North Ranch Open Space / Oakbrook Regional Park

Fun hike on a windy day in Thousand Oaks – a lot of hills, big views, weird looking rocks and a trail running through a park on land once inhabited by Chumash Indians.  I felt strong after taking last week off.

1               2

I started off on Sandstone Hills Trail off of Pathfinder Ave.  From the bottom I noticed a rock arch at the top of the ridgeline, just to the right of the power lines.

3     4     5   I stopped at three vista points during the day. The first one breaks sharply off of the fire road to the right at 1.4 miles. Photo 3 is taken looking back at the junction.

6               7

This spur road dead ends in about a half mile.

8               9

Photo 1 – Vista Point #1 is at the foot of that electrical tower straight ahead.  Photo 2 – Castro Crest from Vista Point #1

10   I looked up the hillside from Vista Point #1 and found I was standing right under that stone arch i saw from below.

11

I didn’t see a trail up to it but I’m sure people have scrambled to the top before.

12       13      13a       14

15       16      18   Photo 1 – From Vista Point #1, the trails ahead can be viewed.  My route ran down the fire road below those rocks on the right.  I traveled in the direction of that clearly visible trail that runs steeply up the hill to the left and then down into the valley below.  Photo 3 – I passed an abandoned concrete trough sitting in a field.  Photo 4 – Things got just a bit confusing for a moment.  First, the big fire road I was on took a sharp turn to the left.  There is a smaller road that continues straight toward that steep hill.  That’s the one you want. Very soon after I came to a three way fork in the road.  To the left, the trail steeply climbs to the top of the hill.  Go straight and you will take an easier trail that soon intersects with the trail that runs to the top of the hill.  The third option, a trail that breaks to the right and backtracks up the hill leads to Vista Point #2.  I went to the right first.

17

19               20

21   Views from Vista Point #2.  In photo 3 the two parallel trails can be seen more clearly.  Notice the dark trail that runs through the brush to the right and below the well defined trail on the left.  While both trails climb the hill, the one on the right is shorter, shadier and less steep.

22     25   Photo 1 – I just came up the trail on the left.  The Vista Point on top of the steeper option is only about 30 yards from the junction where the two trails meet.  I saved it for the trip back.  Photo 2 – Cotton Candy Contrails – I played around with the color of this photo to better show the contrails being left in the sky by a jet over at Point Mugu.  At the moment I took this he was climbing up on the right side.  The design reminded me of the Chrysler emblem.

23               24

Photo 1 – Heading down hill now, I spotted a few familiar landmarks.  That’s Tarantula Hill in the foreground to the left, and Simi Peak standing tall in the background.  Photo 2 – I believe that’s Conejo Mountain on the left, and closer on the right is Mount Clef Ridge.

26     27   I noticed a large grassy area below.  This is next to my next destination, Oakbrook Regional Park.  The trail ended at Lang Ranch Parkway.  I walked up the street, past the grassy area on the left.  I stopped here on the way back and ate lunch at one of the picnic tables.

28               29

Oakbrook Regional Park is themed toward it’s Chumash heritage.  There is a museum and various decorative touches such as this metal entrance gate.

30       31      33       34

32   The trail in Oakbrook Park is shaded by numerous oaks.

35               36

37               38

39   The replica Chumash village in Oakbrook Park.  This is the most complete Indian village I have come across, with several of the huts and other structures.

40     41     42   The trail continues for about a half mile and gets more primitive.  There are several rocks with mortar holes ground into them.

43               47

Photo 1 – Cave above the trail  Photo 2 – Several of the rocks by the trail have been given names.  This is clam rock.

45               46

Two views of Elephant Rock (These obviously weren’t named by the Chumash).

44

I believe this is Hidden Face Rock.

48     49     50   Photo 1 – When I passed this little arena on the way up there was a group of school kids on a field trip playing an Indian game.  It kind of looked like a cross between bowling and horseshoes, where a small stick is hurled at a row of wooden pins.  Photo 3 – Heading back now, you can see the trail climb ahead to Vista Point #3.

51               52

Views from Vista Point #3

53

I enjoyed this interesting day.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *