Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Hiking Angel's Point
Tucked into the Eastern corner of Ventura County is the Conejo Open Space which has many trails that spider around the 101 for you to tromp around on. I decided to get jiggy (is that still in?) with the Los Robles trail that leads to Angel's Vista (why so many trails are named "angel" around here are beyond me. Wait...I live in Los ANGELES, hmmmm). Here is the story of my tromp.
Just off the 101, there are actually 2 trailheads to get onto the Los Robles. You can do it as a kinda loop if you walk on the street for another .30 of a mile which is nice. If I had a choice, I would go to the far West trailhead and just hike up and back from there.
One of the reasons to chose the West trailhead is a nice amble through Oak trees
which offers a nice, low impact affair and is a good warm-up for the trail ahead. Eventually you get to numerous junctions with other trails
Most of the trail winds its way through a valley
as it starts to go up to some ridgelines. What was interesting was the vegetation didn't allow for many views until you got higher up.
What this also means is there are many blind turns
and narrow pathways
which become dangerous when there are mountain bikers on the trails. And there sure were a lot of em. I previously had a run in with bikers and again my head was a on swivel as I hiked up through the ridgelines. For me, it is not a relaxing hike when you are constantly on edge about bikers winging around blind corners at you. Unlike my previous hike in the OC, here the bikers were really nice, slowed down when they saw you on a trail and then they would tell you if there were bikers behind them so you could be more or less on alert.
Once you get into the high country, the threat of being run over is less and the views become pretty spectacular. You have snow drenched mountains to the North and the great Santa Monica Mountains to the South.
Like a lot of public land in Southern California, the Conejo Open Space is a patchwork of public and private land. Much like the Backbone Trail (which is still having issues acquiring the land it needs) the Los Robles trail crosses private property. This made readily apparent by the signs all over the trail as you get closer to a private road:
and then as you make your way along the trail
you finally get to a very imposing stop sign.
The sign/gate was clearly put up to stop bikers not hikers but it was a stark reminder of private ownership in the mountains.
You cross the road and it is basically another .70 miles to the Vista. What is the vista like you might ask? Let's consult the ADKinLAVision
After you get to the summit with a nice little picnic table, and some great views. This hike proved the maxim that the best time to hike is after the rain and on this day, the views were fantastic.
I actually saw it snowing in the mountains to the North which was pretty cool.
The way down was easy breezy and I do mean breezy as the hike temperature this day was around 47. Overall, polite biker's aside this was a nice hike with some pretty cool views. I suggest hiking during the week to minimize the bike element but keep to the Winter/Spring time period, the cold weather will keep you hiking fast.
The roundtrip will be about 7.5 and if you want a map and extensive breakdown, check this out: http://www.cosf.org/website/html/los-robles-map.html