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 10/26, 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 7/21, 8/18, 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 8/3, 9/7, 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!
Sun 7/14, 8/17 10am to noon: Meet the Pumas in the Park at King Gillette Ranch - Join a ranger talk about the protection and survival of the park’s last large mammal carnivores. Learn about what wildlife biologists are discovering from a 17-year study and explore the puma’s unique challenges in the nation’s largest urban park. Walk will be about 2 miles round trip. Bring sun protection, water and sturdy shoes. Meet at water fountain at Visitor Center.
Fri 7/12 2-4PM - Bird Beak Buffet Jr. Ranger Program at Rancho Sierra Vista and at King Gillette Ranch - How do birds eat their food? Why are beaks so many different shapes and sizes? Earn a junior ranger pin by joining a park ranger in an fun activity to discover how different beaks help birds eat many kinds of foods! Drop in any time between 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM for this 15 minute activity!
Sat 7/13 8-9PM - 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.
Sun 7/14 2-4:30PM - Coyote Challenge Jr. Ranger Program at King Gillette Ranch - Do you have what it takes to be a coyote? Join a park ranger for a fun jr. ranger activity and learn about the coyotes that live among us in the mountains and cities. Drop by anytime from 1:30 PM-4:00 PM!
Fri 7/19 10:30am to noon - Bees Out, Man! at King Gillette Ranch - 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!
Sat 7/20 8-9:30am - Film & TV History of Malibu Creek State Park - Santa Monica Mountains film historian Mike Malone will give a Powerpoint presentation on the film and TV history of Malibu Creek State Park. The greatest period of film history was during the property’s ownership under 20th Century Fox which included Planet of the Apes and MASH. Park in the second parking lot and follow the signs to the outdoor amphitheater. There is a $12 parking fee collected at the entrance station. Seating is on wood benches, but you may also bring your own chair.
Sat 7/20 2-3:30pm - Wildlife and Human Connection Jr. Ranger Program at King Gillette Ranch - What wildlife do you see in the park? We share our parks with many interesting an important creatures! Join Ranger Konstanze in a Jr Ranger activity and learn about unique characteristics of some wildlife in the Santa Monica Mountains!
Sat 7/20 6-7:30pm - Flute Music Cultural Demonstration at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa - Enjoy the evening sunset as we listen to the inspirational flute music from Apache flautist, Eric “Medicine Wind” Alvarado. There are no reservations required to attend this evening program. Please wear layers for changing weather conditions and bring a flashlight. Feel free to bring camping chairs, or blankets for comfortableness. All ages welcome. 805-370-2301.
Sat 7/20 8:30-10:30PM - Star Party: 50th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing at Paramount Ranch - Join rangers and astronomers for a star party to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. While the moon will not be visible during the star party, we’ll look to the Solar System to gaze upon objects of past, present, and future exploration. Now is your chance to see the moons of Jupiter!
In order to preserve night vision and provide optimal viewing, red flashlights/headlamps are preferred. Regular flashlights are allowed but must be pointed toward the ground and turned off when not in use.
The event is free. Restrooms are available nearby. Rain cancels. For any questions, call the Visitor Center at (805) 370-2301.
Sun 7/21 7:30-9:30PM - Silents Under the Stars at Paramount Ranch “The Kid Brother” - The Silent Society of Hollywood Heritage will return for a special fundraiser presentation of the Harold Lloyd classic comedy The Kid Brother (1927). All proceeds will go to the Santa Monica Mountains Fund to support the rebuilding of the western town that was destroyed in the Woolsey Fire in November of last year. “King of the Radio Cowboys,” Will Ryan will perform prior to the film. The surviving train station will provide a platform for the screen. Plastic folding chairs will be available, but you are welcome to bring your own chair. Please bring a flashlight. Although all electric lighting was lost, we will have both solar and battery operated lights. New picnic tables will also be available. So come early with a picnic dinner! $10 admission.
Fri 7/26 9:30-11:30am - Adventures with a Ranger at King Gillette Ranch - 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.
Fri 7/26 2-4PM - Jr. Ranger Program: Calif Native Plant Scavenger Hunt at King Gillette Ranch - Earn your Junior Ranger pin while exploring the visitor center’s native plant garden with Ranger Ashley. Learn how to identify some of California’s native plants and how the Chumash Native American’s once utilized them in their daily lives!
Sat 7/27 2-3:30PM - Junior Ranger Adventures at King Gillette Ranch - Explore the Santa Monica Mountains with a ranger and earn a junior ranger badge! On a short walk, learn how to hike safely, identify plants and animals, and use your senses to explore the world around us. Free junior ranger activity books will be available. The program is aimed for kids 5-11 but all ages are welcome to participate. Meet at 2 PM by the fountain at the King Gillette Visitor Center.
Sun 7/28 2-3:30PM - Learn how to become a Junior Ranger for the Santa Monica Mountains at Rancho Sierra Vista. Activities include learning about the Chumash history and playing a game with a ranger. This Ranger led activity is for all ages!
Sun 7/28 10am-noon - History Hike 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 and ending at the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center. We will start our hike at 10:15am. Please bring shoes appropriate for hiking, water, and sunblock. Rain cancels.
Sat 8/3 7-10:30PM - 2019 Night Sky Festival at Paramount Ranch - Join park rangers and astronomers from the Ventura County Astronomical Society for a night of stargazing in the Santa Monica Mountains! Gaze into a telescope to see our neighbor planets, shiny nebulae, and distant galaxies!
Come early, as the festivities start before the sun goes down! The event features the following:
Guest presenter Dr. Travis Longcore will present his talk, Light Pollution, Wildlife, and You.
Kids activities (including Night Sky Junior Ranger activity book & patch)
Stargazing with telescopes in the field
This event is free and accessible. Headlamps and flashlights with red lights are preferred to preserve night vision. For questions, call our Visitor Center at (805) 370-2301.
Sat 8/17 6-7:30pm - Native American Dance Demonstration at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa - Kathy Willcuts and Steven Garcia will perform traditional Native American dance, including Northern Traditional and shawl dancing. Steven Garcia is of Yaqui-Mescalero, Tongva descent and will be performing Northern Traditional style. Kathy Willcuts will be performing traditional Shawl dancing from her Rosebud Lakota tribe. Each dance demonstration will have a brief explanation of the meaning of the dance. Turtle Island Singers drum group will be performing for the dancers that evening. Steven and Kathy are dedicated presenters at the Satwiwa Culture Center. They each present various workshops throughout the year.
There are no reservations required to attend this evening program. Please wear layers for changing weather conditions and bring a flashlight. Feel free to bring camping chairs, or blankets for comfortableness. All ages welcome. 805-370-2301.
Sun 8/18 2-3:30PM - Who Lives Here? Jr. Ranger Program at King Gillette Ranch - 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.
Sat 8/24 2-3:30PM - Who Lives Here? Jr. Ranger Program at King Gillette Ranch - 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.
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.