22 April 2016

Simi Peak

Lang Ranch Open Space

Oakbrook Regional Park

Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area

Woodridge Open Space

The original plan was a shuttle hike along the Albertson Fireroad, but the instigator of that plan decided against hiking today after all. By bending the route around, I could get the peak, so I went for much of that original plan anyway, just removing the need for a shuttle. There is plenty of parking at either trailhead and a packed dirt path connects the two. I choose to start at Oakbrook View Trail, which comes first along the road. The sign is offset from the road, but it is still easy to find at the start of some park areas.

Oakbrook View Trail
An open space across from a park where a line in the grass leads to an information sign. I will start here.

The trail starts climbing through oaks up a little hill. Houses built on a few different plans stand in neat curves below, but not for very far. Grassy hills surround the neighborhood. A light mist lingers in the gentle valleys.

houses below
Little boxes in the valley. Good thing there is so much yard around them because they do not seem to have any yards of their own.

The top of the initial climb comes quickly. The oaks stop as abruptly as they started at the bottom leaving sages. The trail connects with a bit of abandoned roadway. A thin track follows it down the other direction, but the obvious route to continue the climb is wide. This in turn connects with one of Edison's roads, which people follow in both directions. I follow it east and still upward to a split, then take the split to the top of a little peak checking out the mansions to the south.

Albertson Fireroad
The route back down the next ridge north and then in the canyon.

Boney Mountain
Boney Mountain rises behind Thousand Oaks and some nearby mansions.

Simi Peak
Road and trail give two choices for climbing Simi Peak to the east.

The drop back down off the little high point is not too bad. It puts me right at the junction to choose to climb the peak either via utility and fire roads or by a ridge line track that hits a few other peaks along the way. Looking at the map beforehand, I noticed a red square that usually indicates some sort of monument at the top of one of those closer peaks. I pick that way. Besides, it looks a lot more interesting. The climb gets going immediately, but is not bad, particularly for a ridge line route.

sandstone boulders
Outcrops of sandstone provide a shelter for sticky monkey flowers along a spur trail.

carved sandstone
Weathered sandstone forms into interesting shapes.

woolly blue curl
Woolly blue curls are getting up to their thing.

The climb upward is a little more steadily up than expected from looking at it from afar. It gets steep in a couple spots, but not for long and mostly goes at reasonable slopes.

sandstone outcrop
Looking down on a bit of sandstone and the dying grasses behind. It is probably too late for many flowers.

brown butterfly
The butterflies are out along with a few other insects. These flowers always look not quite open or past their prime.

Trail seems to go both ways around one rocky outcrop. I pick the shady side to the left, which gets rocky and hard to follow. I must have missed a well used trail along the way because one joins from the left shortly after the outcrop. A few meadow spots also make the trail a little harder to follow, especially if just recently distracted by an arch.

tiny flower
Minute purple flowers in the grass.

two roads below
The road route winds far below.

mysterious gate
Where there should be some sort of monument, there is only an old fence line. Unless the cement filled post is it, it does not seem to be here.

Simi Peak
The peak is just ahead.

sandstone arch
An arch of sandstone stands at one edge.

The trail wraps around the mountain to the north side and climbs slowly, seeming to miss it. Then it runs into a second trail climbing upward to the west, again missing the peak along the back side. It comes back around and there is the peak. It once held some structure, but now is empty. Here it is easy to find the monument that is supposed to be present. The cement around it seems to be marked with purposeful lines, although the purpose is not plain.

top of Simi Peak
Arriving at the top of Simi Peak.

narrow park in the city below
There seems to be a narrow park beneath the power lines among the houses below.

fire road and Simi Valley
Albertson Fireroad is just to the north with Simi Valley and the Los Padres as a backdrop.

Bard Lake
Bard Lake, the local reservoir.

There is a thin trail down off the mountain for a more direct route. This trail splits and being uncertain which side is my route, I choose the one on the left. My plan was to circle around China Flat a little and this choice makes that circling a little less efficient. It does take me very near to another monument that is not the map but I had found reference to. Although the grass is dying, there are still a few mariposa lilies to be found in it.

China Flat
China Flat is just ahead.

oaks in the grass
Out on the flat among grass and oaks. The shade of the oaks shelters thistles and others.

boundary fence and marker
Finding a monument just as described. This one marks the boundary of the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

The walk around the flat is nice. It is not entirely flat, of course, but much easier going than the ridge. There is a little history left behind here and there although Juan Bautista de Anza did not actually come through here. Some of the intersections are signed. The national historic trail that roughly follows the expedition route of Juan Bautista is along here and contributes some signs as well.

grass and yerba santa
Grass and yerba santa and sages populate the low hills between sandstone outcrops.

farm remains
The remains of a farm. The engine has oil right up to the full line on the dip stick.

Simi Peak
Looking back at Simi Peak from China Flat.

Arriving at the fire road (or motorway according to the signs), there is one more benchmark that I had heard about that I want to check. It is on a high point near the flat and near the road, so I expect it is off to the east. The road is as easy to travel as the flat. Even when going uphill, it does not do so very quickly. Just a few feet off the road as it misses a peak, there is indeed a benchmark. That gives rumored benchmarks a much better score over those found on the map.

the road goes up
Albertson Fireroad. Looks like it goes up in that direction.

visible city
The city is visible to the north, but so far off the only man made sounds are from planes.

China Flat
China Flat from beside the China benchmark.

more open space
There's a lot more open space off to the north and east. The original plan was to come through this area.

Having got to the high point, I turn and follow the road down again. Easy walking characterizes this direction along the road as well. There are few choices for other routes along the way. There is a well blocked off road halfway along and then there are a couple routes to travel higher up once near the homes. A couple benches provide rest spots. It is a very straightforward downward walk.

black bugs with red spots
Some interesting beetles along the way. Some had particularly large red spots.

bench and bells
Bench and bike bell box (empty) along the road. Probably lots of lights down there at night.

sandstone outcrop
Seeing the rock outcrops from both sides now.

colorful sky
Dally too long and the sun will set.

There is a bit more information about the trails and dangers of hiking at this trailhead as I pass out of the open space and into the neighborhood. This one gets a lot more use than the other. It really is dirt all the way back to the other except for a single road crossing next to the Chumash Indian Museum.

©2016 Valerie Norton
Posted 28 Apr 2016

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