Hillcrest Open Space in Thousand Oaks is Abloom in Mustard and Lupine

The hilly Hillcrest Open Space Preserve is covered yellow and purple in a display worthy of view. In fact, I’ve never seen this much lupine in one place in my 25+ years in the Conejo Valley. The Hillcrest Open Space main trailhead is not the easiest place to access due to the lack of any parking on Hillcrest Drive in that area, but there’s also another entry point highlighted in THIS POST. You will also enjoy the colors just driving by.

Not particularly the best trail for young kids as it is one of the hillier trails in the area. But not a problem for some. (On that note family and stroller-friendly local area trails at THIS LINK.

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Lots of yellow going on around here (achoo!)

Lots of yellow going on around here (achoo!)

Just a small smattering of poppies in the Hillcrest Open Space.

Just a small smattering of poppies in the Hillcrest Open Space.

Annual Flower Display off the Westlake Vista Trail at Triunfo Creek Park

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Triunfo Creek Park was hit hard by the Woolsey Fire in November 2018. After several months of solid rains in February and March, color is making a reappearance at the park.

I was trying to identify specifically what these tiny little flowers are and I think Chris Rowell of Newbury Park correctly nailed it down to California Goldfields (Lasthenia californica). These ones are seen adjacent to the fence on the west side of the park that lies adjacent to the Las Virgenes Reservoir.

If you do visit, like with other wildflowers, please do your best to enjoy them without trampling on them. That way we can all enjoy them each year! :)

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The Stagecoach Trail at Wildwood Park also has a patch of these pretty yellow flowers.

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A Compilation of Automotive Relics in the Open Space of the Conejo Valley

As a resident of the Conejo Valley for over 20 years, a long distance runner and a father with active kids, I've run, walked, hiked and rolled over thousands of miles of trails within and surrounding the Conejo Valley.

Over the years I've noticed interesting, old items on the sides of the trails. These relics from the past always make me wonder how they got there and why they remain. I've attempted here to document these automotive blasts to the past on the trails of the Conejo Valley.

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Views Abound at the Zev Yaroslavsky Las Virgenes Highlands Park in Calabasas

In greener times (April 2018).

In greener times (April 2018).

The Zev Yaroslavsky Las Virgenes Highlands Park is located on Las Virgenes Road, just south of Mureau Road and north of Highway 101 in Calabasas.

In greener times (April 2018).

In greener times (April 2018).

This is not a park in the traditional sense, with grass, a playground and BBQs. This park is nearly 200 acres of grasslands dotted with oak trees facing drivers on the 101 as they reach the bottom of the Calabasas Grade.

A steep trail takes you to peaks that offer panoramic views towards the Santa Monica Mountains, Agoura Hills, Calabasas,  Simi Hills and beyond.

View from near the top facing south.

View from near the top facing south.

These photos were taken in November 2015, after four years of drought. After the winter rains, these hills green up quite nicely.

The land is also known as "Firehouse Hill" as it is situated next to Los Angeles County Fire Station 125 on Las Virgenes Road.

To access the park from the 101 coming east, you go north on Las Virgenes and there's a small, dirt parking lot on the left. Problem is, there's no left hand turn lane to the lot and there are "No U Turn" signs for like a mile. So you could make right on Mureau Road and turn around and make a left turn back onto Las Virgenes to get to the parking area. Or you can drive half a mile north and do a U turn at Thousand Oaks Blvd.

This land was acquired by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA) for $6.25 million in 2010. It was previously owned by Fred Sands and at one point was owned by Bob Hope. 

The park was named in honor of former long-time L.A. County Supervisor and City Councilman Zev Yaroslavsky, who retired from office in 2014. Zev worked with a coalition of parties to make this preservation of land happen.

About MRCA: MRCA is a local government public entity established in 1985. It is a local partnership between state agency Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy the Conejo Recreation and Park District and the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District. The MRCA is dedicated to the preservation and management of local open space and parkland, watershed lands, trails, and wildlife habitat. MRCA manages and provides ranger services for almost 72,000 acres of public lands and parks that it owns and that are owned by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy or other agencies and provides comprehensive education and interpretation programs for the public.


Beautiful Poppy Display on the East End of Corriganville Park in Simi Valley

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Corriganville Park on the east end of Simi Valley suffered extensive damages in the Woolsey Fire of November 2018 and was closed for a couple months before reopening in mid-January. It is now mid-March, and while portions of the burnt area are clearly evident, there is a very special orange poppy display on the east hill of the park that is attracting many local residents.

In my visit on Saturday, March 16th, I encountered smiles on everyone’s faces. With the sights and sounds of the 118 up in the distance, these beautiful poppies brought a sense of community and joy to those present.

Corriganville Park is located at 7001 Smith Road in Simi Valley. From Thousand Oaks, take the 23 north to the 118 east. Take the Kuehner offramp and turn right to Smith Road and Corriganville Park.

The park is named after Ray “Crash” Corrigan, a stuntman/actor who owned the park from 1937 to 1965, when over 3,500 movies, TV shows and commercials were filmed there. In 1949, the Corrigan Movie Ranch opened as a Western-style amusement park with a train ride and stagecoach ride; in fact, in the late 1950s the Ranch had greater weekend attendance than Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm!

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Annual Poppy Display in the North Ranch Open Space, Thousand Oaks, on March 16, 2019

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Superbloom or no superbloom, this beautiful poppy patch off the Bowfield/Saddle Pass Trail in the North Ranch Open Space in Thousand Oaks has been blooming this time of year for years. The hills to get up here are not for everyone e.g. they are steep - but to me are worth it for this view orange beauty.

Annual Coreopsis Display at Point Dume Natural Preserve in Malibu in Full Bloom

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The Coreopsis are in full bloom at Point Dume Natural Preserve and are worth going out of your way for. Sweetening the deal this week was the migration of Painted Lady butterflies, stopping for a snack.

Every year, March is the time to visit Point Dume to enjoy the peak blooming of the flowers, combined with beautiful blue skies and ocean, seals, dolphins, on occasional whale and other scenes. You’re really missing out if you’ve never visited this fantastic local destination.

To get to Point Dume State Beach, take Westward Beach Road southeast from PCH near Zuma Beach's south side to the paid parking area (or park on Westward Beach Road and walk the length of the parking lot, about half a mile, to the trailhead)

Point Dume Natural Preserve is protected land, so do stay on marked paths and enjoy your surrounds with your eyes only. The stairs/steps from the parking lot at Point Dume State Beach are a bit uneven and worn down, so do be careful with the little ones.

There’s a platform with seating on the southernmost side of the bluff where you can enjoy viewing the sea life.

The trailhead at the end of the parking lot at Point Dume State Beach

The trailhead at the end of the parking lot at Point Dume State Beach

View from the top towards east side of Point Dume Cove

View from the top towards east side of Point Dume Cove

The view west towards Zuma Beach from the top of the bluff.

The view west towards Zuma Beach from the top of the bluff.

Painted Ladies getting in on the Coreopsis action.

Painted Ladies getting in on the Coreopsis action.