta. Park entrance is on the left at Via Goleta. Continue all the way to a parking lot where the road ends. To get to the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center, walk 0.3 mile up gravel road from the parking area to brown wooden building. 

Wendy Trailhead: Ventura Fwy (101) to Wendy Dr. exit. South on Wendy Dr to dirt pullout at intersection with Potrero Rd.

Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Visitor Center at King Gillette Ranch: From Ventura Fwy (101): Exit Las Virgenes Rd. Go 3 miles south on Las Virgenes Rd to Mulholland Hwy intersection (traffic light). Turn left on Mulholland Hwy. Go 0.1 mile and turn right into entrance of King Gillette Ranch. The visitor center is the first building on your right. 26867 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas.