Compilation of Great Trails and Hikes In and Around Ventura County

TrailSign1.JPG

Looking for a good hike around Ventura County and nearby areas? We've highlighted a number of our favorite hikes in the Do Something section of Conejo Valley Guide.

HIKE TO A CONEJO VALLEY BENCH WITH A VIEW

HIKE TO AUTOMOTIVE RELICS IN THE CONEJO VALLEY OPEN SPACE

SEVEN FLAT, STROLLER FRIENDLY TRAILS IN THE CONEJO VALLEY

Lone Oak at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa

Lone Oak at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa

View from Rosewood Trail in Newbury Park

View from Rosewood Trail in Newbury Park

View of City of Thousand Oaks Landmark Lake Eleanor from the Lake Eleanor Open Space Trail

View of City of Thousand Oaks Landmark Lake Eleanor from the Lake Eleanor Open Space Trail

Lynnmere Open Space views to the west

Lynnmere Open Space views to the west

Views from the Ray Miller Trail in Malibu

Danielson Road trail in the Boney Mountain Wilderness

Danielson Road trail in the Boney Mountain Wilderness

Stunning views of Simi Valley from the peak of Mt. McCoy in Simi Valley

Stunning views of Simi Valley from the peak of Mt. McCoy in Simi Valley

Sunset Hills Trail in Thousand Oaks

Sunset Hills Trail in Thousand Oaks

Tree encampment along Los Padres Trail in Thousand Oaks. Beautiful spot.

Tree encampment along Los Padres Trail in Thousand Oaks. Beautiful spot.

Daylight Saving Time is Back Again on the 2nd Sunday of March

springclock1.jpg

Daylight Saving** Time is coming back again! Yes, this will take place on Sunday, March 12th, 2017. When the clock strikes 2 a.m. that morning, you will lose one hour of beauty sleep. Daylight Saving Time begins in most of the U.S. on the 2nd Sunday of March.

So try to get to bed early that night or you may feel grumpy on Monday! Especially when you realize it feels a lot darker that morning. But the good thing is, it'll be a lot lighter out at dinnertime!

** Contrary to what many of us think, it is called Daylight Saving Time, not Savings Time. Make sure to correct anyone who says it wrong if you really want to get on their nerves. But the reality of it is that we're not saving any daylight, we're just shifting it around.

MY VENTING SESSION ON DAYLIGHT SAVING TIME :>

Green As We've Ever Seen After Recent Rainstorms in the Conejo Valley

The hills are alive with green throughout the Conejo Valley after all of the recent rainstorms. The photos below are just one small glimpse at one can be seen out there. For a compilation of local area trails, visit THIS LINK.

Mountclef Ridge at Wildwood Park

Mountclef Ridge at Wildwood Park

Rancho Potrero overlooking the old Olympia Farms property in Newbury Park

Rancho Potrero overlooking the old Olympia Farms property in Newbury Park

Trail off of Lindero Road in Westlake Village

Trail off of Lindero Road in Westlake Village

Cheeseboro Canyon in Agoura Hills

Cheeseboro Canyon in Agoura Hills

Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa in Newbury Park

Rancho Sierra Vista / Satwiwa in Newbury Park

Hillcrest Open Space in Thousand Oaks

Hillcrest Open Space in Thousand Oaks

Views of Newbury Park from Angel Vista Peak

Views of Newbury Park from Angel Vista Peak

Los Robles Trail East in Thousand Oaks

Los Robles Trail East in Thousand Oaks

Deer enjoying the green in Hidden Valley

Deer enjoying the green in Hidden Valley

The Smallest Post Office in the United States Used to Be in Wheeler Springs, Near Ojai

We were in Ojai for some activities and decided to drive up Maricopa Highway to check out the Wheeler Gorge Visitor Center for the first time. It is a cute little building that provides information about the Los Padres National Forest staffed with volunteers who sell maps, trail guides, Adventure Passes and other items. Located at 17017 Maricopa Highway, about eight miles from the "Y" intersection where if you continue right you are headed into Ojai. The Wheeler Gorge Campground is nearby.

More on local campgrounds in and around Ventura County at THIS LINK.

More on local campgrounds in and around Ventura County at THIS LINK.

About a mile and a half before reaching the Visitor Center, at 16850 Maricopa Highway, we stopped at a small structure, shown above, that says "U.S.A.'s Smallest Post Office - Wheeler Springs, California."

There's quite a bit of history behind that structure and others in the area. According to OjaiHistory.com, the Wheeler Springs Post Office was installed by Webb Wilcox next to his Webb Wilcox Cafe in the mid-1930s after the Maricopa Highway was built, connecting Ojai to Kern County. The "glorified shack" was was designated by Ripley's Believe it or Not as the smallest Post Office in the U.S.A. until Wilcox died in 1962 and Wheeler Springs lost its status as a U.S. Post Office.

Webb Wilcox was the son-in-law of Wheeler Blumberg, who founded Wheeler's Hot Springs in 1891. Wheeler's Hot Spring Springs for awhile was a successful resort, with 14 guest cabins, swimming pool, fishing, camping, hot springs-fed swimming pool and more.

Blumberg went a bit crazy in May 1907, locking himself in a room and shooting holes through the walls. A posse was able to capture Blumberg, sedate him and place him in a straitjacket in a padded cell in Ventura. He continued screaming and straining until he died "from utter exhaustion" the next day at age 43. Wilcox, who previously married Blumberg's daughter, Etta, took control over the resort and renamed it Wheeler Hot Springs.

Wheeler Hot Springs went through a number of ownership changes over the years, including radio/TV personality Art Linkletter at one point, who opened a "Kiddie Land" attraction, who did not do well financially there. Over the decades, the resort survived and was rebuilt after multiple fires, and the "great flood of '69" but finally was completely closed down in 1999.

Visit THIS LINK on the OjaiHistory.com website for a much more detailed, fascinating account of Wheeler Hot Springs' ownership challenges over the years..

The Wheeler Hot Springs property is located at 16825 Maricopa Highway and according to Zillow.com was most recently sold in October 2016. It is privately owned and not open to the public but you will get a small glimpse of it as you drive by. According to the Zillow listing, Wheeler Hot Springs is 84.5 acres and has five known natural hot and cold mineral springs and a year-round creek. There is a large farmhouse occupying the center of the property.

Over 140 Summer Camps and Programs In and Around Ventura County

SummerCamps.jpg

Looking for a summer camp within range of Ventura County? Here's a list of over 140 summer day camps and residential camps and programs in the area. Actually, there are hundreds and hundreds of individual camps available.

We've attempted to categorize the camps into three main groups; Traditional/Learning, Sports and Music/Arts, though many camps cover numerous fun activities all in one.

Know of more? Submit them here!

No doubt there will be some typos/errors on this list, so let us know if you find one.

Traditional Day/Overnight/Learning/Misc Camps

 

Sports Camps

Music/Arts/Science Camps

Fun Things to Do in Historic Ojai, Ventura County's Smallest City

Ojai, Ventura County's smallest city with under 8,000 residents, is 40 miles from Thousand Oaks, the 2nd largest city in the county. This drive is well worth it if you're looking for a unique old town feeling right here in Ventura County.

OjaiFreewaySign.JPG

Incorporated as a city in 1921, the Ojai valley was once inhabited by the Chumash Indians. The name Ojai is derived from the Chumash word "Awhai," meaning "moon." Glass manufacturer Edward D. Libbey helped create the layout of Ojai. After a fire destroyed much of the town in 1917, the western-style town received a new Spanish Revival look.

View of the arcade and pergola in front of Libbey Park on Ojai Avenue

View of the arcade and pergola in front of Libbey Park on Ojai Avenue

The Ojai Post Office tower and portico was completed in 1917 and is a focal point for the city at the corner of Ojai Avenue and Signal Street. The tower was modeled after the Christopher Columbus Cathedral in Havana, Cuba, with additional details from Mexico. The tower complements the arcade and pergola along Ojai Avenue. You can't miss the one block arcade with its shops, eateries and art galleries.

OjaiPostOffice.JPG
LibbeyTablet.JPG

Here's a selection of just some of the great things to do in Ojai:

The Ojai Valley Inn and Spa was ranked as the 33rd best hotel in California out of nearly 5,600 hotels by U.S. News & World Report in 2013. The Inn is a great local weekend getaway! Whether you stay there overnight or not, the Ojai Valley Inn's historic 18 hole golf course, 31,000 sq ft spa and fitness facility and four lighted tennis courts are available to local day trippers.

Libbey Bowl and Libbey Park are located in the heart of Ojai next to the downtown arcade area. Libbey Bowl, originally built in 1957 and completely renovated in 2011, is used for the annual Ojai Music Festival, Storytelling Festival, Ojai Day celebration, holiday events and much more. Libbey Park provides plenty of sitting areas, shade trees, a kids' playground in the heart of the city.

Strolling and shopping in the Ojai Arcade

Strolling and shopping in the Ojai Arcade

Founded in 1966, the Ojai Valley Museum at 130 West Ojai Avenue maintains an extensive collection of art, Native American baskets, pioneer tools and photographs of early days in Ojai.

Meditation Mount

Meditation Mount

Located on a 32 acre site overlooking the Ojai Valley, Meditation Mount is a public meditation center that has invited the public to its beautiful grounds since opening in 1970.

The Ojai Valley Trail provides cyclists, equestrians, runners and strollers a nine mile path paralleling Highway 33 from Foster Park on the north end of Ventura to Soule Park on west of downtown Ojai.

The Ojai Playhouse is a single screen theater originally built in 1914 that has been restored to its deco-style look inside and now shows first run movies in a theater that seats over 200 people. The Ojai Film Society hosts eclectic, independently produced movies here on Sunday afternoons.

The Ojai Trolley Service provides transportation on a fixed route schedule throughout Ojai, Meiners Oaks and Mira Monte. Where else can you find a year-round trolley around here!?

OjaiTrolleyPic.JPG

Ojai Day was originally conceived in 1917, took a long hiatus in the 1920s, and came back in 1991 on the third Saturday of each October. The event showcases the best Ojai has to offer, with entertainment, a parade, art, food, games and much more. Visit www.ojaiday.com for more information.

The annual Ojai Valley Lavender Festival at Libbey Park began in 2004 with a goal of demonstrating and promoting the many uses of lavender and educating others about the benefits of plants that celebrate the Ojai Valley’s Mediterranean climate. Visit www.ojaivalleylavenderfestival.org to learn more.

One of my favorite activities with the kids just minutes from Ojai is the Lake Casitas Recreation Area, which includes the seasonal (Memorial Day to Labor Day weekend) Casitas Water Adventure. Though the water is not heated, the 1,200 foot lazy river and multi-level water jungle gym for the kids is sure to entertain you while cooling you off.

Casitas Water Adventure

Casitas Water Adventure

For other year-round things to do in Ojai, click here in the Do Something section of CVG or here for kids' activities. Or here for Fitness & Sports activities. And for upcoming Ojai events, click here. To learn more about the city, visit the City of Ojai website at www.ci.ojai.ca.us.

Overall Crime Rate in Thousand Oaks Up 8% in 2016 Compared to 2015

Excerpt from Ventura County Sheriff's Office 2016 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for Part 1 Crimes, 2014-2016 January-December Comparison (released February 2017)

Excerpt from Ventura County Sheriff's Office 2016 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) for Part 1 Crimes, 2014-2016 January-December Comparison (released February 2017)

The Ventura County Sheriff's Office has released its 2016 Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) crime statistics for Part 1 Crimes in 2016 compared to prior years. Part 1 Crimes include violent crimes of homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assaulted and property crimes consisting of burglary, theft and arson.

The data was provided by the Sheriff's Office for contract cities of Thousand Oaks, Camarillo, Moorpark, Fillmore and Ojai, as well as unincorporated areas of the county.

The good news is that the overall number of reported crimes in all jurisdictions was down 1% in 2016 as compared to 2015, although the violent crime rate increased by 1% (representing six crimes), offset by a 1% drop in overall property crimes.

However, the news for Thousand Oaks was not as positive in 2016 compared to 2015; the overall crime rate was up 8%, violent crimes increased by 21% (from 136 crimes in 2015 to 164 in 2016) and property crimes increased by 7%. 

Let's take a look at what drove the 21% increase in violent crime. About a third of the increase was a result of a 43% increase in robberies in 2016, from 23 in 2015 to 33 in 2016. Also, while the number of assaults using firearms and knives dropped by 50%, other assaults, including the use of "Hands/Fist/Feet" and "Other" (whatever that might be) increased by 36% in 2016. There were no homicides reported in 2016 or 2015.

Reported property crimes increased by 7%, including a 20% increase in residential burglaries, 17% increase in grand thefts (generally thefts with a value of over $950) and 14% increase in other burglaries.

While the residential burglary rate did increase in 2016 vs 2015, it is still dramatically lower - 34% - than it was in 2014.

Let's look back a bit farther, to 2010. That year, there were 139 reported violent crimes and 2,036 reported property crimes in Thousand Oaks, for a total of 2,175 total reported crimes at a population of 124,000. That equates to 17.53 crimes per 1,000 residents. In 2016, there were 14.05 total reported Part I crimes per 1,000 residents. That is quite an improvement.

Getting back to 2016, the City of Moorpark crime rate among those served by the Ventura County Sheriff, at 9.26 Part I crimes per 1,000 residents. down from 10.31 in 2015.

More information at local.nixle.com/alert/5857520.