Compilation of Great Trails and Hikes In and Around Ventura County

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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

DOG-FRIENDLY TRAILS IN THE SANTA MONICA MOUNTAINS

  Lone Oak at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa

Lone Oak at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa

  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.

 Views of Simi Valley from the peak of Mt. McCoy in Simi Valley.

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.

Tree encampment along Los Padres Trail in Thousand Oaks.

Upcoming 5K, 10K and Other Ventura County Area Running and Fitness Events

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Start training for upcoming 5K, 10K, half marathon and other Ventura County running and fitness events! We've made it easy for you to find a local race by tracking local events right here. So go on, get moving, lace up those shoes and start training! CLICK HERE for local running groups and clubs.  Training for a marathon? Check out 26.2 Training Tips for Your First Marathon!

CONEJO JOE'S TRAINING BLOG

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Hiking and Exploring in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park

Located on the western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa is accessible in Newbury Park at the intersection of Lynn Road and Via Goleta. This area spans from Potrero Road on the north and connects to Point Mugu State Park on the south.

Ranching in the area dates back to the early 1800s, when Spanish soldiers were granted 48,672 acres of land, "Rancho El Conejo," which through the years was subdivided and sold to other landowners. One of these ranchers was Carl Beal, who in 1937 named the area Rancho Sierra Vista "Mountain View Ranch." The last private landowner in the area was Richard Danielson, whose family farmed and ranched the area for 32 years. Danielson donated 5,585 acres of the ranch to the State of California, which became part of Point Mugu State Park, and sold 850 acres, including the horse ranch, to the National Park Service in 1980.

 Sign at Danielson Monument accessible via Danielson Road/Old Boney Trail.

Sign at Danielson Monument accessible via Danielson Road/Old Boney Trail.

The Satwiwa Native American Indian Natural Area is a bike/horse free area within Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa of roughly 60 acres. Located on the northwest corner of this area, just a short walk from visitor parking, is the Satwiwa Native American Culture Center.

The Center is staffed from 9 am to 5 pm most weekends with a park ranger and sometimes Native American guest hosts. It is a small facility with a variety of educational Chumash items. There are frequent workshops and programs hosted by the National Park Service at the Center that are highlighted here on CVG and on the NPS Satwiwa website at www.nps.gov/samo/planyourvisit/rsvsatwiwa.htm.

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The area is a popular destination for hikers with a variety of well maintained trails. Note, however, that bicycles and horses are not allowed in the "Satwiwa Natural Area" section (see map below).

 Map excerpt courtesy of National Park Service.

Map excerpt courtesy of National Park Service.

The Satwiwa Loop Trail is an easy, 2 mile trail that starts at the Culture Center through grasslands, past the old windmill and back around, with several extensions for those looking to do a little more.

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There's the Lower Loop Trail and the Upper Loop Trail that is a bit of a zig-zaggy trail with wooden footings placed by volunteers to help hikers navigate. The Upper Loop Trail runs past the "Old Windmill" pictured below.

 Satwiwa Lower Loop sign at intersection of Danielson Road trail.

Satwiwa Lower Loop sign at intersection of Danielson Road trail.

 The old windmill at the northeast corner of the Satwiwa Loop Trail (Upper Loop). (Windmill was   knocked down by high winds in December 2016   and is still down as of September 2018).

The old windmill at the northeast corner of the Satwiwa Loop Trail (Upper Loop). (Windmill was knocked down by high winds in December 2016 and is still down as of September 2018).

You can also park at the Wendy and Potrero trailhead and walk to the Culture Center via the Wendy Trail, about a mile each way.

 Wendy Trail trailhead at the intersection of Wendy and Potrero in Newbury Park

Wendy Trail trailhead at the intersection of Wendy and Potrero in Newbury Park

 It is pretty dry in here most of the year but after the winter/spring rains, the green stages a comeback.

It is pretty dry in here most of the year but after the winter/spring rains, the green stages a comeback.

Another trail to explore is the 1 mile Ranch Overlook Trail that takes you from just west of the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center, up a hill (where you can indeed look down toward the old ranch area, parking area and restrooms) to the main entrance and to the Palomino Trail in the Rancho Potrero Open Space.

 Ranch Overlook Trail

Ranch Overlook Trail

One of my favorite trails in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa is the Hidden Valley Overlook Trail. This challenging, fairly steep trail branches off from the Satwiwa Loop Trail on the southeast, past the bench at the Upper Sycamore Canyon Overlook, via the Boney Mountain Trail/Danielson Road.

 The popular bench at Upper Sycamore Canyon Overlook. Photo taken April 4, 2014, approximately 11 months after the devasting Springs Fire of 2013.

The popular bench at Upper Sycamore Canyon Overlook. Photo taken April 4, 2014, approximately 11 months after the devasting Springs Fire of 2013.

Roughly 700 feet past the Upper Sycamore Canyon bench is a juncture where you can either veer right into Point Mugu State Park and the Boney Mountain Wilderness, where you can walk down, over a stream (or a dry stream bed as the case may be), towards the popular "waterfall" (which in recent years has been not much more than a trickle) and the Danielson Monument. CLICK HERE for details.

If you veer left at the juncture, you'll see the Hidden Valley Overlook trail sign.

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The trail is steep and rocky and reaches an end point in about half a mile. If you are up to the challenge, you will be rewarded with sweeping views of Newbury Park, the Channel Islands, Sycamore Canyon and Boney Mountain.

 Views from halfway up the Hidden Valley Overlook Trail towards the Satwiwa Native American Indian Natural Area

Views from halfway up the Hidden Valley Overlook Trail towards the Satwiwa Native American Indian Natural Area

At the end of the trail is the Hidden Valley overlook, where you will be able to peek into the not-so-hidden-anymore Hidden Valley and its peaceful ranches. As a final reward for your effort, it's all downhill the way back. Be sure to wear solid hiking shoes as the trails are a bit technical.

 Peek at Hidden Valley at the end of the Hidden Valley Overlook Trail.

Peek at Hidden Valley at the end of the Hidden Valley Overlook Trail.

 View of   Santa Cruz Island  , one of the Channel Islands, from Hidden Valley Overlook trail

View of Santa Cruz Island, one of the Channel Islands, from Hidden Valley Overlook trail

To learn more, visit the Anthony C. Beilenson Visitor Center at 26876 Mulholland Highway, Calabasas or visit www.nps.gov/samo or call 805.370.2301.

Dogs are allowed in Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa as long as they are on a leash no longer than 6 feet. But please, do pick up after your pet. Dogs are not allowed in the Point Mugu State Park / Boney Mountain Wilderness back country trails, though they are allowed on paved roads, such as the Big Sycamore Canyon Trail road.

Fruit, Vegetable and Other Food, Beer and Wine Festivals In and Around Ventura County

According to the California Department of Food & Agriculture, California has over 80,000 farms and ranches and in 2010 accounted for over 16% of the nation's national receipts for crops. The state produces nearly half of U.S.-grown fruits, nuts and vegetables! Top commodities in the state include produce and nuts such as grapes, almonds, berries, lettuce, pistachios, tomatoes, walnuts, oranges, broccoli, carrots, avocados and celery.

Ventura County ranked 26th out of 58 California counties in geographic size but in 2010 ranked 7th overall in terms of agricultural output, producing over $1.5 billion worth of strawberries, celery, lemons, raspberries, avocados and other commodities.

All that produce grown in Ventura County (as well as Santa Barbara County) and the hard work that goes into it must explain why we have so many nearby food related festivals and celebrations year-round! Specific dates each year are posted in the Local Events and Events Calendar sections but here's compilation for you to, ahem, digest. We also opted to include beer, wine and other long-standing festivals for your imbibing pleasure.

The Rotary Club of Thousand Oaks Chili Cook-Off is in the late April time frame each year. It is a charitable fundraiser that has taken place since 1977.

The California Strawberry Festival takes place in Oxnard on the 3rd weekend of May each year. This wildly popular event has been taking place since 1984.

The Soroptimist International of the Conejo hosts an annual "Margarita Mixoff" event in Thousand Oaks in the May time frame. 2018 was the 17th annual event. 

The Ojai Wine Festival takes place in the June time frame at Lake Casitas has been around since 1987. They say over 5,000 people attend the event! The 33rd annual event takes place in June 2019.

The Knights of Columbus of Simi Valley has been hosting an Annual Chili Cook-Off since about 1988. The event currently takes place in the June time frame.

The Casa Pacifica Angels Wine & Food Festival benefits Casa Pacifica Centers for Children and Families and has been running since 1994. Currently takes place in early June.

The Calabasas, Malibu Wine & Food Festival occurs in June, starting in 2007.

The Conejo Food & Wine Fest premiered in 2010 and as of 2014 takes place in Thousand Oaks in the June time frame.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History has hosted the Santa Barbara Wine Festival in the June time frame each year since 1988.

The Oxnard Salsa Festival has taken place each summer (currently July) since 1994. The festival currently is free of charge.

Since 1988, the Meadowlark Service League has been hosting A Taste of Camarillo Wine & Food Festival. The event currently takes place in late July.

The California Wine Festival in Santa Barbara in July marks 2004 as its first year. They also are planning a Winter Wine Classic in the January time frame.

The California Beer Festival takes place in Ventura in the September time frame.

The Port of Hueneme Banana Festival took place for the first time in 2012 and its 7th annual event took place the last Saturday of September 2018.

The Calabasas Pumpkin Festival takes place in October. There is a small admission charge.

The California Avocado Festival in Carpinteria goes back to 1987 and claims to be the largest free festival on the west coast. It currently occurs in October.

The Santa Barbara Harbor & Seafood Festival originated in 2001 and offers live lobster, crab, prawns, BBQ albacore, clam chowder, fish tacos, seafood gumbo and other prepared dishes in the October time frame.

The Santa Barbara Beer Festival takes place generally in the October time frame.

The California Lemon Festival also takes place in October in Goleta. Free admission. This one has been around since 1992.

The Oxnard Tamale Festival takes place in the early December time frame each year. It began in 2008.

List obviously subject to change! Contact us for additions. The list is meant to include recurring, annual events, not one-time events, that focus primarily on food and/or drinks.

Where to Play Pickleball in Ventura County and...What IS Pickleball?

 Pickleball court at Del Prado Playgrounds in Newbury Park

Pickleball court at Del Prado Playgrounds in Newbury Park

According to www.whatispickleball.com, pickleball is oversized ping pong played on a badminton sized court with a tennis sized net. Pickleball originated in Bainsbridge Island, Washington in 1965 when congressman Joel Pritchard and his friend Bill Bell created the game for their families to play.

Pickleball is played with a perforated plastic ball similar to a wiffle ball that weighs about an ounce and composite or wooden paddles about twice the size of ping pong paddles. Pickleball is an indoor/outdoor sport that is easy to learn and, like tennis and ping pong, can be played singles or doubles. Learn more about pickleball at www.usapa.org.

Today, the sport of pickleball is governed in the U.S. by the USA Pickleball Association. which was founded in 2005 to promote the sport. There are over 150,000 pickleball players and over 2,000 pickleball courts across the country.

While I have not played pickleball myself, I'm intrigued when I watch the video below. Looks like a lot of fun, and certain does look like playing ping pong while standing on an oversized ping pong table (or undersized tennis court, if you will).

Pickleball is growing in popularity here in the Ventura County area. Here is a list of public pickleball courts in and around Ventura County.

"Pickleball player Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers." (Somebody had to say it.)

Conejo Valley Veterans Memorial at Conejo Creek Park North in Thousand Oaks

 Veterans Memorial Fountain

Veterans Memorial Fountain

The Conejo Valley Veterans Memorial is a fountain memorial with two ponds located at Conejo Creek Park North, 1379 East Janss Road, Thousand Oaks

The inscription on the memorial says "We the people of the Conejo Valley proudly dedicate this memorial to our local veterans. Their courage and sacrifices serve as a shining example for future generations."

Conejo Creek Park is a local treasure. Completed in 1992, the park has a fitness trail, two playgrounds, a stream that meanders between two large ponds, three large picnic structures, over two dozen picnic tables and more. 

There is plenty of parking surrounding Conejo Creek Park, which is also a popular venue for community events and festivals.

Another great feature is the bridge that connects the park to three other community gathering spots - the Grant R. Brimhall Library, Thousand Oaks Teen Center and Goebel Senior Adult Center. When my kids were younger, we used to park at and visit the library, place our books in the car, then walk or scooter across the bridge to the park.

 The bridge leading from the Thousand Oaks Library to Conejo Creek Park North.

The bridge leading from the Thousand Oaks Library to Conejo Creek Park North.

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Seven Flat, Stroller and Family Friendly Hikes in the Conejo Valley

There is a ring of about 15,000 acres of open space with 140 miles of trails for public use surrounding the Conejo Valley. All too often on the Conejo Valley Guide Facebook Page we hear requests for which trails are "stroller friendly" and/or suitable for young children. Here is a sampling of some of the more popular ones in the area.

Wildwood Park to many is the single greatest spot for family hikes and stroller-friendly trails. With 14 trails covering 17 miles, including the popular hike to Paradise Falls and the teepee as well as some wide, relatively flat sections along the Mesa Trail towards Lizard Rock.

It takes a bit of driving via the Norwegian Grade and Santa Rosa Road to get there, but the Conejo Canyons Bridge in the Western Plateau area of the Conejo Open Space leads to several miles of nice, flat, well-maintained family-friendly trails leading to tree-canopied picnic areas.

 Shaded picnic area off the Hawk Canyon Trail from the Conejo Canyons Bridge

Shaded picnic area off the Hawk Canyon Trail from the Conejo Canyons Bridge

The 1 mile Spring Canyon Trail is a mostly flat trail that runs from Lynn Oaks Park in Newbury Park to the Los Robles Trail.  There are some moderately hills but with a park nearby, makes for a fun little excursion with the little ones.

Speaking of the Los Robles Trail, another great little hike to take with the kids is the Oak Creek Canyon Loop Trail. The first 4/10th of a mile of the trail, accessible off of Greenmeadow Avenue in Thousand Oaks, is the Oak Creek Canyon Whole Access Interpretive Trail. This is a nice, shady, flat trail picnic benches along the path. The remainder of the loop is not quite as stroller friendly, with a couple moderately steep sections that can be navigated on foot.

 Picnic trails and shade abound at the Oak Creek Canyon Interpretative Trail.

Picnic trails and shade abound at the Oak Creek Canyon Interpretative Trail.

The Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa area managed by the National Park Service in Newbury Park has over several miles of trails to explore, most of which are flat and stroller-friendly. The Satwiwa Loop Trail takes you around the area and the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center makes for a fun stop with the family when open on weekends. 

Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyons offer great family hiking opportunities. While there's definitely hills surrounding these canyons, try the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail, the 4 to 5 mile main artery into the park. Flat and kid/stroller friendly it is. Also try the Doubletree Trailhead connector to the Palo Comado Trail. Flat, fun and scenic.

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Although you will encounter pretty significant hills in the Lang Ranch/Woodridge Open Space in Thousand Oaks, it is worth checking out with the kids for its wide open trails and interesting sandstone rock formations. If you are really strong, strollers are possible here, but do know that you will encounter some hills like the hill shown in the image below.

 This hill in the Lang Ranch/Woodridge Open Space at the Autumn Ridge Trail is a bit daunting but worth the climb.

This hill in the Lang Ranch/Woodridge Open Space at the Autumn Ridge Trail is a bit daunting but worth the climb.

We're going to throw a bonus trail into the mix. The several miles of hiking trails in the Oakbrook Regional Park Archaeological Area in Thousand Oaks is an outstanding place for a flat, picturesque and oak-tree canopied place for a short hike with the kids. The Chumash village reproduction is an interesting place to explore with the kids.

For a more comprehensive compilation of trails in the Conejo Valley and throughout Ventura County, visit THIS LINK.