Hill Canyon and the Western Plateau Loop

We began hiking and exploring this area in 2008 when we were the original “Weekday Hikers.”. At that time there was a system of old use trails known mainly only to a few local equestrians. It soon became a favorite and regular hiking location for us. From 2008 to 2011 Hill Canyon was the location of our unofficial club house (an old well house torn down to build a bridge)

A few years later, open space agencies and other trail-builders literally followed in our footsteps and began converting our use trails to official “new” trails, erected trail signs and built bridges. 

Last year we checked out a new trail up Elliot Mountain that was built May 2015. Along the way I noticed another new trail going up to the top of a ridge — we will check that one out on this trip.

Before the official trail was created this is how we did it:

Here is the old use trail going up Elliot Mountain back in the day:

The new bridge

 See more

Before the bridge was built this is how we crossed the creek. Here we are on a hot September day in 2009:

Our well-deserved snack berak will be at this antenna

Antenna trivia:  http://radio-locator.com/info/KCLU-FM 

The old HWD Clubhouse, aka The Love Shack

Post hike lunch

The Natural Cafe – Directions from trailhead: http://tinyurl.com/conejo-natcafe
1714 Newbury Rd, Newbury Park, CA 91320
(805) 498-0493

Hill Canyon is part of a system of deeply eroded canyons, plateaus and ridgelines now known as the Conejo Canyons Open Space. On clear days, trails in this area afford dramatic views of Ventura and the coastline, as well as inland to the Topa Topa mountains north of Ojai. This area also conserves a variety of habitats, including coast live oak woodlands, riparian habitats, interior sage scrub/chaparral, and coastal sage scrub. The hike will be about 8 miles with moderate elevation gain.

Prior to 2000 plans for high end homes were made to be built on the Western Plateau above Hill Canyon.  There were a couple of problems. An access road would be a very expensive addition to the cost of the properties. Fire access requires a separate emergency access which was not feasible without access through city property. A bordering golf course would add to the property values and if done right would provide the emergency access at little cost. A win-win for the developer. No problem. He got city officials to spend about $2.6 million to plan a golf course with the emergency access.

But then Audubon members and other environmentalists showed pictures of the flood plain under water after a big rain. The club house would have to be up on the ridge above to be feasible. Golfers would have to be driven down to tee off. The golf course plans got canceled and a land trade was worked out by the same city officials who caused the $2.6 million to be wasted.

Hill Canyon and the Western Plateau is now the Conejo Canyons Open Space. 

Who is that guy up there?

Peruse the Pics from some previous hikes:

http://www.meetup.com/localhikers/photos/all_photos/?photoAlbumId=522006
http://www.meetup.com/localhikers/photos/all_photos/?photoAlbumId=768037
http://www.meetup.com/localhikers/photos/all_photos/?photoAlbumId=5956072

Directions to trailhead

From the 101 Freeway/TO

• Exit for Rancho Conejo Blvd
• Turn north
• Drive (about 1.9 miles) past the CNG Refueling Station 
• Park close to  cul-de-sac

See also http://tinyurl.com/conejo-natcafe 

Note:  Watch for No Parking signs. Legal street parking is available on the  cul-de-sac end of the block

Bring 2 Qt water, lugsoles, snacks, sunscreen, hat

“If you’re early, you’re on time. If you’re on time, you’re late.  If you’re late…don’t bother showing up”