Tarantula Hill

Tarantula Hill is a one mile round trip with a trail that spirals up a visibly prominent hill in the heart of Thousand Oaks.  After two long hikes I wanted to back off this week but not quite this much.  I planned to hike a segment of Los Robles Trail and a couple other trails but accidentally locked my keys and most of my gear in the trunk of my car.  Long story short, I lost about 5 1/2 hours tracking down a phone and waiting for help to arrive.  I decided to do a short hike, about 4 miles on the two segments of Potrero Ridge Trail.  I had done some research on this hike and picked up a map at the trailhead which is just up the road from my original trailhead.  I soon ran into a dead end and made my way back to my car after only two miles or so.  I wanted to complete some trail that day.  I saw Tarantula Hill from Potrero Ridge, searched around for it and finally found it.  A unique trail and a fitting end to a strange day.

1   Potrero Ridge Trail off of Wendy Drive around 12 noon.

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Photo 1 – In addition to the mountain view, notice the water tower on the left.  Photo 2 – Hidden in the afternoon haze is the spiraling trail on Tarantula Hill as seen from Potrero Ridge.

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Santa Monica Mountains – Point Mugu area panning from left to right.


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Photo 1 – The trail started as a fire road.  I took a detour to the left and figured I would meet up with the trail somewhere down the line. These antennae, shot with a fisheye effect, are at the top.  Photo 2 – The trail switchbacking up the hill in front of me is the one I want, but how do I get down there.  Photo 3 – I circled back and returned to the road.  I passed the water tank I pointed out earlier.  Photo 4 – I came to a junction – one trail went to what I would guess is a of treatment plant, and one follows this hairpin turn back in the direction of where I started.  I took the turn but wasn’t seeing it on the map.  I turned back.

11     13     12   I headed toward the treatment plant as I thought the trail might pick-up somewhere ahead.  There is a trail going around the edge of the fence but it dead ends on the other side.  I returned to my car and began my search for Tarantula Hill.

14     15     17   Tarantula Hill trailhead


Looking up from the foot of Tarantula Hill.

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20   Cactus flowers and a cool spider (but I don’t think it’s a tarantula)

21     25     24   The trail is an old, one-lane paved road – just a little steep, not bad at all.  Photo 3 – New Granada Middle School?

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Mount Clef Ridge comes into view.

26     27     28   There is a water treatment plant and a bench at the top of Tarantula Hill.

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Photo 1 – Straight on view from the bench  Photo 2 – Pig earring left on the bench


Driving home, I pulled off of Kanan Dume Road at the overlook just before Newton Canyon.  I often see people stopped here as I drive past.  Here is the view.

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