Nicholas Canyon County Beach in Malibu, East of Leo Carrillo State Beach

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Nicholas Canyon County Beach is 1 mile east of Leo Carrillo State Beach at 33850 Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu. This is a nice beach where you can hang out, fish, picnic, surf and go for a great walk in about 25 acres. There's a decent sized parking lot with 150 spaces available, as well as parking on PCH. Parking costs range from $3 to $10 (as of July 2019), depending on time of the year. There are also portable restrooms on hand as well as showers and picnic benches. More information at beaches.lacounty.gov/nicholas-canyon-beach.

View from the top of hte staircase near the parking lot.

View from the top of hte staircase near the parking lot.

Bench yourself for some nice views of the Pacific Ocean.

Bench yourself for some nice views of the Pacific Ocean.

View looking northwest towards Leo Carrillo.

View looking northwest towards Leo Carrillo.

Century Lake at Malibu Creek State Park

According to the Malibu Creek Docents, around 1903, the Crags Country Club constructed a 50 foot tall dam on its 2,000 acre property on what is now Malibu Creek State Park. The dam created a seven acre lake that club members used for fishing and duck hunting.

The Club closed in 1936, and 10 years later, 20th Century Fox Studios purchased the property to film movies and TV shows on what was renamed Century Ranch. The 1968 "Planet of the Apes" featured many prominent scenes shot here.

This is an awesome video showing Planet of the Apes (1968) film scenes at Malibu Creek State Park and local area beaches then and today.

As for the lake, it is now referred to as Century Lake, a hiking destination in Malibu Creek State Park. Only 1 1/2 miles from the parking area, Century Lake is in a secluded area, where you can eat your lunch at the picnic table and enjoy serenity (usually, depending on who else is there). I believe it is fine to wade in the water and even kayak in there if desired. although I've never seen anyone do so.

Century Lake is a left hand turn from the main Crags Road trail, after cresting the only significant hill going down the other side. The only indicator is this narrow sign.

Century Lake is a left hand turn from the main Crags Road trail, after cresting the only significant hill going down the other side. The only indicator is this narrow sign.

The hike has a moderately steep hill in it, but otherwise is quite flat and easy to do with kids and/or a stroller.

Malibu Creek State Park has something for everyone...camping, a visitor center, the "Rock Pool," the M*A*S*H set, the old Reagan Ranch, Century Lake, over 35 miles of trails, rock climbing (near the Rock Pool) and more.

The Century Dam is shown in this image. You don't wanna fall down that dam. Off limits.

The Century Dam is shown in this image. You don't wanna fall down that dam. Off limits.

Over 40 Things to Do in Malibu

This "27 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign was swapped out for "21 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign in April 2017 in order to correct the actual length of City of Malibu coastline.

This "27 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign was swapped out for "21 Miles of Scenic Beauty" sign in April 2017 in order to correct the actual length of City of Malibu coastline.

The new sign updated in 2017.

The new sign updated in 2017.

Malibu was incorporated as a separate city in Los Angeles County on March 28, 1991, with 84% of Malibu voters supporting incorporation in a 1990 election.

The Conejo Valley lies just 8 to 10 miles away from the Malibu beachfront, making Malibu a natural choice to beat the heat and enjoy to its south-facing beaches. Here's a compilation of over 40 things to do in and around Malibu.

Beaches (East to West)

Surfrider Beach from the Malibu Pier

Surfrider Beach from the Malibu Pier

Adamson House

Adamson House

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.

La Conchita Bike Path Between Mobil Pier Road in Ventura to Rincon Point

My choice for most awesome Class I Bike Path in Ventura County is the La Conchita Bike Path that runs from Mobil Pier Road in Ventura (southwest of Mussel Shoals) to Rincon Point. The path is directly adjacent to the southbound Highway 101.

Entry point to La Conchita Bike Path at Rincon Point Rd/Bates Rd (directly adjacent to the 101 onramp).

Entry point to La Conchita Bike Path at Rincon Point Rd/Bates Rd (directly adjacent to the 101 onramp).

This distinct path premiered in September 2014 and provides for roughly 4 miles of unimpeded views of the Pacific Ocean on the west and is directly adjacent to the hustle and bustle of Highway 101 on the other side.

Do views from a bike path ever get any better than this!!??

Do views from a bike path ever get any better than this!!??

Class I bike paths are great to bring the entire family on as they are completely separate from street traffic. My kids love this path because it is flat, in great condition and is just so beautiful that its hard not to ride this path without a smile.

This separates the path from southbound 101 traffic. Pretty amazing riding carefree adjacent to the 101.

This separates the path from southbound 101 traffic. Pretty amazing riding carefree adjacent to the 101.

We brought the bikes to Rincon Beach Park to start our journey on the north end of the path. (Alternatively, park at Rincon Point or on Rincon Pt Road.) You first get to see surfers at the world famous Rincon Point, then on to the La Conchita Beach area.

One of several beach access points to the La Conchita Beach area.

One of several beach access points to the La Conchita Beach area.

There are several beach access points along the path.  As part of this project, Caltrans built an undercrossing to enable folks to walk to the beach from La Conchita

After La Conchita you reach a stopping point at the small community of Mussel Shoals, where you can stop at the Cliff House Inn for a drink and check out the man-made Rincon Island.

A quick stop to view the man-made an inaccessible Rincon Island

A quick stop to view the man-made an inaccessible Rincon Island

Walk your bikes across the offramp to the next bike path entry point, on to the next section of path that half circles southeast to its endpoint at Mobil Pier Road.

You cross here (signs indicate you must walk bikes across) to the next access point.

You cross here (signs indicate you must walk bikes across) to the next access point.

You will see beach area here referred to as Oil Piers Beach. There used to be piers here but they were taken down in 1998.  There is parking on Mobil Pier Road for beach/bike path access; you can park here and ride the path the opposite direction.

The beauty continues (except for the graffiti) as you ride towards Mobil Pier Road.

The beauty continues (except for the graffiti) as you ride towards Mobil Pier Road.

Mobil Pier Road is the endpoint of this Class I path, but, you can continue south if you'd like by taking the Mobil Pier Road underpass below the 101 to Pacific Coast Highway going south, past Hobson Beach Park, Rincon Parkway, Faria Beach Park and so on. This section is not Class I path but I've taken my kids here and we enjoy it.

Great stuff! A Ventura County "Bucket List" item that all of you have to try!

Fireworks Hill in Thousand Oaks Has Hosted the City's Fireworks Show for Decades

So called "Fireworks Hill" is located in the center of Thousand Oaks, enveloped by McCloud Avenue on the northwest, St. Charles Drive on the northeast, Wilbur Road on the east, Marin Street on the south and Hillcrest Drive on the southeast.

The hill is passed by tens of thousands of commuters each day as it can clearly be seen from the 101. 

For decades, the annual City of Thousand Oaks 4th of July Fireworks have been launched from this hill, a 27 acre parcel that was acquired by the City of Thousand Oaks in 1994. According to an April 7, 1994 Los Angeles Times article, the top of the hill was graded three decades prior.

According to minutes from the April 5, 1994 City Council meeting, city council voted by a 3 to 2 vote to acquire the property from the Robert A. Franklyn Estate for $540,000, plus $5,000 in estimated escrow closing costs.

While the general public is not given access to Fireworks Hill on the 4th of July, the fireworks launched from this site can be seen from quite a large radius in the surrounding area. Here's to a great Independence Day!

Independence Day events and activities throughout Ventura County

Fireworks Hill shown here in early January 2016, when three were snow capped peaks in the background.

Fireworks Hill shown here in early January 2016, when three were snow capped peaks in the background.

Aviation Museum of Santa Paula is Open to the Public the First Sunday of Each Month

The Santa Paula Airport was dedicated in August 1930. Today it is a non-towered facility with nearly 300 aircraft, handling approximately 97,000 arrivals/departures a year. Much of the original 1930’s-era facilities still exist and are used today, giving the airport a very authentic representation of the Golden Age of Aviation.

Located at the Santa Paula Airport, the Aviation Museum of Santa Paula is open the first Sunday of each month, with an array of hangars open to the public from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Upcoming dates: 7/7/19, 8/4/19, 9/1/19, 10/6/19, 11/3/19, 12/1/19.

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Each of the privately owned hangars houses a variety of vintage aircraft and collections of various types, as well as other memorabilia, such as antique radios, model aircraft and race cars. Some hangars celebrate highlights of fascinating aviation careers, while others contain antique aircraft undergoing the process of restoration. Hangar owners or docents are available to answer questions. 

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You've got to take the time to stop by. It is fun, low key and quite interesting. The hangars are directly adjacent to the airfield, so you are guaranteed to see aircraft taking and landing up close. The range of items on display at the various hangars is quite diverse. In fact, one of the most extensive, well organized collections of vintage radios I've ever seen is located in one of the hangars.

A look at just a few of the vintage radios currently on display in one hangar.

A look at just a few of the vintage radios currently on display in one hangar.

Obviously an aviation aficionado in this hangar!

Obviously an aviation aficionado in this hangar!

The participating hangars are fairly well spread out at the 51 acre airport but if you're not up for walking, there's a complimentary tram that will take you around. These are some very nice people who have obvious passion for what they do and enjoy sharing it with the general public. I struck up several conversations with hangar owners and they were full of great stories and information.

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There is no charge for visiting the Aviation Museum, though donations are welcomed. Visit www.aviationmuseumofsantapaula.org or call 805.525.1109 for more information.

The Museum is not open on rainy days.

Directions: Arriving by car from the east, exit the Santa Paula Freeway (SR 126) at 10th street, turn right off the ramp, and then a quick left onto Harvard Boulevard. Turn left at the next signal at Eighth Street, under the freeway, left onto Santa Maria Street and park in the lot. Arriving from the west, exit the freeway at Palm Avenue, turn right and then a quick left onto Santa Maria Street, about a half mile to the end at the parking lot.

Lots to see, both inside and outside of the hangars.

Lots to see, both inside and outside of the hangars.