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.

Fri 8/4 8:15-9:30pm - Creatures of the Night Walk at Rancho Sierra Vista - Join a Ranger for a 1.5-mile night hike and discover which animals come out at night. If we are lucky, we will spot some scorpions or hear the coyotes howl! Meet in main parking lot. This program is for all ages. There are no reservations required for this program. Please wear layers for changing weather conditions and bring a flashlight.

Sat 8/5 8:30-10am - Birds of the Santa Monica Mountains 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 at Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center.

Sat 8/5 8:15-9:15 at Rancho Sierra Vista - The Wiley Coyote - Join a ranger for a 1.5 mile hike through grassy hills while learning about these savvy opportunistic creatures. Please wear layers for changing weather conditions and bring a flashlight just in case. Meet in main parking lot. All ages are welcome and the parking is free.

Sat 8/5 7-8pm - Campfire Program at Malibu Creek State Park "History, Mystery, Stories and Music of the Park's First People" - Join us for a lively campfire program with Peter Rice. All campers and park visitors welcome. Presented in the Campground Amphitheater by the Malibu Creek Docents. Hourly parking $3 per hour.

Fri 8/11 6-8pm at Rancho Sierra Vista - Park After Dark: Sunset Tarantula Hike - Take a sunset stroll as we search for male tarantulas looking for potential mates. Along the hike rangers will share facts about these traveling tarantulas. No reservations required. Wear layers for changing weather conditions and bring a flashlight just in case. Meet in main parking lot. All ages are welcome and the parking is free. Directions: Ventura Fwy (101) to Lynn Rd exit. South on Lynn Rd 5.25 miles to Via Goleta. Park entrance is on the left.

Sat 8/12 8:30-9:30pm - Campfire Program at Malibu Creek State Park "Mysteries & Wonders of the Night Sky" - Join us for a lively campfire program with Peter Rice. All campers and park visitors welcome. Presented in the Campground Amphitheater by the Malibu Creek Docents. Hourly parking $3 per hour.

Sat 8/19 7-8pm - Campfire Program at Malibu Creek State Park "Rockin' Reptile Safari" - Join us for a lively campfire program with Peter Rice. All campers and park visitors welcome. Presented in the Campground Amphitheater by the Malibu Creek Docents. Hourly parking $3 per hour.

Sat 8/19 3-5pm - A Walk Into the Chumash World at SM Mountains Interagency Visitor Center - Chumash Indians have used many natural resources for thousands of years to create a sustainable way of life. Learn about their culture and life in Southern California on this easy one-mile walk.

Sun 8/20 8-11:30am at Malibu Creek State Park - SF Valley Audubon Bird Walk - 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.

Sun 8/20 4-5pm - Experience Bloom at Peter Strauss Ranch - Bloom artist Olga Lah and performance artist Kiyomi Fukui will host a collaborative event that engages with the hillside installation. Visitors will be invited to experience a participatory activity that will include conversation, performance and consumption.

Sun 8/20 8:30am-noon - Hike with a Ranger - Mishe Mokwa to Sandstone Peak - Join a Ranger on this 6-mile journey to the top of the highest point of the whole Santa Monica Mountains: Mishe Mokwa to Sandstone Peak Loop. Explore one of the most scenic trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, as we go through oak woodlands, experience seeing Echo Cliffs and Split Rock and finish at the top of the peak. Wear sturdy shoes, bring sunscreen, a hat, a lunch and plenty of water! Meet at Mishe Mokwa trail-head.

Thu 8/24 8am to 12:30pm - 8 Mile Hike at Malibu Creek State Park - Moderately paced 8-mile, 1000’ gain hike including the Lookout Trail with great views, Century Lake, and Reagan picnic area. Meet at 8 a.m. at Cornell & Mulholland dirt parking area. Bring 2 quarts water, lunch, sturdy hiking footwear, hat, sunscreen. Rain cancels. Directions: From 101 (Ventura Fwy), take Kanan Rd., exit 36, south ½ mile, turn left on Cornell and veer to right continuing south 3 miles, past Paramount Ranch, to paved entrance of dirt parking area on east side of street just south of Mulholland Hwy.

Sat 8/26 7-8pm - Campfire Program at Malibu Creek State Park "Awesome Animals" - Join us for a lively campfire program with Peter Rice. All campers and park visitors welcome. Presented in the Campground Amphitheater by the Malibu Creek Docents. Hourly parking $3 per hour.

Sun 8/27 - From Set to Screen Walk at Paramount Ranch - Learn the secrets that turn a dusty set into a realistic town. Join us on this easy-paced walk behind the scenes to discover the illusions and history of this Ranch. Rain or predicted rain cancels. 

Sat 9/2 8:30-10am - Birds of the Santa Monica Mountains 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 at Anthony C. Beilenson Interagency Visitor Center.

Sun 9/17 8-11:30am at Malibu Creek State Park - SF Valley Audubon Bird Walk - 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.

Sun 9/24 10-11am - From Set to Screen Walk at Paramount Ranch - Learn the secrets that turn a dusty set into a realistic town. Join us on this easy-paced walk behind the scenes to discover the illusions and history of this Ranch. Rain or predicted rain cancels. 

Sun 10/15 8-11:30am at Malibu Creek State Park - SF Valley Audubon Bird Walk - 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.

Sun 10/29 - From Set to Screen Walk at Paramount Ranch - Learn the secrets that turn a dusty set into a realistic town. Join us on this easy-paced walk behind the scenes to discover the illusions and history of this Ranch. Rain or predicted rain cancels. 

Sun 11/19 8-11:30am at Malibu Creek State Park - SF Valley Audubon Bird Walk - 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.

Sun 11/26 - From Set to Screen Walk at Paramount Ranch - Learn the secrets that turn a dusty set into a realistic town. Join us on this easy-paced walk behind the scenes to discover the illusions and history of this Ranch. Rain or predicted rain cancels. 

Sun 12/17 8-11:30am at Malibu Creek State Park - SF Valley Audubon Bird Walk - 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.

Sun 1/21/18 8-11:30am at Malibu Creek State Park - SF Valley Audubon Bird Walk - 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.

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.