Las Virgenes Trail

Las Virgenes Trail, not to be confused with Las Virgenes View Trail which is on the other (ocean) side of the 101 Freeway.  The last two hikes I’ve taken required some extra planning.  This week I wanted something easy to follow and, with the help of a good map, found it here in Calabasas.  Don’t get me wrong, although simple this hike was physically demanding due to the 12 1/2 mile length.  Although not overly scenic, I enjoyed this trail.  I think it’s around the ten mile mark when I can finally rest my mind, turn off the dialogue, the last song I heard, etc. and just be present on the trail.

1     2     3   Very easy to find, the trailhead is at the end of Las Virgenes Road, just a mile and a half from the 101.  The main trail starts at the very end of the road.  There is another trail which connects to the main trail, shown here in the left of the photo 1.  There is a lot of parking spots but also competition for them as this road is lined with apartment buildings.  Las Virgenes Trail is really a fire road, sometimes wide enough to let two cars squeeze past each other.  Of course it’s closed to public traffic.

4   I would repeat a short section from a previous hike, Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve.  I remember this lone oak standing next to a fenced in area.

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I climbed up to the tree to get a look around.  The trail takes a sharp turn to the right here. The water tower that stands atop the hill in the middle of the picture is a handy landmark.  Just remember to take a right before climbing the hill to the lone oak.  Photo 2 – I quickly pass the water tank.

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Photo 1 – Someday all our homes will be equipped with this kind of advanced technology.  Photo 2 – A palm tree out in the middle of a thousand oaks – what are you doing here?  Photo 3 – After a little over a mile I passed the junction where I turned on the previously mentioned hike, so the rest of the day was new territory for me.

11     12     13   I came to another junction.  Las Virgenes Trail continues to the right.  I would head that way first.  On the left is the trail I would return on, Sheep Corral Trail East.  This is the beginning of a loop (really shapped more like a rectangle) that would take me over into Cheeseboro Canyon.  Up to this point the trail had been almost completely flat.  Now I began to climb.

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17   The views improved as I rose.

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I came to the crest of a hill and was treated to this view which I found interesting with those cranes (?) standing atop the rocky hills.  Imagine that for your backyard view.

18     20   I exited Las Virgenes Trail and joined upper Las Virgenes – Cheeseboro Ridge Connector Trail.  The junction is marked by a couple of piles of rocks.  Las Virgenes Trail runs another mile or so, according to my map, but I was anxious to get off of the fire road and on to a real trail.

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Photo 1 – Cheeseboro Ridge stood in front of me, and the route I followed would take me to the top eventually.

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27   I was pleasantly surprised to find some cool sandstone rocks along the trail, some with small caves fit for someone the size of a gnome.

28   The ridge slowly got closer.  Soon the trail ended and I picked up Cheeseboro Ridge Trail, another fire road.  I went left at the road and began to climb again, one final push to the top.

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30     That must be Mount Baldy in the distance, covered with snow.

31     32     33   At last, I reached the top of the ridge and the power lines I had seen from a distance.

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More bewitching sandstone formations.

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Photo 1 – After a short while at the top, it was time to descend once again.  You can see Cheeseboro Ridge Trail running ahead and up into the hills, but I wouldn’t be on it much longer. My turn off was located in the middle of the horseshoe-shaped section of trail at the bottom of the canyon.  Photo 2 – On zoom, in the foreground is the Baleen Wall that stands above Cheeseboro Canyon.  In the back is Saddle Peak and Topanga Lookout.

44     45   Photo 2 – There’s my next trail down below, Sheep Corral Trail East.  Remember I passed the other end of it just as I started the loop.

46   I came to a four way junction.  I had been to this exact spot once before, coming from the opposite direction, back in 2012.  I sat on some rocks next to the trail and ate lunch, just as I did back then.

47     48     49   I got off the road and on to the trail.  After 1.7 miles I completed the loop and rejoined Las Virgenes Trail.

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52   On the way back I took a side trail that runs parallel to the main trail, for just a short way.  The trees in this area and hauntingly strange.

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I ended my day after sunset again. I felt great and finished strong.

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