Conejo Mountain / Dos Vientos Open Space

This hike was a pleasant surprise.  I was looking for a trail that is close and short, meaning I could get a very early start and get off the trail before the day’s 96 degree heat could get me.  I did start at sunrise but went a lot farther than I had originally planned – 11 1/2 miles.  While it was hot, my saving grace came from a cool wind pulled in from the west.

1     2     3   I started out at Dos Vientos Community Park – a typical community park with picnic areas, ballparks, etc.  I followed the fenced-in trail next to Borchard until I came to the sidewalk at Via Ricardo.  I took a right and walked a few yards to pick up the trail again.  It’s be marked as Park View Trail.  In photo 2, that’s Conejo Mountain with all the power lines draped all over it.  This area is right next to Point Mugu State Park and was also badly damaged by the recent fire.

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After winding along Park View trail for awhile I came to a junction with a wide dirt road.  I followed it up into the hills.  This part of the hike is pretty intuitive and easy to follow.  Photo 2 – Passing under some power lines. Those first poles across the way would be visited later on in the day.

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Even from a distance one can clearly see the long, moderately steep trail cut into the side of the mountain.

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Awesome looking rock outcroppings above the trail.

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After a good long hike up I came to a junction.  One trail led up to the top, the other down into the canyon and looked to stretch out for many miles.  I headed up.  Photo 2 – I noticed something on top of the highest peak – a flag?  Photo 3 – The trail climbed, made a sharp turn to the right and traveled beneath that mass of rocks in the middle/top of this photo.  Photo 4 – Traveling under the mass of rocks.

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Skull of the Beast

14   The high road dead ends at a power line tower.  Looking below I saw the low road and power lines go on and on.

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17   I thought that the road might circle around and reach the peak where the flag is standing, but no.  I gave a good look at this hill but I couldn’t find a safe way up to the ridge.  I thought this might be as high as I could safely travel.  I sat down on the pile of rocks shown in photo 2 and enjoyed the view.

18   The trail running down Conejo Mountain

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I noticed a sketchy looking footpath to the top when I was coming up the trail.  This is the kind of trail I usually dismiss as too unsafe – steep with loose dirt and rocks under foot.  I was assured by another hiker that this indeed was the trail to the flag.  I found the path to really not be that bad, although I did nearly fall on my butt four different times on the way down.

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The views from Conejo Mountain are super and I was lucky it was such a clear day.  Here you see Boney Mountain over in Point Mugu State Park as well as the grassy Dos Vientos Community Park where I began my hike.

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Photo 1 – In silhouette, Castro Crest to the right and Saddle Peak to the left.  Photo 2 – Toward the west, the Oxnard Plains, Point Mugu Naval Base, Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands.

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Close-ups of Anacapa and Santa Cruz Islands, as well as the power plant I passed on my Port Hueneme hike.

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26   Mountains in Ojai and the Santa Susana Mountains, with a close-up of Oat Mountain in photo 3.

VIDEO: A 360 degree video view from the peak on Conejo Mountain.

31     30     32   I returned back down to Via Ricardo.  I went up the street just a ways and found a trailhead to Dos Vientos Open Space.  This is about a five mile loop that ends at Dos Vientos Community Park, where I was parked.  There are high and low trails.  I took the high trail as I read it is closer to the first of several overlooks along the way.

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The first overlook is next to the power lines I saw from way across the canyon.

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Of course the power lines continue to the south as well.  Photo 3 shows Conejo Mountain Cemetery.

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A highlight of Dos Vientos is Twin Ponds.  Here is one of the small ponds.  I imagine this will be much more beautiful when the plants grow back.

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The second pond is not as pretty as the first but the ducks didn’t seem to mind.  Between the two ponds is a small bridge – a victim of the fire.  No big deal, just walk around.

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A rusted ladder laying out in the middle of nowhere.

44     45     46   Photo 2 – I kept following the loop and came to a street.  There was a trail directly across marked Sierra Vista Trail.  This is NOT the trail you want if you plan on heading back to Dos Vientos Community Park.  Instead look to the left about 20 feet and take this unsigned trail.  Photo 3 – I spaced out under the blazing sun and missed my turn.  I was just about to turn a corner when I looked back and saw it, thankfully.47

One last look at Conejo Mountain.  A fine day.

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