Posted on April 13, 2022 by Claire Marcus
There may be no better way to leave your worries and troubles behind than by going on a hiking or biking adventure. These fun and relaxing experiences are even better when spectacular mountain landscapes and pristine coastlines surround you, as is the case in Conejo Valley.
This Southern California destination, just 45 minutes from Los Angeles, includes communities such as Thousand Oaks and Agoura Hills. The region offers numerous restaurants, museums, attractions, and more, plus it’s the ideal location to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and explore the outdoors. Whether you go solo or with friends and family, you’ll be able to choose from hundreds of trails – from easy to challenging – while enjoying one of the most beautiful areas of the country.
Although we’ve highlighted some of our favorite Conejo Valley trails below, you can find a complete list in a variety of categories here.
EASY: Approximately 10 miles of trails make up the Lang Ranch/Woodridge Open Space trail system in Thousand Oaks. The natural beauty of large oak groves, overgrown meadows and native vegetation, as well as many species of wildlife in addition to panoramic views of the Simi Hills and Santa Susana Mountains, provide for an excellent family outing.
MODERATE: Enjoy the Modelo Trail, a ridgeline path in the Cheeseboro Canyon of Agoura Hills. This trail is 5-10 miles long trek and is also popular for mountain bikers and horseback riders. You’ll see expansive views and beautiful meadows.
MODERATELY CHALLENGING: Views overlooking Malibu Lake and the surrounding mountains are among the highlights of the 3.6-mile Cistern, Lookout and Cage Creek Trails Loop hike. The connecting trails feature pass-bys of Reagan Ranch (once owned by the late president), as well as exceptional scenes along Cistern Trail and from the end of Lookout Trail.
EASY: Malibu Creek State Park includes trails that are ideal for beginning hikers, as there’s less climbing and more scenery. Views of the beautiful Santa Monica Mountains are ever present along the hike.
MODERATE: A several-mile ride up to Angel Vista via the Rosewood Trail is worth the effort as you arrive at one of the top viewpoints in the Santa Monica Mountains. Panoramic vistas of the coastal range that runs between Los Angeles and Ventura, including the picturesque Boney Mountains, is memorable.
CHALLENGING: The 3-plus-mile journey along the Oakbrook Vista – Sandstone Hills Trail is a workout, but its 360-degree views are rewarding. Located near Thousand Oaks, the trail is popular for birding, hiking and mountain bike enthusiasts.
MODERATE: Popular for birding, trail running and walking, the Westward Beach to Paradise Cove trail leads to a site used in movies and TV series – including The Rockford Files. On the return hike is Point Dume, where there are observation points for whale, seal and dolphin watching.
MODERATE: The 5- to 10-mile La Jolla Canyon trails are filled with long, green grasses and wildflowers during the spring, and certain segments feature awe-inspiring views of the coast, while others look out at the Serrano Valley and Boney Mountain.
CHALLENGING: Make sure to stretch properly prior to tackling Mugu Peak in Point Mugu State Park near Malibu. The steep hike leads to an elevation of 1,266 feet, but trekkers are properly rewarded at the top with views of the Pacific Ocean.
EASY: Reward your four-legged best friend with a casual hike at Rocky Oaks, one of the smaller areas of land in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area. The approximate 2-mile journey, made up of a collection of interwoven trails, leads to scenic views over Rocky Oaks Park and the surrounding mountains.
MODERATE: You may encounter alligator lizards or a red-tailed hawk on an Upper Solstice Canyon hike, which includes one of the longest stretches of shade in the Santa Monica Mountains. You also may find breathtaking looks of the ocean, a waterfall and communities of coastal sage scrub and riparian plants.
CHALLENGING: If your pup wants a challenge, the Chumash – Las Llajas Loop trail is for them. The 9-plus-mile route provides both mountain and city views, as well as streams, fossil sites and interesting rock formations. The trail is popular among birders, hikers and horseback riders.
EASY: Your kids will feel like kings and queens of the mountain as they take the half-mile journey to the top of Tarantula Hill. The trail is paved so strollers are welcome, but Mom and Dad will still need some body strength to push the stroller up. Enjoy a 360-degree view of the entire Conejo Valley once you reach the summit.
EASY-TO-MODERATE: Sycamore Canyon Trails in Point Mugu State Park are ideal for novice and intermediate users. A short-and-easy hike is available along the Sycamore Canyon Fireroad, while more challenging trails include those in the Boney Mountain Wilderness, which provides amazing vistas of nearby valleys and distant peaks.
MODERATE: Explore the less-frequented northern part of Malibu Creek State Park at Talepop Loop, which connects to four different trails to make a scenic loop. Beautiful grassland areas with rolling hills and majestic oaks surround adventurers, with a remarkable sight at the top.
EASY: Sapwi Loop is part of a more recently added trail system that highlights Thousand Oaks’s open space. The 2.4-mile loop is available to hikers, bikers and of course, horseback riding. The trail is open year-round and considered easy to navigate with modest hills and beautiful chaparral.
EASY: Forty-one miles of shared-use trails makes Dos Vientos Trails an excellent spot for hikers, bikers and equestrians. The 1,216 acres of open space is considered an important wildlife movement corridor into the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area through Point Mugu State Park to the south.
MODERATE: A 5-mile round-trip journey to Rock Pool via the South Grassland Trail features many bouldering and climbing opportunities; the Planet of the Apes Wall, near Rock Pool, was the location where footage was shot for the Planet of the Apes movie and the M*A*S*H television series.
With its expansive natural beauty, open spaces and hundreds of trails, Conejo Valley is also known for its commitment to nature and its inhabitants. It seems only fitting that the area will be home to the Wallis Annenberg Wildlife Crossing, a pathway being built to give wildlife a way to traverse the 101 Freeway without being hit by the thousands of vehicles that pass through the area daily.
The largest wildlife crossing in the world upon its completion in 2025, it will help save mountain lions from likely extension and reconnect a long-fragmented ecosystem for all wildlife in the area, according to officials. A groundbreaking ceremony at the site in Agoura Hills, California, will be held on April 22, 2022, followed by a celebration at King Gillette Ranch.
Just a short drive from the bright lights of L.A., Conejo Valley provides plenty to do and places to stay without the crowds of the City of Angels. Hotels are all available to help you relax in between adventures, while the variety of restaurants will astound you. Museums, performing arts, botanical gardens, wine hikes, scuba diving and spas are in abundance in or near Conejo Valley. And one of the most satisfying adventures in the area is the beer and wine trail, featuring some of the top wineries and breweries in the region.