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 10/26, 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 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 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 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.

Sun 8/11 2-3:30pm - Jr. Ranger Program: California Native Plant Scavenger Hunt at Rancho Sierra Vista - Earn your Junior Ranger pin while exploring Satwiwa’s ethno-botanic 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!

Sun 8/11 2-3:30pm - Jr. Ranger Program: Who Lives Here? 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.

Fri 8/16 2-4pm - Junior Ranger Program: Habitat Exploration at SM Mountains 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.!

Sat 8/17 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 1 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.

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.

Sun 8/18 9:30-11:30AM - Secrets of Solstice: A History Hike to the Roberts Ruins at Solstice Canyon - If you’ve ever wondered these questions or are just curious about the history of Solstice Canyon, join Ranger Aaron as he hikes and chats his way up towards the Roberts Ruins near the waterfall at Solstice Canyon! We will meet at the main/upper parking lot at 9:30am.

It is an easy 1-mile hike (one direction) where we will make a few stops to look at the historic features that Solstice Canyon offers. The hike will conclude at the Roberts Ruins with a room-by-room tour of the house along with images of how it looked before it burned down.

It is advised that attendees carpool if possible and try to show up early to grab a parking spot. Parking lot can fill up very quickly!

The hike and tour should last around 2 hours at most but there will be plenty of time afterwards for any questions! Please bring shoes appropriate for hiking, water, hat, and sunblock. Rain cancels.

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.

Sun 8/25 6-8pm - 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.

Sat 9/7 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.

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.

2019 Bee and Butterfly Day at Pleasant Valley Historical Society Botanical Garden in Camarillo on Sunday, July 14th

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The Pleasant Valley Historical Society (PVHS) hosts "Bee and Butterfly Day" to welcome butterflies and California native bees to its Botanical Garden.  The public is invited to this free family-friendly event on Sunday, July 14 from 1 - 4 PM at 720 Las Posas Road, Camarillo

Anna D. Howell, an entomologist working in the local agricultural industry, will speak about bees. Anna earned her M.S. degree from the University of Arizona and has done research in the Sonoran Desert focused on conservation biology and the behavior of native bees. She has developed pollinator training for the National Parks Service, planted pollinator gardens for the Fish and Wildlife Service, and has consulted with organic farms on planting hedgerows.

For more information, call: (805) 482-3660 or visit www.pvhsonline.org.

Free Family Fun Day at Big Rock Nature Preserve in Ventura on Saturday, August 6th

On Saturday, August 6, the Ventura Hillsides Conservancy (VHC) will host Family Fun Day at their Big Rock Nature Preserve from 10 a.m. - 12 Noon. This free, family-friendly, open-to-the-public outdoor event will include nature-themed crafts, an environmental scavenger hunt and a biologist-led hike along the banks of the Ventura River.

“It has been several months since our generous volunteers helped us plant the 500 trees that are taking root at our Big Rock Preserve and we are eager to show off our work,” said Derek Poultney, VHC Executive Director. “We invite the public to explore our preserve, learn about the delicate habitat along the Ventura River and the importance of preserving it.”

The Ventura Hillsides Conservancy is a nonprofit land trust that has operated in the Ventura region since 2003 and currently manages nearly 80 acres of the Ventura River. In addition to preserving and restoring natural areas, VHC provides outdoor education programs where school students and community residents can learn about important environmental issues in our community.

Family Fun Day is appropriate for people of all ages but children must be accompanied by an adult. Attendees should wear long pants, sturdy closed-toe shoes, sunscreen and bring a water bottle. Please note that the trails at Big Rock Preserve are not stroller friendly. There is no cost to attend but reservations are strongly encouraged. To RSVP, visit www.venturahillsides.org and click on the Events tab.

VHC is seeking support for future outdoor educational programming. For more information, contact VHC Development Director, Adrienne Stephens at: (805) 643-8044 or adrienne@venturahillsides.org.