Thousand Oaks is a spectacular Southern California community that is located in the heart of the Conejo Valley. This primarily residential community provides residents with beautiful surroundings and landscapes that are the perfect backdrop for outdoor activities like hiking enjoying a local trail. These activities are made all the more scenic and picturesque due to the proximity of the sweeping Santa Monica Mountains, which is a wonderful mountain range that plays host to a national recreation area as well as a myriad of fun and adventurous hiking trails. If you enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, Thousand Oaks is home to many of Southern California’s best hiking trails for you to enjoy the sights. See below for our top 10 favorite hiking trails in Thousand Oaks!
10. Lake Eleanor Open Space [Easy]
The Lake Eleanor Open Space provides you with a lengthy 2.2 mile loop trail and is located just nearby Westlake Village. The trail itself is an easy hike with hardly any incline, which makes it perfect for hikers of all ages and skill levels.
The trail is mainly used for hiking, running, and walking. If you plan on taking your dog with you, make sure that they are on a leash. A great time to visit this trail is in the springtime due to the many wildflowers that line the trail.
As you make your way around the trail, you will likely spot such wildflowers as stinging lupine, California buckwheat, and wild cucumber. Towards the conclusion of the trail, you should be able to see some nearby lakes in the distance, which makes for a beautiful view of some of the local scenery.
When you are trying to find the trailhead for the hike, you will want to take the Triunfo Canyon Rd. southeast until you reach Highgate Rd. on the right. Once you turn onto Highgate Rd., all you have to do is drive down this road a short distance until you reach a gate that blocks off the road. On the left of this gate is the entrance to the trail.
9. Conejo Valley Botanic Garden [Easy]
The Conejo Valley Botanic Garden trail provides visitors with a relaxing hike that offers some of the best views in the Conejo Valley. The trail lasts for a little more than one mile and can be used for anything from hiking and walking to biking and bird watching. Surrounding the trail are a large number of pristine gardens that include a bird habitat, a fruit orchard, and an oak tree grove.
The trail winds around a beautiful stream that completes the scenic backdrop. During your hike, you’ll likely spot a substantial amount of wildflowers as well as some of the local wildlife. Even though the trail has only 150 feet of elevation gain to it, this area provides some of the best views. Keep in mind that there are no dogs allowed on this trail and that the trail is only open from sunrise to sunset.
The beginning of the trail can be found at 400 W Gainsborough Rd.
8. Sunset Hills Trail [Easy]
The Sunset Hills Trail is a very open hiking trail that is designed with scenery in mind, which is due to the fact that there are no trees in the immediate vicinity of the trail providing you with unobstructed views on your journey. While this is an easy trail to hike, it lasts for around 3.4 miles if you travel to the end and back, which is something you should keep in mind if you’re taking your children.
The best views on the trail can be found around halfway through, which is when you’ll be provided with spectacular views of the nearby reservoir as well as Simi Valley.
When you’re traveling to the Sunset Hills Trail, the trailhead can be reached by traveling east on Sunset Hills Blvd before turning and heading north on Erbes Rd. In less than a mile, you will arrive at the trailhead as well as a dirt parking lot where you can leave your car during the hike.
7. Cheeseboro Hiking Trail [Easy]
The Cheeseboro Hiking Trail is a lengthy 10.4 mile loop, which makes it one of the longest trails on this list. Although the trail is relatively easy for all skill levels, there are some areas where the elevation gain can be substantial. The paths along this trail are wide, which makes it a fantastic trail for hikers, bikers, and horseback riders.
Because of the length of the trail, you’re provided with a large amount of variety in the scenery and plants that you’ll spot during the hike. You may even catch a glimpse of a deer or rabbit during your hike. Any dog you bring must be kept on a leash and you should know that there isn’t much shade throughout the trail, which is why suntan lotion or similar protection is necessary.
In order to reach the trailhead, take Ventura Fwy to Cheeseboro Rd, after which you will reach the entrance to the trail in around one mile.
6. Long Canyon Loop [Easy]
The Long Canyon Loop is a beautiful trail nearby the Simi Valley that measures at a length of 2.8 miles. It is a loop trail that is known for being one of the more peaceful destinations in Thousand Oaks. As you are hiking this trail, you’ll notice that the plains are lush and green and that there are numerous species of birds that frequent the surrounding area.
The hike should last for around 90 minutes if you’re taking a leisurely walk to admire the nature. The trail is easy to hike but does have a small amount of elevation towards the beginning that may prove to be somewhat steep for young children.
When you want to reach the trailhead, travel to the north side of the Long Canyon Rd. and you’ll spot the entrance just before you reach Wood Ranch Pkwy.
5. Wildwood Park Lizard Rock Trail [Moderate]
The Wildwood Park Lizard Rock Trail is a lengthy 4.1 mile trail that is moderately difficult and consists of just under 700 feet of elevation. This loop trail offers a large amount of variety during the course of the hike, which is particularly noticeable with the river and waterfall that you’ll walk past.
There are numerous picnic tables dotted around the trail path, which is where most of the shade is located.
When you’re trying to find the entrance to the trail, drive west along Avenida de Los Arboles until you reach the intersection of Arboles and Big Sky Dr., which is where you’ll find a large parking lot.
4. China Flat Trail [Moderate]
The China Flat Trail is a fun and challenging trail that provides great views throughout the entire hike and is dotted with all different kinds of wildflowers. Given the open nature of this trail, bird watching is a common activity that hikers partake in during respites.
This loop trail lasts for just over five miles, some of which consists of uneven terrain that can make for a difficult hike.
The most difficult portion of the hike is right at the beginning where the elevation change is at its most dramatic. Once you reach the peak of the trail, the rest of the hike should be easygoing. Given the lack of shade, it’s recommended that you hike at the China Flat Trail on a cool morning or when it’s cloudy.
The trailhead is found between Wembley Ave. and King James Court, which are right off of Lindero Canyon Rd.
3. Los Robles Trail [Moderate]
The Los Robles Trail is a five mile loop trail that is moderately difficult and can be used for hiking, biking, and running. Although most of the trail isn’t shaded, there are some lovely forested areas that offer both shade and amazing scenery.
Once you reach the highest elevation of around 1,000 feet, you’ll be provided with expansive views of Thousand Oaks as well as a number of mountains in the distance. Most of the surrounding areas beside the trail consist of meadows and plains of green grass. During your hike, you’ll likely spot at least a few types of wildflowers that make for great pictures.
The beginning of the trail is located at the corner of Greenmeadow Ave. and South Moorpark Rd. Once you’ve entered the trail, you’ll notice a small fork in the road that allows you to take the loop by going east or west depending on your preference. If you’d rather traverse the steeper portion of the trail first, you’ll want to go east.
2. Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak [Moderate]
The Mishe Mokwa Trail to Sandstone Peak is an extensive 5.6 mile loop trail that has the highest elevation out of any trail on this list, which is why it’s moderately difficult to hike. If you have prepared properly for the hike, you’ll be rewarded with some of the best views in the area. These breathtaking views include the distant Santa Monica Mountains as well as many of the features that can be found around the trail.
For instance, you’ll pass by the sprawling Echo Cliffs that can be used for rock climbing as well as a massive boulder that is split in two and can be walked between if you’re feeling adventurous. Keep an eye out for an area of the trail that is comprised of bending tree branches that create a lengthy archway that offers some much needed shade.
The best views from the trail can be found at the Sandstone Peak, which you’ll reach at around 4.5 miles into the hike. When you’re traveling north on the Pacific Coast Hwy., make sure that you turn right at Yerba Buena Rd. and continue on this road for around six miles until you reach the trailhead on the left.
1. Paradise Falls [Moderate]
Paradise Falls is a picturesque trail that is among the most beautiful in the Conejo Valley. This loop trail extends for 2.7 miles and is considered to be moderately difficult, which is due mainly to the varied terrain as opposed to the elevation. The main focal point of the trail is the spectacular 70 foot waterfall that can be found around halfway through your journey. This beautiful waterfall is a primary reason this hike tops our list of the best hiking trails in Thousand Oaks.
The water is crystal clear in this area and the shade is bountiful, which makes it a great place to relax during the hike or enjoy a picnic. Just before you reach the waterfall, you’ll likely notice some volcanic rock as well as a number of different flowers.
To find this trail, you’ll want to take the Avenida de Los Arboles until you reach Big Sky Drive. The trail entrance will be on your left.
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