Trail Etiquette Tips in the Conejo Valley and Surrounding Areas

The trails that surround us here in the Conejo Valley, including the Santa Monica Mountains maintained by the National Park Service, State Parks and other organizations, as well as the Conejo Open Space, is year-round wonderland for hikers, biker, runners and equestrians. As such, it’s always good to remember the rules for trail etiquette.

Here is a summary of tips summarized in a brochure posted at trailetiquette.org:

Hikers, runners and mountain bikers must always yield to equestrians. Do so by immediately stopping and waiting on the downhill side of the trail. Greet the rider, as your voice also signals to the horse that you’re human and not a potential threat. Communicate with the rider and ask how to proceed. As beautiful as the horses are, do not approach or pet them without asking for permission first. If you are a cyclist, after communicating with the horse rider, pass slowly and steadily, without sudden movements or noises.

Hikers should always listen for cyclists, runners and equestrians approaching from behind. Listen for “on your left” so that you can stay to the right and let them by. Hike single-file on narrow trails and try to stay to the right on wider trails. Keep your dogs on short (6 feet maximum) leashes and of course, clean up after them. If you wear headphones, consider wearing only one earpiece or turning the volume down so you can hear your surroundings.

Bikers should slow down and yield to hikers and horses. Consider using a bell to alert others you are behind them. On a single track trail, downhill cyclists should yield to uphill cyclists.

And some other reminders…stay on the trails, don’t litter, don’t block the trail if you need to stop and don’t use the trails when the are wet.

And of course, be nice, smile at and greet your fellow trail users! We love our local trails!

GREAT TRAILS AND HIKES IN AND AROUND VENTURA COUNTY

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!

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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

Reminder: Please refrain from using the trails during rain events and afterwards, until they have dried. Doing otherwise causes damage to the trails.

Lone Oak at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa

Lone Oak at Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa

Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa in Newbury Park

Fossil Trail Loop in the Boney Mountain Wilderness

Oakbrook Vista Trail in Thousand Oaks

Rancho Potrero Open Space in Newbury Park

Hill Canyon, Hawk Canyon and Western Plateau Trails in Thousand Oaks CONEJO CANYONS BRIDGE CLOSED as of 7/7/19

Western Plateau Trail Loop From Newbury Park

Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks

Lynnmere Trail in Thousand Oaks (south of Wildwood Park)

Conejo Canyons Bridge in the Western Plateau of Thousand Oaks BRIDGE IS CLOSED BUT CONEJO CANYONS IS OPEN

Tarantula Hill Hike in Thousand Oaks

Arroyo Conejo Trail in Thousand Oaks

Sunset Hills Trail in Thousand Oaks

North Ranch Open Space in Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village

Hillcrest Open Space Preserve in Thousand Oaks

Powerline Trail in Newbury Park to Conejo Mountain

Lake Eleanor Open Space Hike in Westlake Village

Conejo Valley Botanic Garden in Thousand Oaks

Triunfo Creek Park in Westlake Village

Potrero Ridge Trail in Newbury Park

Marview Drive Trail in Thousand Oaks

Pentachaeta Trail and Westlake Vista Trail in Westlake Village

Rabbit Hill (Knoll Open Space) in Newbury Park

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.

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!

Jumping and Climbing Options In and Around Ventura County

If your kids are bouncing off the walls around the house and need to jump off some steam, perhaps they need a new environment for jumping and/or climbing in and around Ventura County. Here are some options to consider.

DojoBoom Extreme Air Sports opened at the Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks in November 2017, offering over 50,000 square feet of trampolines, launching decks, foam pits, obstacle course, climbing wall and much more.

Sky Zone Trampoline Park is located at 2825 Johnson Drive in east Ventura. Similar to Sky High, Sky Zone offers wall to wall trampolines with open jump sessions, a "SkySlam" court and more.

Platinum Sports Center is located at 160 W. Cochran Street in Simi Valley, offering, among many other things, an indoor trampoline court for bouncing off the walls and play slam dunk volleyball, dodgeball and other fun activities during open gym time.

Boulderdash Indoor Rock Climbing at 880 Hampshire Road, Suite A, Thousand Oaks, is a 10,000 sq ft climbing area with sections ranging from 25 feet to 45 feet tall. Fun for all ages.

An additional Boulderdash Indoor Rock Climbing opened at 2879 Seaborg Avenue, Suite 101, Ventura in January 2019. This facility is also 10,000 sq ft.

The Agoura Hills/Calabasas Community Center at 27040 Malibu Hills Road, Calabasas features, among other things, a 35 foot rock climbing wall.

Santa Barbara Rock Gym is an 8,500 sq ft facility located at 322 State Street, Santa Barbara.

Sky High Sports - The Trampoline Place in Camarillo used to be an option…but closed in the summer of 2018 . But there's also a Sky High Sports in Woodland Hills.

Not for the inexperienced...rock climbing at Westward Beach in Malibu.

Not for the inexperienced...rock climbing at Westward Beach in Malibu.

For more seasoned climbers, there is a sheer cliff used by rock climbers at Westward Beach in Malibu as well as near the Rock Pool at Malibu Creek State Park.

Peace, Tranquility and Views at the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden in Thousand Oaks

Looking for a quick retreat in the center of Thousand Oaks? Visit the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, adjacent to Conejo Community Park at 400 W. Gainsborough Road.

The Conejo Valley Botanic Garden is a 33 acre sanctuary on a hill that overlooks the Conejo Valley. You will be able to rewind in peace here while enjoying the views and solitude.

Conejo Valley Botanic Garden New Sign
Signs throughout the gardens help visitors find their way around.

Signs throughout the gardens help visitors find their way around.

There are several miles of trails at CVBG that lead you to a variety of sections, including a Salvia Garden, Butterfly Garden, Herb Garden, Bird Habitat, Australian Garden, Desert Garden, Rare Fruit Orchard, Japanese Style Tranquility Garden, Oak Tree Grove, Trail of Trees and more.

Japanese Tranquility Garden is back here.

Japanese Tranquility Garden is back here.

Beauty and color found in the Desert Garden.

Beauty and color found in the Desert Garden.

Benches abound throughout the Conejo Valley Botanic Gardens.

Benches abound throughout the Conejo Valley Botanic Gardens.

The views from up here are nothing short of spectacular. Feeling stressed? Do the 10 minute walk up the hill, where you can watch civilization below. There are several dozen benches as well as a few picnic benches available.

Views beyond the surrounding chaparral. The sounds of the 101 freeway and civilization down below are actually relaxing from up here.

Views beyond the surrounding chaparral. The sounds of the 101 freeway and civilization down below are actually relaxing from up here.

Interesting cactus display in the Desert Garden.

Interesting cactus display in the Desert Garden.

On Sundays (with the exception of some major holidays), the Kids Adventure Garden, adjacent to the Botanic Garden, is open to the public from 11am to 3pm. The Kids Adventure Garden features fun paths to follow, a tree house and more, as well as hiking and access to a creek. Fun place for young kids' birthday parties too!

The Kids Adventure Garden adjacent to CVBG is open only on Sundays from 11am to 3pm.

The Kids Adventure Garden adjacent to CVBG is open only on Sundays from 11am to 3pm.

To learn more about the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, visit www.conejogarden.org. Open 7 days a week, sunrise to sunset; Closed Easter, July 4th, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Also closed when it is rainy, muddy and/or very windy.

CVBG is a 501(c)3 non-profit run entirely by volunteers. To maintain these gardens is a lot of work and costs are involved, so consider making a donation.