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Hiking in Ventura County, CA

Sherwood Forest, Simi Valley

Bridle Path: These trails are actually mostly used by equestrians, but anyone with a gate card can use them, and often do. They run the length of the southern area of the city and range from easy to very difficult. The trails are mostly wide, with horse troughs in some key areas. Game trails are also visible, but not mapped.

Chumash Trail: This area was once Chumash tribal land. The trail that runs from Flannigan St. to the Rocky Peak fire road is one of their trails. A group called the Trailblazers is responsible for upkeep.

The trail is mostly moderate in difficulty for healthy folks. If movement is an issue, sections may be hard. The trail runs about 2.4 miles, and has some nice areas where you can look out over the hills or down into Simi Valley.

Corriganville: This is a fairly flat loop hike. The area was used in many old movies, especially Westerns. One area has doubled as Sherwood Forest, and there is a concrete are that could be turned into a river. Other trails do branch off, and they can be a good deal more difficult to climb.

One of these trails leads to an interesting underpass. The park was once owned by Bob Hope, and he kept horses there. When the 118 (Ronald Reagan) freeway was built, he allowed them to use part of the land, but in return they had to construct this pass so he could ride his horses on the other side of the freeway. You can still climb up to it and walk (or ride) under the freeway.

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Mt. McCoy: This is a landmark in our town. At the top of the mountain, a large cross has been erected. Tradition has it that the first cross planted there was done so either by or by the order of Father Junipero Sera, as part of the Mission Trail.

Rocky Peak Fire Road: This is both a trail and part of the system of fire roads in our mountains. Because it is a fire road, the path is very wide. However, it can be quite steep in places, it is moderate to difficult in most places. The Chumash Trail, mentioned above, ends on this fire road.

There are three ways to get to the cross, ranging from relatively flat to “you might want a rope and pitons for that.” I’ve done both the hard and medium climbs. Hard is faster…unless you fall down.

Both the medium and difficult trails start at Washburn St. The right hand trail leads to the difficult and the flatter trail leads to the medium one. This trail is done in a zigzag pattern for the most part, to make it easier to climb.

The easy route is the fire road that starts at the Regan Library. If there are no events, it’s usually possible to find parking, then look for the fire road. It’s fairly easy to see, off to the right a bit.

There are some important things to remember if you wish to hike any of these trails. First, wear proper clothing, which includes shoes with adequate ankle support (hiking boots are preferred) and a hat. Bring water, and if you’re bringing a dog, bring extra for it. Avoid hiking when the heat is on, especially with dogs. Some have become seriously ill and have died on the Chumash Trail. Don’t venture off the trail, as it is easy to get lost.

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Other safety points: Never hike alone. Be on the lookout for animals, as rattle snakes, coyotes, bobcats and mountain lions live in the region. I’ve also heard a report that at least one bear was spotted.

Hiking in this area is wonderful, and for the most part, it is year round. Even when it’s hot or the trails are soggy, people are out enjoying them. If you ever find yourself in this part of California, you might want to spend a little time on our trails.