Trails of

Point Mugu State Park

    Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwiwa
    Sycamore Canyon
    Boney Mountain State Wilderness Area


View from one of the ridges, looking north up Sycamore Canyon, with Boney Mountain in the background

Overview

There are some great trails around Thousand Oaks and the Conejo Valley, but many people consider Sycamore Canyon in Point Mugu State park to be the best, especially for novice and intermediate users. It has a great variety of single tracks and fire roads with a variety of degrees of difficulty, but none of them are really rocky, loose or rutted. It is secluded so you don't see any development, and there are lots of trees to provide shade and beauty. It can get hot here in the summertime, especially on the trails that climb out of the cayon, but it's still one of the least hot places to ride and hike. In the canyon there are trees and shade, but up on the higher trails there are great views.

Sycamore Canyon trails are very accessible. There is plenty of free parking at the top (north end) at the two trailheads, and ample paid parking in the campground at the bottom. For people who would like only a short and/or easy hike, the Sycamore Canyon Fireroad from the campground and the Satwiwa area at the north end provide lots of choices.

On the other hand, the trails of the Boney Mountain Wilderness are more suited for good hikers. The trails are longer, steeper and sometimes rocky or rutted, but more secluded, and with fantastic views of nearby valleys and distant peaks. All trails in the Wilderness Area, east of Sycamore Canyon Fireroad, are closed to bikes.

One unique feature of Sycamore Canyon is the availability of plumbed facilities. There are indoor bathrooms at or near each end of the main Sycamore Fire Road and outhouses in three places on that trail and one (sometimes) in Wood Canyon not far from the bottom of Hell Hill. Also, there are several fire hydrants that are outfitted with spigots so you can refill your water bottles.

Point Mugu State Park can be thought of as three distinct sections: La Jolla Canyon, Sycamore Canyon and the Boney Mountain Wilderness Area. La Jolla Canyon is not described here because it has a web page and map of it's own. North of the state park is Rancho Sierra Vista (managed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy) and Satwiwa (National Park Service). The agencies that manage these open spaces are to be commended for providing a excellent outdoor recreational area, especially for opening several beautiful single tracks in late 2002 that were previously closed to mountain bikers.

Map Key

  Printable map (5.6 MB)

Aerial View

View is from the west. Sycamore Canyon trails are orange, Boney Mtn Wilderness are red, La Jolla Valley trails are green, and the yellow trails in the distance are in Circle X Ranch.

This view is from Google Earth

Geocaches in the area

Trailheads

a. Main entrance to Rancho Sierra Vista/Satwisa. Turn south from Potrero Rd, across from Via Goleta.  Map and directions to the entrance
b. Potrero Road at the south end of Wendy Drive.  Map and directions
c. Sycamore Canyon Campground off of the Pacific Coast Highway.  Map and directions
d. Serrano Road, off of Pacific View Drive. Map and directions
e. La Jolla Canyon Trailheads, off of the Pacific Coast Highway. Map and directions

Trails

[1,2] Sycamore Canyon Fire Road and Wendy Connector Single Track

Description The Sycamore Canyon Fire Road winds through the bottom of Sycamore Canyon from Newbury Park to the Pacific Coast Highway. Much of the canyon floor is covered with giant sycamore and oak trees. Because of the gentleness of the slope when you start from the PCH end, it is very popolar with people looking for an easy walk, with novice bikers, and even parents pushing baby strollers. The only hazards are the stream crossings of which there are about a half dozen near the south end of the trail. Most of the year there is at least a little water in the stream so people can expect to get their feet wet.

Although the road goes all the way to Potrero Road on the north end, we always start at the Wendy trailhead and take the connector trail (it used to be a single track but it is so popular that it has become a double track) that joins the main trail about a quarter mile from Potrero Road. The first section is paved. Riding south, you pass a ranger house on the left side, then the Satwiwa Indian Cultural Center. There are real bathrooms here so this is a popular place to stop.

After climbing a small rise you will find yourself at the top of the "Blacktop Hill" where you can enjoy the view into the canyon and rest on a park bench (dedicated to the memory of a mountain biker who suffered a heart attack pedalling up the Blacktop Hill). Be careful to watch your speed going down this hill; there are sharp corners, lots of people, and occasionaly you will encouter vehicles on the road. At the bottom of the hill the slope is gradually downhill to the campground at the PCH. There is one short section of single track in the middle which is joined by the Sin Nombre Trail. If you stay on the road, you will pass a house on the left, then the road will bend sharply right, go through a stream bed, and come into a junction. The road continues to the left. Straight ahead is the Ranch Center Fire Road and to the right is the end of the single track section. From here to the beach, the road is dirt instead of pavement. At the south end of the trail is a state campground with indoor bathroom facilities. It is a short dash across the PCH to the beach - a good place for a snack and a rest before heading back to Newbury Park.

Sycamore Canyon Fire Road is perfect for novice riders. For better riders, there are a number of trails that join it that head to the ridgelines to the west and provide lots of climbing and descents.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

All trails that head east from Sycamore Canyon are closed to bikers because they lead into the ajoining wilderness area.

Technical Rating Sycamore Canyon Fireroad: T1.5 ; Wendy Connector: T2

 Length (miles)

8.9

Climb (feet)

570

Descent (feet)

1400

Trail Profile      Back to the Top 

Wood Canyon Fire Road

[3,7] Ranch Center Road and Wood Canyon Fire Road

Description Wood Canyon is one of the most fun and popular trails in Sycamore Canyon. Although technically a fire road, no vehicles drive on it and it is only plowed out every few years, so most of the time it is more like a double track. There are several stream crossings that are great whoop-de-doos later in the year when they are dry, and even when they have water in them, but they can make tacos of your wheels when they are muddy. Isn't that right, Bob? Wood Canyon is also a gateway to Overlook Fire Road via Guadalasca Trail, the easiest way up, and Hell Hill, the hardest way unless you walk.

Ranch Center Road, in front of Coyote Trail, with Wood Canyon in the background

Ranch Center Road is a paved road that starts at Sycamore Canyon Fire Road and climbs steadily (and quite steeply for novices). Although shunned by some because it is a road and they prefer the Sage Trail single track to get to Wood Canyon, others find it to be very peaceful. It has no vehicular traffic and it crosses some broad meadows. In the spring the meadows are especially beautiful when they are full of wildflowers. It doesn't take much concentration to climb this road so you have lots of time to look around and enjoy the surroundings. The same can't be said of Sage Trail.

 Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

 

 

Technical Rating Ranch Center Road: T0 ; Wood Canyon Fireroad: T1.5

 Length (miles)

4.7

Climb (feet)

590

Descent (feet)

770

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 

[4] Sin Nombre Single Track

Description The Sin Nombre trail is a really pretty, fun and easy single track that was newly opened to bikers in late 2002. It is one of three trails that leads to/from Ranch Center Road and the easiest to ride up because it has the least climbing (but comes into the lower part of Ranch Center Road).

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T2.5

 Length (miles)

0.9

Climb (feet)

150

Descent (feet)

70

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 

[5] Sage Single Track

Description The Sage Trail is a slightly rocky, slightly rutted single track that climbes steadily from the Ranch Center Fire Road (about 100 feet from the bottom where it joins Sycamore Canyon Fire Road) to the paved Ranch Center Road. Novices will find it's much easier to ride up Sin Nombre Trail or Ranch Center Fire Road if they want to Ranch Center Road so they can ride down Wood Canyon.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating  T3.5

 Length (miles)

0.75

Climb (feet)

370

Descent (feet)

25

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[6] Ranch Center Fire Road

Description The Ranch Center Fire Road starts at the Sycamore Canyon Fire Road and ends at Ranch Center Road right next to the water tower. It is fairly smooth and firm so it's easy to ride up for novices, but it is quite steep for the last 20% so some pushing might be required.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T1.5

 Length (miles)

1.0

Climb (feet)

400

Descent (feet)

Zero

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[8] Two Foxes Single Track

Description This is one of the trail that was opened to bikes near the end of 2002, and what a great trail it is! It runs parallel to Sycamore Canyon Fireroad, but on the west side of the stream, winding through the trees and over the stream a couple of time. The hills are pretty gentle with very short steeper sections to get out of the streambed. Two Foxes also give access to the south end of Coyote trail about half way through.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating  T2

 Length (miles)

1.0

Climb (feet)

190 (riding from the south end)

Descent (feet)

120

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[9] Coyote Single Track

Description This trail was mistakenly reported to be open to mountain bikers in late 2002, but it remains closed. That's a shame because from the top there are spectacular views into Wood Canyon and Sycamore Canyon. If you happen to be in the vicinity and have left your bike behind, it's well worth hiking.

The trail starts at the north end near the end of Ranch Center Road where it intersects with Ranch Center Fire Road, but on the other side of the water tower. The trail has two sections. The northern half is unimproved and a little overgrown. It has some very steep climbs when hiking south, and a couple of short, loose downhills sections. On the other hand, the southern half has been improved to modern multi-use standards and so is wider and less steep, except for one or two rocky and sharp switchbacks. The upper part of this section also has some fantastic views.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB  T2.5

 Length (miles)

2.25

Climb (feet)

410 (starting at the north end)

Descent (feet)

840

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 

[10] Guadalasca Single Track (AKA Guadalasco*)

Description There are three ways to climb up to the Overlook Fire Road from the canyon. Guadalasca is the easiest. As shown in the profile below, Guadalasca is less steep than Wood Canyon Vista Trail and less than half as steep as Hell Hill. Besides being the easiest way up, it is also the prettiest because there is more green vegetation and it is the coolest in the summertime as it is completely on a north-facing slope. If those aren't enough reasons, when you get to the top, North Overlook has a really fun descent that you will miss with the other routes.

Guadalasca Trail starts in Wood Canyon and ends at the top of Hell Hill. The upper 1.3 miles of this trail used to be part of the Overlook Fireroad, but in 2011, State Parks abandoned it as a road and started to allow it to narrow down to a singltrack trail. Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

*The sign at the top of this trail calls it "Guadalasco" but other signs and all the maps from the park agencies call it "Guadalasca."

Technical Rating T2.5

 Length (miles)

3.9

Climb (feet)

950

Descent (feet)

400

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[11] Overlook Fire Road

Description This rider (Steve) thinks this is the best trail in Sycamore Canyon for mountain biking, although some people poo-poo it because it is not a single track. In fact, that's part of its attraction. The road starts in the north at the top of Hell Hill and continues south to the Sycamore Canyon Fire Road about a half mile from the campground and less than a mile from the beach. A couple hundred yards or so past the top of Hell Hill is the Wood Canyon Vista Trail back down to the canyon. Continuing along, the road runs parallel to the ridge that separates Sycamore Canyon from La Jolla Valley. At some point the road crosses over the ridge so there are great views into the valley and of the ocean below, ahead and to the right. Further along there are views from the east side of the ridge down into Sycamore Canyon and the ocean is ahead and to the left. The descents here are really fun: long enough to pick up a little speed, slightly rocky for a bit of a challenge, and wide enough to easily go around any hikers or horses that are sharing the road (please slow down to a crawl when passing horses - you don't want to startle them so they throw their riders. Also, a number of hikers and trail runners like to listen to music players so don't count on them hearing you coming). Be careful at the ends of the downhills because some of them end in very sharp corners with a serious lack of horizontal ground beyond their edges. When you get to a section where the road is composed of solid white rock, you are approaching a left-hand switchback that signals the final descent. From here the road is very firm but often has some ruts crossing it that are good for high-speed bunny hops (don't have clipless pedals yet? Get them!) and there are a few more switchbacks before you get back to Sycamore Canyon Fire Road. From here it's less than a mile to the beach. On the way back, you can go up the Overlook trail to get some great exercise and also you won't see any baby strollers.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating Overlook: T1.5

 Length (miles)

4.4

Climb (feet)

550

Descent (feet)

1400

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[12] Hell Hill (Overlook Fire Road)

Struggling up Hell Hill

Description Of the three trails up to Overlook Fire Road, Hell Hill is by far the hardest. It is at least twice as steep as the other two ways. Not only is it steep, it is in the bottom of a canyon so when the sun is shining, it reflects from the canyon walls and so beats down doubly hard. Sometimes the road is well packed and fairly smooth, but after the winter rains it becomes severely rutted. When that happens, the Park Service will grade it so it becomes incredibly loose and then in takes months to pack down well. People can ride up it if they are in excellent shape, but don't try it without a rest unless you want to risk a heart attack and die. Even though it's steep, it's the fastest way for novices to walk to the top. It's also the fastest way down if you're in a hurry to get back.

Note: The Hell Hill fire road continues past Overlook Fire Road into La Jolla Valley. Called La Jolla Valley Fireroad, it is open to bikes, but only until the wooden bridge, 1.0 miles in. Don't ride any further!

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

If you think this trail is steep, see how it compares to other steep trails.

Technical Rating T1.5

 Length (miles)

0.75

Climb (feet)

620

Descent (feet)

Zero

Trail Profile      Back to the Top


This photo was taken from a spot where the trail loops back below it. 

[13] Wood Canyon Vista Trail (Backbone Trail)

Description This trail is much easier than Hell Hill for getting to Overlook Fire Road but a little more difficult than Guadalasca. It is slightly more steep and significantly more rocky. Nevertheless, for intermediate riders, it is equally enjoyable and provides some great views of Sycamore Canyon below. It's also great fun to go down it. Unlike the other two routes up, this trail starts from the Sycamore Canyon Fire Road, less than a quarter mile south of the junction with Wood Canyon Fire Road.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T3

 Length (miles)

1.8

Climb (feet)

740

Descent (feet)

Zero

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[14] Sycamore-Los Robles Connector Trail

Description This short single track starts at the Wendy trailhead (about 2/3 of the way to the creek crossing), runs parallel to Potrero Road and comes out across the street from the west end of Los Robles Trail. It's much more fun to ride on this single track than on Potrero Road.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating T2

 Length (miles)

0.6

Climb (feet)

140

Descent (feet)

10

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[15] Satwiwa Area

Description: The Satwiwa Native American Indian Cultural Center and Natural Area was established by the National Park Service and Friends of Satwiwa to display the heritage of the Chumash people who lived nearby. There is a Native American guest host or Park Ranger on the weekends to answer questions at the cultural center next to the demonstration village.

The area is mostly grassland on gently rolling hills, although the trails in the south-west corner are steep enough to have steps. There are several trails that have wide and firm tread and great views of Boney Mountain to the south. This is a great place for an easy stroll with the family. Horses and bikes are not allowed on these trails. The map below shows these trails in more detail.

The photo shows the Satwiwa area as seen from above on the Hidden Valley Overlook Trail. Sycamore Canyon Fireroad runs down the middle, left to right.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating HO T2

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[16] Fireline Trail

Description: This singletrack trail winds down from Overlook Fireroad to the main Sycamore Canyon Fireroad. It is quite similar to the Wood Canyon Vista Trail except it's a little narrower because it's not as well used.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T3

 Length (miles)

1.4

Climb (feet)

800

Descent (feet)

80

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 

[17] Scenic and Great Dune View Trails

Description: The description will be coming soon!

Technical Rating NB T3

 Length (miles)

0.75

Climb (feet)

430

Descent (feet)

0

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[18] Hidden Pond Trail

Description: The Hidden Pond Trail provides a less travelled alternative to the main roads for getting around the north-west section of Sycamore Canyon. It starts near the bridge at the bottom of the blacktop hill on Sycamore Canyon Fireroad. The first few hundred yards is a little rocky as in sections where it runs through the streambed. However, this section can be avoided by another short access trail about 300 yards further down the road. Beyond the streambed the trail gets a little steeper and some sections have a trench in the middle from horse wear. The trail has two connectors to Ranch Center Road (one not shown on the map comes out across from the Kubler Connector), climbs a steep hill with some tight switchbacks, then eventually comes out on Ranch Center Road across from Coyote Trail at the water tank.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T3

 Length (miles)

3.3

Climb (feet)

1000 (going east to west)

Descent (feet)

800

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 

[19] Closed trails

Description: As of early June 2010, Art's Trail and it connectors have been closed. Barriers have been errected to keep people off. See this CORBA blog entry for more information.

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[20] Hidden Valley Overlook Trail

Description: This trail climbs to provide some great views of Satwiwa, Rancho Potrero, Hidden Valley and the north flank of Boney Mountain. It starts with a moderately steep climb from Danielson Road. The trail here is rocky and rutted but firm. The trail levels out and becomes smoother as it goes through a meadow, then it splits. The north fork is very steep and loose at first, then continues as a ridgeline fireroad that has views on both sides into Hidden Valley. There are a few forks towards the east end that wind down into private property.

The south fork (singletrack) at the east end of the meadow, shown in brown on the elevation profile below, drops steeply to a broken gate, beyond which there is access to a trail that skirts south and above Hidden Valley. The trail on this map ends at the broken gate.

The photo shows the view west down the trail to see Rancho Potrero and homes in Dos Vientos.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T2.5

 Length (miles)

1.9 (to north-east end)

Climb (feet)

840

Descent (feet)

260

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 

[21] Danielson Road (AKA Old Boney Trail)

Description: The Danielson Road provides access to the old cabin and Danielson memorial from the main Sycamore Canyon Fireroad. It starts just above the long paved hill on Sycamore Canyon Fireroad and skirts the south edge of Satwiwa. The trail along the initial moderate climb then drop into Upper Sycamore Canyon is firm but somewhat rutted. In the canyon, it crosses the stream and them switches back to head west. At this point there is a short spur that leads to a pretty and popular waterfall. Danielson Road climbs up the north flank of Boney Mountain with changing views into Sycamore Canyon and of Boney Mountain. On the way to the old cabin site, the Old Boney Trail forks off on the right side.

Danielson Road is quite popular because it provides easy hiking access to the waterfall, the old cabin and memorial site, and Old Boney Trail. Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T2

 Length (miles)

2.3 (Sycamore Canyon Road to the old cabin site)

Climb (feet)

800

Descent (feet)

200

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 

[22] Upper Sycamore Trail

Description: The Upper Sycamore Trail leads from the base of the paved hill on Sycamore Canyon Fireroad (just over the bridge at the port-a-pottys) to Danielson Road. It is pretty singletrack with several easy stream crossings. It is a much prettier way to get into or out of Sycamore Canyon, compared to the paved Sycamore Canyon Fireroad. Keep in mind, though, that it is a somewhat longer journey.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T2.5

 Length (miles)

1.3

Climb (feet)

450

Descent (feet)

50

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 

[23] Old Boney Trail


The Old Boney Trail winds along the western flank of Boney Mountain

Description: The Old Boney Trail must be the crown jewel of the Boney Mountain Wilderness Area. The trail climbs, drops and winds around, providing tremendous and constantly changing views of Boney Mountain, Sycamore Canyon, La Jolla Canyon, the Channel Islands and more. There are several trails that connect it to Sycamore Canyon, Serrano Valley and Circle X Ranch so there are many options for hiking. The segment between the Blue Canyon and Charmberlain Trails is part of the Backbone Trail.

Much of the trail goes through tall chaparral that provides some shade and adds to the feeling of isolation (although you can expect to pass several people whenever you hike here). The trail width depends on how recently volunteers have been through to work on the trail, but it is always easily passible. The tread is generally quite smooth and firm, but there are some sections that are more rocky and rutted.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

On the ridge about a half mile south of Fossil Trail, there is an indistinct trail that leads up to a number of boulders that have fallen from the cliffs above. This is a good place to take in the view while having a snack or lunch.

Technical Rating NB T2.5 to T3.5

 Length (miles)

6.7

Climb (feet)

1600 (north to south)

Descent (feet)

2800

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[24] Fossil Trail

Description: This well-travelled trail leads from the Upper Sycamore Trail, starting only about 400 feet from Sycamore Canyon Fireroad. It climbs, and in places it is very steep, up to the Old Boney Trail. It gets its name from the fossils in the rocks in the middle of the trail about 2/3 of the way to the top. The elevation profile is shown above with that of the Old Boney Trail.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T3

 Length (miles)

0.9

Climb (feet)

850

Descent (feet)

70

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[25] Blue Canyon Trail

Description: The Blue Canyon Trail leads from the east end of the Danielson Multiuse Area up to the Old Boney Trail. It is part of the Backbone Trail. It provides the gentlest climb up to the Old Boney Trail and is very pretty. It starts with a very gentle and shaded climb from Sycamore Canyon and becomes a little steeper and less shaded as it approaches Old Boney Trail.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T2

 Length (miles)

0.83

Climb (feet)

270

Descent (feet)

90

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

[26] Chamberlain Trail

Description: The Chamberlain Trail, part of the Backbone Trail, connects the Circle X Ranch area to the Boney Mountain Wilderness. It starts at the convergence of the Mishe Mokwa and Sandstone Peak trails in Circle X Ranch and runs 3.6 miles, mostly downhill, to the Old Boney Trail. The top section of the trail runs through a broad mesa covered in chaparral and grass, and then drops with moderate steepness along a ridgeline to the Old Boney Trail. For the most part, the tread is very good although there are rocks and ruts in some of the steeper spots. The views are great into Serrano Valley, Sycamore Canyon, La Jolla Valley and beyond when facing west, and of the cliffs of Boney Mountain when facing east and north. Often the view is obscured by tall chaparral that also protects the trail along the ridgeline from some steep drops on both sides.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

The photo at right shows the Chamberlain Trail split rock, with a view of Serrano and La Jolla Valleys behind. On the rock is mounted a plaque dedicated to Henry Chamberlain. The split rock can be seen from many places along the trails below, where you'll need binoculars to spot it.

Technical Rating NB T2.5

 Length (miles)

3.6

Climb (feet)

1700 (west to east)

Descent (feet)

200

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[27] Tripeaks Trail to Boney Summit

Description: Tripeaks is a gigantic pile of huge rocks. There are a number of caves and crevasses between them, many large enough to enter and explore. There are also spectacular views into the valleys and canyons to the west. The trail leads from the Chamberlain Trail, goes up and around Tripeaks, then down and up to Boney Summit (AKA Peak 2701) and provides the easiest way to get to Boney Summit. There are a number of geocaches in the area.

There are two forks of the Tripeaks Trail that meet the Chamberlain Trail. Both forks are extremely rocky but not overly steep. The eastern fork provides the shortest path from Circle X Ranch, but some may be overgrown, depending on how recently volunteers have cut back the growth, a concern in tick season. The southern fork is much wider. The trail climbs up to almost the summit of Tripeaks about 400 yards past the junction of the southern and eastern forks. There are places where it may be a little hard to follow on the bare rock, but it travels around the peak counterclockwise, mostly against a rock face, often steep down and a little loose. The trail eventually heads down through the chaparral, emerging at a broad saddle point next to a huge boulder. The trail climbs moderately (the elevation profile below may understate the amount of climbing in this section) to meet the Western Ridge Trail shortly before the Boney Summit.

Tripeaks is an area well worth visiting to see the caves and other rock formations. The photo at right shows a narrow crack, several hundred feet long, that is just wide enough to pass through without much difficulty.

To help you to find your way, you can download a GPS track of the Tripeaks trails.

Technical Rating HO T4

 Length (miles)

1.0 (to the Western Ridge Trail from Chamberlain via the west fork)
0.3 (east fork)

Climb (feet)

200 (to Tripeaks from Chamberlain via the west fork)
280 (to the Western Ridge Trail from Chamberlain via the west fork)

Descent (feet)

0 (to Tripeaks from Chamberlain via the west fork)
150 (to the Western Ridge Trail from Chamberlain via the west fork)

Trail Profile      Back to the Top

 

 

[28] Western Ridge Trail to Boney Summit

Description: The Western Ridge Trail is the most spectacular way to get to the Boney Summit, but it provides some hiking challenges. The trail starts about 1/2 mile from the north end of Old Boney Trail, near the highest point where the trail turns right, the Western Ridge Trail starts off to the left side and heads up the ridge. The trailhead is somewhat hidden, next to a more prominent spur that heads down to the left, but ends in a few dozen feet. But once on the trail the way is quite obvious. Even though it is well-travelled, it is quite narrow through the chaparral so best to be avoided during tick season. There are also many very steep sections, some that require a small amount of rock climbing. There is one narrow section about 2/3 of the way up with a rock cliff on the right that has some poison oak in the chaparral on the left, but it can be avoided if you keep a good watch for it.

This is a tough hike but the incredible views and the satisfaction of overcoming the challenges make it all worthwhile! Nevertheless, it is better to take an easier route to the summit the first time. The Upper Cabin Trail is a little easier but almost as steep and looser in places. The easiest route to the summit is from Circle X Ranch, via the Tripeaks Trail.

Once on the trail, it is quite easy to follow for most of it. However, there are some places where it's easy to go astray, so you can download a GPS track to help you along.

Usually we take this trail up to the Boney Summit and then go back down on the Upper Cabin Trail.

Technical Rating HO T5

 Length (miles)

1.1

Climb (feet)

1200

Descent (feet)

150

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[29] Upper Cabin Trail to Boney Summit

Description: The Upper Cabin Trail starts at the old cabin site and climbs to Boney Summit. It is a challenging trail, steep and very rocky and rutted in many sections, and sometimes loose as well. But the view from Boney Summit and points along the way make the hike worthwhile. The trail is very well travelled and so overgrowth generally isn't a problem. There is a photo gallery dedicated in part to this trail

To help you to find your way, you can download a GPS track of the Upper Cabin Trail.

Technical Rating HO T5

 Length (miles)

1.8

Climb (feet)

1580

Descent (feet)

140

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[30] Serrano Valley Trail

Description: The Serrano Valley Trail starts at the end of the Serrano Canyon Trail, in the south-west corner of Serranon Valley. It winds north through the grassland of the valley before heading into the chaparral and joining the Old Boney Trail. About 350 yards from the south end of the trail, in the grass meadow, is an old pump house just off the trail.

The trail is well travelled and the tread is fairly smooth, but note that the paths through the grass may move a little bit with each year of regrowth. From almost everywhere in the Serrano Valley there are great views of the southern flank of Boney Mountain and the huge rocks that have fallen from the top.

The photo shows the north section of the Serrano Valley Trail as seen from above on the Chamberlain Trail.

Download the GPS track of this trail to help find your way through the grassland.

Technical Rating NB T2

 Length (miles)

1.7

Climb (feet)

570

Descent (feet)

160

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[31] Serrano Valley Loop Trail

Description: This trail provides an alternate route between Serrano Road and Serrano Valley Trail. It passes along the northern section of the valley, through grassland and chapparal. This trail used to be quite overgrown, but the SMMTC trail crew cleared it out in the spring of 2009 (Thanks!!). There is an old rusty truck frame where the trail meets the Serrano Valley Trail.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T2

 Length (miles)

1.2

Climb (feet)

250

Descent (feet)

380

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[32] Serrano Road

Description: Serrano Road starts at Cotharin Rd and you can drive about half-way down to the valley. Park at the gate and hike down on the pavement, enjoying the views of the valley and the southern flank of Serrano Valley. Except for a few places where the road has succumbed to dirt, it is mostly paved until the old house. After that, it's just a track that runs through the grass. It gets a lot of travel, even so, the paths through the grass could move a little each year.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating NB T0.5 , T2

 Length (miles)

2.1

Climb (feet)

700

Descent (feet)

160

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[33] Serrano Canyon Trail

Description: This trail starts in Sycamore Canyon just over a mile from the campground. It passes through the canyon and ends in Serrano Valley at the south end of the Serrano Valley Trail.

Most of the trail is quite close to the stream and there are a number of crossings, none of them very difficult. Along the stream the trail is shaded with high chaparral. Much of this trail has poison oak next to the trail and encroaching on it in places, so try to avoid touching any of the plants! In some places the trail climbs up above the stream where it's more open and you have a better view, and a respite from watching for poison oak. This trail is closed to horses.

Download the GPS track to help you find your way.

Technical Rating HO T2.5

 Length (miles)

1.75

Climb (feet)

730

Descent (feet)

230

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  This page last updated on May 1, 2012

 

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