Overview of adjacent areas

Trails of

Conejo Conejo Canyons Open Space area Trails
(AKA Western Plateau)
 


The Western Plateau section of Conejo Canyons

Overview

This large open space area lies immediately west of Wildwood Park. The Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency (COSCA), plans to focus on this region to develop new trails over the coming years. There are already lots of dirt roads, mostly Edison access roads to service the power lines that cross the valley, and a few singletrack trails, all of which are outstanding. You will find many minor trails made by equestrians, particularly in the meadows, that aren't shown on this map. Those trails tend to appear and disappear as routes are used or not.

Despite its proximity to Wildwood Park, access between the two is limited because the Arroyo Conejo separates them, and the public is not allowed on the paved Hill Canyon Road that runs along Arroyo Conejo. But COSCA is working towards getting a bridge installed that will allow more direct access. However, if you live in the Santa Rosa Valley, access is easy because of the bridge that crosses the arroyo and nearby parking in Santa Rosa County Park. There are also two trailheads with roadside parking in the Newbury Park neighborhood of Thousand Oaks.

The weather will play an important part of how much you enjoy your visit here. It's very hot in the summertime, so early morning adventures are best then. The dirt becomes very mucky and sticky after it rains, so you'll want to wait at least a week after significant rainfall before coming here. Otherwise you'll be scraping mud off your shoes or tires for a long time, not to mention the damage to the trails that will be done by tracks, footprints and especially hoofprints.

Map Key

  Printable map (1.7 MB)

Trailheads and Features

a. On Conejo Center Drive, at the Western Plateau Trail trailhead (Edison Road). There is free parking on the street. Ignore the private property signs, they don't apply to the Edison Road. However, Edison vehicles have right-of-way on the road, so please move over for them. Map and directions
b. On Rancho Conejo Blvd, at the 'Baxter' Fireroad. There is free parking on the street. The land right next to the street is private property, but the fireroad, starting where it drops into the canyon, is public. Map and directions
c. At Santa Rosa County Park, on Hill Canyon Road. There may be a fee to park here. Map and directions
z. Overlook and bench.

Trails

Download the GPS tracks to help you find your way. This GPX file contains tracks for all the trails in this area.

[1] Western Plateau Trail T1.5

Description This hilly, U-shaped Edison Road is the primary way to get to the trails of this area. It connects to the two major trailheads; on Conejo Center Drive (south-east end in Newbury Park) and, via Hill Canyon Fireroad, on Hill Canyon Road in the Santa Rosa Valley. The trail will give hikers and bikers a good workout with its hills, but it's probably too steep for beginner mountain bikers.

If it has rained recently, this road turns into gooey mud that sticks to everything. Stay off when wet!

Technical Rating T1.5

 Length (miles)

 2.75

Climb (feet)

 350 (going clockwise)

Descent (feet)

 650

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 [2] Hill Canyon Fireroad T1

Description This is a nearly level fireroad that runs alongside the Arroyo Conejo from parking on Hill Canyon Road to the Western Plateau Trail and Hawk Canyon. From that junction, you'll gain elevation on the Western Plateau Trail and will get to some great views. On the other hand, the Hawk Canyon trails lead along a creek under a tree canopy.

Technical Rating T1

 Length (miles)

 1.1

Climb (feet)

 100

Descent (feet)

 50

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[3] Baxter Fireroad T1
[3a] Baxter Singletrack
T2.5

Description This short and moderately steep fireroad will quickly get you down to the Arroyo Conejo from Newbury Park. It's a slog back up, but you'll get some good exercise!

The Baxter Singletrack was built in October 2016, during the Conejo Open Space Trailwork Day. It starts almost half way down at some equipment enclosed in a chain-link fence. Watch carefully for it! It is 176' longer than the remainder of the fireroad, making it 11% less steep. It gets a slightly higher technical rating compared to most singletracks because it is still pretty steep in a few spots.

Technical Rating T1 (road), T2.5 (singletrack)

 Length (miles)

 0.5 (fireroad); 0.33 (singletrack)

Climb (feet)

 20; 30

Descent (feet)

 380; 290

 Back to the Top

 

[4,5] Hawk Canyon Road and Hawk Canyon Trail T2

Description This pair of very gently sloping trails, as you might expect from the names, run along Hawk Canyon, one on each side of the stream that runs through it. The Trail connects at its south end to the Western Plateau Trail, and merges with the Road at its north end in two places. Its mostly shady under a canopy of trees. Watch for growth at the side of the trail; there's lots of poison oak here!

The Road is a little higher up and mostly traverses grasslands, passing a few old oak trees. It ends in a box canyon at the south-west, connecting with Hill Canyon Fireroad and the Western Plateau Trail as it curves north, then east, ending at Baxter Fireroad.

During the 2012 COSCA Annual Trailwork Day, the Hawk Canyon Trail was extended north-east from the creek crossing to where it now joins the Road. Also, a bypass was built around a short section that is very narrow where it is being undercut by the creek and will one day disappear altogether.

In October 2016 during the Conejo Open Space Trailwork Day, the trail was further extended 1400' north-east to meet the Hawk Canyon Road about 110 yards from the bottom of the Baxter Singletrack that was built at the same time.

Technical Rating T2

 Length (miles)

 0.85 (trail); 0.85 (road)

Climb (feet)

 190 (trail, north-east to south-west); 150 (road, east to west)

Descent (feet)

 65; 60

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

  

[6] Peninsula Trail T2 , T2.5

Description The Penisula Trail runs along a ridge from the Western Plateau down towards Hawk Canyon, rejoining the Western Plateau Trail about half way down. When returning to the trailhead on Conejo Center Drive, I prefer this trail over the Western Plateau Trail Edison road because it is higher and has much better views, especially the section built in 2016 because it faces north into the center of the plateau and towards Elliott Mountain.

In October 2016 during the Conejo Open Space Trailwork Day, a bypass of a very steep section was built at the bottom of the trail where it joins the Western Plateau Trail. The old section of 300' that descends 50' is replace by 1600' of new trail and so is much less steep.

Technical Rating T2 , T2.5 at the bottom

 Length (miles)

 0.62

Climb (feet)

 50 (West to east)

Descent (feet)

 175

See the Western Plateau Trail profile to see the Peninsula Trail profile.

Back to the Top

 

[7] Hawk Canyon Rim Trail T2

Description This trail forms almost a full loop if you take it from end to end. It meanders through the grasslands of the plateau, passes the overlook of Hawk Canyon and climbs up to the North-West Edison Road. It's a great hiking trail, and possibly the most fun trail for mountain biking in Thousand Oaks!

Technical Rating T2

 Length (miles)

 1.5; 0.8 miles for rim segment east of the Western Plateau Trail

Climb (feet)

 250; 90 (going counterclockwise)

Descent (feet)

 270; 150

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[8] Outlaw Loop T2.5

Description Nobody knows who built this trail originally, hence the name. It climbs up the south flank of Elliott Mountain from the north leg of the Western Plateau Trail. There are many twists and turns, especially along the original west half, providing great views of the plateau below and points south. You'll get a good workout climbing up here, and mountain bikers will have to be good at handling tight turns if they're going to enjoy it!

During the Annual COSCA Trailwork Day in 2013, a new route for the east half was built with most of the old route being closed off. The new route isn't as steep and goes right out to the edge of Hill Canyon, giving a great view of the canyon and Lizard Rock in Wildwood on the other side.

Technical Rating T2.5

 Length (miles)

 1.6

Climb (feet)

 300

Descent (feet)

 300

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[9] Jeep Trail T3

Description In the past, the Western Plateau was plagued by jeeps and other OHVs that illegally drove the trails here and tore up new paths up the hillsides. This enduring trail is a steepish, rocky legacy of that era.

Technical Rating T3

 Length (miles)

 0.28

Climb (feet)

 225

Descent (feet)

 zero

Back to the Top

 

[10] Elliot Mountain Trail T2

Description This short spur leads from the highest section of the Outlaw Loop up to an overlook and bench near the top of Elliott Mountain. In early 2015, COSCA named this peak for Burt Elliott, a seemily tireless open space advocate and volunteer who plied the trails while hiking, running or riding his mountain bike. He was a major force in helping to organize the Spring and Annual COSCA Trailwork Days, and could be found helping build and restore trails somewhere in the Santa Monica Mountains on most Saturdays. Burt passed away in early 2014 and this peak is a tribute to him.

Technical Rating T2

 Length (miles)

 0.2

Climb (feet)

 100

Descent (feet)

 zero

Back to the Top

 

[11] South-West Edison Road T1

Description This Edison Road climbs to the south-west from the Western Plateau Trail to a point that overlooks the 101 Freeway.

Technical Rating T1

 Length (miles)

 0.95

Climb (feet)

 300

Descent (feet)

 200

Back to the Top

 

[12] North-West Edison Road T1

Description This Edison Road cimbs from the South-West Edison Road (about 220 yards from the Western Plateau Trail) to the ridge that separates the Western Plateau from the Santa Rosa Valley. A short spur that leads to the highest point of this ridge connects to the South-East Face Trail.

This main road continues over the top of the ridge and down the other side into the Santa Rosa Valley. The map shows only the first leg of the route down.

Technical Rating T1

 Length (miles)

 1.15 (to the little building at the top)

Climb (feet)

 450

Descent (feet)

 80

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[13] Lichen Trail T3

Description As of early 2016, this is the newest trail in the Western Plateau, and in all of Thousand Oaks for that matter. It was built in September 2015 and joins the Outlaw Loop to the very top of the North-West Edison Road, thus enabling a loop route with lots of climbing. It switchbacks up a very steep slope, and as you might notice from the photo at right, at least some of it is not for people who don't like exposure to steep drops! It is not as wide as typical COSCA singletracks, so with that and the exposure, it is rated a little more difficult than usual for a singletrack.

Technical Rating T3 (due narrowness and exposure)

 Length (miles)

 0.75

Climb (feet)

 300 (East to west, to the end of the Edison spur)

Descent (feet)

 50

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

[14] Edison Connector T2

Description This road/trail connects the Western Plateau Trail just west of the Hawk Canyon Rim Trail to the North-West Edison Road. The top half is an Edison spur that leads to a power tower. The lower half is a double-track.

Technical Rating T2

 Length (miles)

 0.56

Climb (feet)

 290 (From the Western Plateau Trail to the Edison Road Spur)

Descent (feet)

 zero

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[15] Private Trail

Description This trail is on private property and leads to an equestrian facility. They are not happy to see members of the public on their trail. If you don't believe it, they will make it clear to you if you encouter them along the way.

 

This page was last updated November 4, 2016

 

Thanks for looking at Steve's guide to trails in Ventura County, the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA) and other locations.