Roughly one third of the land in Thousand Oaks is designated as permanent public open space. This includes a ring of 15,000 acres of open space with over 150 miles of trails for public use surrounding the Conejo Valley. What a spectacular feature we have here in our backyards!
Three key organizations involved with the Conejo open space:
Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA) holds and manages most of the Conejo open space to preserve its natural characteristics while providing opportunities for passive recreational enjoyment of the natural resources. Visit www.conejo-openspace.org to learn more.
Conejo Open Space Trails Advisory Committee (COSTAC) is composed of hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians appointed by the COSCA Board and advises the Board by reviewing issues and making recommendations regarding open space and trails. COSTAC also coordinates activities such as Trail Watch, Trail Patrol, Trail Work, Adopt-a-Trail, Non-Native Plant Removal/Resource Management, Trails Education Days, and Public Outreach.
Conejo Open Space Foundation (COSF) is a non-profit that promotes and maintains multi-use trail and open space and helps educate the public about our open space and the environment. COSF provides funding to support COSTAC programs and to create and publish open space trail maps. Visit www.cosf.org to learn more.
Now here are five of my favorite place to hike for views in the Conejo Open Space and other local areas:
Angel Vista Peak in Newbury Park has arguably the most expansive views of the Conejo Valley, ranging from the Conejo Grade to Agoura Hills, as well as portions of Hidden Valley.
Boney Mountain in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is NOT part of the Conejo Open Space but is managed by the U.S. National Park Service. Additionally, there is no "official" maintained trail to Boney Peak. That said, if you are courageous, energetic and have 4 to 6 hours to spare for a day hike, you will be rewarded with panoramic views of the Conejo Valley, Camarillo Grade and Channel Islands.
Tarantula Hill (also known as Dawn's Peak) in the heart of Thousand Oaks is easy to get to compared to more substantial hikes around town. A short walk up a fairly steep paved path off of Gainsborough Road gets you to a 1,056 foot peak with panoramic views of the Conejo Valley and beyond. Great place to catch a sunset.
Another great spot for views in the heart of the Conejo Valley is the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, a 33 acre retreat managed by a non-profit group. The only thing I don't like about this true retreat is that it closes at 5 p.m. and thus is not available for sunset views like at the adjacent Tarantula Hill. But there is so much to see in here that you must stop by.
For a sampling of other trails and hikes in the Conejo Valley and throughout Ventura County and surrounding areas, click THIS LINK!