City Hiking Guides

Experiencing the Beauty of Thousand Oaks Hiking Trails

POSTED ON October 5, 2022 BY Ralph S.


Introduction

Thousand Oaks, just a short drive from Los Angeles, is home to some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in California. Nestled against the stunning Pacific Coast Hwy, this city offers a variety of easy hikes for all skill levels.

With its picturesque landscapes and diverse terrain, Thousand Oaks is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts. From horseback riding to biking, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful area of Ventura County. Westlake Village residents also have easy access to the nearby trails.

In this blog, we will take you on a journey through some of the best hiking trails in Thousand Oaks.

China Flat Trail Loop

China Flat Trail Loop

  • Location: Oak Park, Thousand Oaks, California
  • Distance: 3.7 miles (5.9 km)
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Trail Type: Loop
  • Map: You can see the directions here.

The China Flat Trail Loop Trail in Oak Park is a hidden gem among the Thousand Oaks trails. This easy-to-moderate, beautiful trail takes approximately 2–3 hours to complete, making it the perfect quick adventure for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of urban life.

This dirt path trail is suitable for all skill levels and allows dogs and bikers, providing a great opportunity for a family outing or a solo exploration. As you make your way through the scenic loop trail, you will be rewarded with amazing views of the Conejo Valley and its surrounding mountains.

The trail takes you through a peaceful oak woodland, offering a tranquil escape from the metropolis. The gradual incline of the path allows for a comfortable hike, making it perfect for beginners or those looking for a leisurely stroll in nature. With various viewpoints along the way, you can take in the stunning vistas of the valley and appreciate the beauty of Thousand Oaks.

Boney Mountain Wilderness

Old Boney Trail in the Boney Mountain State Wilderness area of Point Mugu State Park on the Western edge of the Santa Monica Mountains

  • Location: Thousand Oaks, California
  • Size: approximately 11,000 acres (44.5 km2)
  • Number of Trails: Over 70 trails
  • Total Length of Trails: approximately 100 miles (161 km)

Nestled within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, Boney Mountain Wilderness is a hidden paradise in Thousand Oaks, a haven for outdoor enthusiasts.

The park is best known for its favorite hikes, like the Mishe Mokwa Trail, which leads to the scenic Split Rock formation, and the God’s Seat Trail, which offers views of the Santa Monica Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Sandstone Peak Trail (with rock climbing available) takes you to the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, known as Sandstone Peak or Mount Allen.

The park also offers access to the Backbone Trail at Encinal Canyon, an 8.3-mile journey that takes you uphill to Boney Mountain Peak. Along the way, hikers can witness the spectacular Sycamore Canyon Waterfall and marvel at the unique Balanced Rock formation.

But hiking is not the only activity available in Boney Mountain Wilderness. The park also offers opportunities for camping, horseback riding, bird watching, and wildlife spotting.

Echo cliffs

Located in the Boney Mountain Wilderness, Echo Cliffs is a popular destination for experienced rock climbers. These steep and challenging cliffs offer a variety of routes that showcase the natural beauty of the Santa Monica Mountains. Climbers can enjoy views while testing their skills on the rugged terrain.

Conejo Canyons Open Space

 Conejo Open Space

  • Location: Thousand Oaks, California
  • Size: 1,628 acres (6.58 km2)
  • Number of Trails: Over 15
  • Total Length of Trails: approximately 30 miles (48 km)
  • Map: Click here

Situated in Ventura County, the Conejo Canyons Open Space is a sprawling 1,628-acre park that offers a variety of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts. With over 15 trails, this open space has something for everyone.

The park features easy, moderate, and strenuous hikes, catering to hikers of all skill levels. Some of the favorite hikes include the easy 3.9-mile (4.8 km) Hill Canyon & Hawk Canyon, which provide scenic views of the surrounding canyons and valleys, and the 5.2-mile (8.3 km) moderate Hill Canyon to Elliott Mountain route, which takes you through diverse terrain with a gradual incline.

For those looking for a more challenging hike, the strenuous 9.2 miles (14.8 km) Western Plateau Loop Trail to Elliott Mtn offers a vertical climb and stunning views of the Conejo Valley. With a variety of routes to choose from, visitors can customize their hiking experience at Conejo Canyons Open Space.

Apart from hiking, the park also offers opportunities for mountain biking, wildlife viewing, bird watching, and picnicking.

Newbury Park

Newbury Park & bus station

  • Location: Thousand Oaks, California
  • Size: 13,440 acres (54.39 km2)
  • Number of Trails: numerous trailheads
  • Total Length of Trails: not recognized

Newbury Park is a scenic area located in the city of Thousand Oaks, California. Spanning over 13,400 acres (54.39 km2), this vast park offers a variety of recreational activities for outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy. With numerous trails and hiking paths, Newbury Park is a haven for hikers and nature lovers alike.

The area boasts many parks and trailheads that cater to all levels of difficulty, from easy to challenging. This makes Newbury Park the perfect destination for a family outing or a solo adventure. The park’s trails wind through tranquil oak woodlands, offering stunning views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

Apart from hiking, visitors can also enjoy walking, bird watching, and wildlife spotting in this scenic area.

Tarantula Hill

Tarantula Hill, Thousand Oaks, CA

  • Location: Thousand Oaks, California
  • Distance: 0.5 miles (0.80 km)
  • Duration: Approximately 30 minutes to an hour
  • Difficulty: Moderate to difficult
  • Trail Type: Loop

Tarantula Hill, also known as Dawn’s Peak, is a popular hiking destination in Thousand Oaks. This 1,057-foot-high (322 m) peak is located on a 45-acre (18 ha) open space and offers breathtaking views of the Conejo Valley and the Simi Hills.

The trailhead for Tarantula Hill is located along Gainsborough Rd., across from the main entrance to the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden. The short hike up the hill is a steep 0.5-mile (800-meter) climb, making it a moderate-to-difficult trail. However, the stunning views and diverse terrain make it well worth the effort.

As you ascend Tarantula Hill, you’ll pass through tranquil oak woodlands and along a paved service road before reaching the summit. The hike offers views of the surrounding area, including the Conejo Valley and the Simi Hills.

Arroyo Conejo Open Space

Open Space

  • Location: Thousand Oaks, California
  • Size: 302 acres (1.22 km2)
  • Number of Trails: Over 5
  • Total Length of Trails: over 9 miles (14.48 km)
  • More info: Trail maps & access information

Nestled in the heart of Thousand Oaks, California, the Arroyo Conejo Open Space is a park that offers visitors a peaceful retreat. With several trails, this open space is an ideal destination for hikers, outdoor enthusiasts, and nature lovers alike.

One of the most popular hikes in the park is the Wildwood Canyon Trail, which takes hikers through a picturesque landscape of rolling hills, Paradise Falls, and scenic vistas. Another must-visit trail is the Western Plateau Trail, where visitors can witness panoramic views of the Arroyo Conejo Creek and surrounding mountains. The East Avenida de los Arboles Road also offers a scenic route to explore the park.

Los Robles Trail Los Robles Trail is one of the most popular hikes in the area, and it stretches over 9 miles. It is a relatively easy hike and is perfect for beginners. It offers beautiful views of oak trees, wildflowers, and small streams. If you are a nature lover, don’t miss out on this spectacular sight. You can also spot different creatures and wildlife along the way.

Wildwood Regional Park

Wildwood Regional Park

  • Location: Thousand Oaks, California
  • Size: 1,765 acres (7.14 km2)
  • Number of Trails: about 14
  • Total length of Trails: over 17 miles (27 km)

Wildwood Park is a popular destination for hikers and trail runners. The park offers a variety of trails for hikers of all levels and abilities. With approximately 14 trails that are over 17 miles (27 km) long, you can choose the best hikes that suit your fitness levels and needs.

Enjoy the scenic beauty of Paradise Falls and rolling hills, or go for a hike along the river. There are also many benches, picnic tables, and grassy areas to relax and refresh.

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

  • Location: Santa Monica Mountains, California
  • Size: 153,075 acres (619.4 km2)
  • Number of Trails: over 10
  • Total Length of Trails: More than 500 miles (804 km)

Nestled in the Santa Monica Mountains, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a vast and diverse park that offers visitors an escape from city life. Covering over 156,670 acres (634.2 km2), this national park has something for everyone. With more than 500 miles (804 km) of trails, the opportunities to explore are endless.

The park boasts numerous picnic areas, making it perfect for a family outing. On a warm day, you can enjoy lunch at one of the many picnic stops while taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. For those who prefer to take in the scenery from their car, there are several scenic drives that offer stunning overlooks and viewpoints.

Los Robles Trail and Open Space System

Los Robles Trail and Open Space System

  • Location: Thousand Oaks, California
  • Size: nearly 2000 acres (8.1 km2)
  • Number of Trails: approximately 17
  • Total Length of Trails: 25 miles (40 km)
  • Map: Trail map

The Los Robles Trail and Open Space System is a must-visit for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts.  Accessible via Greenmeadow Ave., this expansive natural area offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

With approximately several trails, there is no shortage of options when it comes to hiking in this park. The trailheads are easily accessible, making it convenient for visitors to start their adventure. Along the trails, you will see lush oak trees and large open spaces, creating a peaceful and serene atmosphere.

What sets this park apart is its dog-friendly policy. Visitors can bring their dogs along for a hike and enjoy the beautiful surroundings together. Some of the most popular trails in the park are Oak Creek Canyon, Los Robles, and Los Padres Loop, which offer great views of the nearby mountains. Another highlight is the 8-mile (12.8-km) Greenmeadow Avenue to Angel Vista, which leads to a variety of scenic hikes.

Other nearby Hiking Spots

For outdoor enthusiasts in Thousand Oaks, there is no shortage of hiking areas to explore.

From the popular Alamos Canyon Trail in Simi Valley to the scenic hikes along the Pacific Coast Highway, there is something for everyone just a short distance away. Other nearby hiking spots include Agoura Hills and Ventura County, which offer beautiful landscapes and unique hiking experiences.

Ladyface Trail

Santa Monica Mtns from the trail up Ladyface in Agoura Hill

  • Location: Agoura Hills, California
  • Distance: 1.8 miles (2.9 km)
  • Duration: Approximately 1-2 hours
  • Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
  • Trail Type: Out and Back

The Ladyface Trail Head in Agoura Hills is a popular hiking destination for adventure seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. Located just a few miles from Thousand Oaks via the Thousand Oaks BLVD Road, this short but challenging 1.8-mile (2.9 km) hike takes hikers on a steep and gnarly journey uphill to Ladyface Mountain. Along the way, hikers will encounter multiple rock climbing sections that add an extra thrill to the experience.

The trail starts at an elevation of 1,700 feet (518 m) from Old Agoura and climbs up to the summit at 2,031 feet (619 m). While the distance may seem short, the trail’s steepness makes it a strenuous physical exertion that can take anywhere from 1-2 hours to complete. But the reward for reaching uphill is well worth the effort. From the summit, hikers are treated to great views of Agoura Hills and beyond.

The Ladyface Trail is not for the faint of heart, but those who dare to conquer it will be rewarded with an unforgettable experience.

Canyon View Trail

Hiking trail at Peters Canyon Regional Park, Orange, California.

  • Location: Malibu Hills, California
  • Distance: 1.7 miles (approximately 2.7 km)
  • Duration: Approximately 1 hour
  • Difficulty: Strenuous
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Download: Trail map

Located within the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area, the Canyon View Trail is a stunning hiking destination that offers amazing views and challenging terrain. Accessible via Wood Ranch Pkwy, this 1.3-mile (approximately 2.1 km) trail is a favorite among experienced hikers looking for a quick but intense workout.

The hike begins as a turn-off from Zuma Canyon Trail and heads east through dense chaparral ground covering the base of the foothills. As the name suggests, hikers will be treated to gorgeous views of the Pacific Ocean and Malibu as they make their way up the trail. The steep incline and rocky terrain make this hike difficult, but they also add an extra layer of excitement for adventure seekers.

At the end of the trail, hikers can take a moment to catch their breath while taking in the stunning panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Long Canyon Trail

Simi Valley

  • Location: Simi Valley, California
  • Distance: 0.7 miles (1.1 km)
  • Duration: Approximately 45 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy to Moderate
  • Trail Type: Out and Back
  • Trail map: direction

Located in the quiet suburb of Simi Valley, about 10 miles (16 km) from Thousand Oaks and 40 miles (64 km) from Downtown Los Angeles, this trail is a peaceful and scenic hiking destination perfect for all skill levels.

The hike starts at the corner of Wood Ranch Parkway and Long Canyon Road, making it easily accessible for visitors. This short but beautiful hike takes hikers through the tranquil Wood Ranch section of Simi Valley, with stunning views of the surrounding hills and valleys. The trail is well-maintained and clearly marked, making it easy to navigate for beginners.

As you make your way through the trail, you will encounter lush vegetation and wildflowers, adding a touch of natural beauty to the experience. For bird lovers, this hike is also a great spot for birdwatching, as there is an abundance of bird species in the area.

Trailheads along Yerba Buena Rd

Mishe Mokwa Trailhead

In Simi Valley, California, there are several popular trailheads located along Yerba Buena Rd. that offer a variety of hiking experiences.

  • The Circle X Ranch trailhead is a great starting point for exploring the Santa Monica Mountains with its stunning views and easy-to-moderate hikes.
  • For those looking for a more challenging hike, the Grotto Trailhead offers a steep and rocky trail that leads to the top of Sandstone Peak, the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains. This 3.5-mile round-trip hike is not for the faint of heart, but it rewards hikers with views of the mountains and coastline.
  • Another popular trailhead is the Mishe Mokwa Trailhead Parking Lot, which gives access to the iconic God’s Seat trail. This moderate 5-mile (about 8 km) round-trip hike takes hikers through beautiful canyons and ends at a rock formation that offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
  • But perhaps the most famous trailhead along Yerba Buena Rd. is the Backbone Trail Access. This 65-mile (approximately 104-km) trail spans the entire length of the Santa Monica Mountains, starting at Yerba Buena Rd. and ending at Point Mugu State Park. It offers a variety of terrain and stunning views, making it a favorite among experienced hikers.

Conclusion

Thousand Oaks hikes boast breathtaking landscapes, wildlife, and plants, making them perfect for hikers, trail runners, and backpackers.

Whether you’re looking for an easy hike or to challenge yourself, there is a hike that’s perfect for you.

Get your hiking boots and backpack, begin exploring the available trails, and experience the beauty of nature.

Remember to look through our city hiking guides as you make plans for your upcoming journey.


RALPH S.

Ralph S. is the founder of Silverlight, an avid hiker and trail runner he enjoys spending time outdoors, riding his motorcycle and swimming at the beach when he's not busy replying to customers or developing new Silverlight gear.

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