Hikes in Ventura County

Ventura County is at the south end of the Central Coast of California with beautiful beaches and mountains. Numerous great hikes can be enjoyed by those in the region (or making quick getaways from Los Angeles).

Highlights of Ventura County

  • This level 1.5-mile loop in Emma Wood State Beach in Ventura borders the Pacific Ocean, the Ventura River, and an estuary flocked by seabirds.
  • This 19-mile hike follows beautiful Sespe Creek to a relaxing hot springs in the Sespe Wilderness of Los Padres National Forest.
  • This 0.8-mile hike leads to the lower tier of a lovely two-tier 300-foot waterfall in Los Padres National Forest.
  • This 0.7-mile loop explores the creek and forest on a nature trail around a 70-site campground in Los Padres National Forest.
  • This 4.75-mile hike climbs to a summit in Rocky Peak Park in the Santa Susana Mountains on the border of Los Angeles and Ventura Counties with views over Chatsworth and Simi Valley.
  • This 2.1-mile loop is action-packed, crossing through an impressive cave to climb to a rocky peak with views over the San Fernando Valley.
  • This 40-foot waterfall in Wildwood Park in Thousand Oaks can be reached via several trails for hikes of 2.55 miles or more.
  • This overlook on the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains has views across the Conejo Valley and can be reached via 4-mile and 7.6-mile hikes.
  • This 1.5-mile hike visits a short seasonal waterfall in a coastal canyon in Point Mugu State Park on the west end of the Santa Monica Mountains.
  • This 11.5-mile loop offers incredible ocean views, exploring Point Mugu State Park on the west end of the Santa Monica Mountains.
  • This 6.25-mile loop summits the tallest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains with sweeping 360-degree views.
  • This 3-mile hike visits a creek flowing through a talus cave in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
  • This 2.7 to 3.5-mile loop takes in tremendous ocean views above Big Sycamore Canyon in Point Mugu State Park.

Hiking Ventura County

The west end of the Santa Monica Mountains extends into Ventura County, providing plenty of trails around Newbury Park and Thousand Oaks. Strolls along the beach can be found near the city of Ventura. The south end of the county includes parts of the Santa Monica Mountains, Simi Hills, and Santa Susana Mountains, which also extend into Los Angeles County. Beautiful coastal hikes can be found in Point Mugu State Park on the border of Malibu.

The city of Ojai is inland from the coast and wrapped by lovely green mountains. These are the Topatopa Mountains, protected by Los Padres National Forest, and packed with excellent hiking. Horn Canyon Trail, Sisar Canyon Trail, and Santa Paula Canyon Trail delve into the mountains just east of Ojai.

Route 33, Mariposa Highway, heads north of Ojai, offering a scenic drive into the mountains with numerous hairpin turns. Along the way are several places to hike and camp. The largest campground in the area is Wheeler Gorge with seventy sites and a pleasant one-mile loop trail. The tallest waterfall in the Los Padres, the two-tier 300-foot Rose Valley Falls, is located three miles off Route 33 and is easy to get to from the campground. East of the waterfall is Sespe Wilderness, where backpackers can trek to more remote locations, including Willett Hot Springs.

An adventure pass may be required for visits to Los Padres National Forest. Day passes cost $5 and an annual pass is $30. The passes may be purchased within the park, at various local retailers, and online. The passes are valid at other national forests in California as well, like Angeles National Forest.

Ventura Hiking

This collection of trails in Ventura County, California lists the hikes from west to east. The table may also be sorted alphabetically or by distance to help you pick your next hike. Each trail links to its own report complete with directions, photos, GPS maps, elevation profiles, and all the other information needed to locate and enjoy these hikes. You can also view hikes around Ventura County on the Hike Finder Map.

Trail
Description
Distance
Location
Sespe Creek800Sespe Creek to Willett Hot Springs
This out and back hike follows Sespe Creek to a relaxing hot springs.
19 miles
500 feet
34.5605,
-119.1648
Rose Valley Falls810Rose Valley Falls
This out and back hike leads to the lower tier of a lovely two-tier 300-foot waterfall.
0.8 miles
150 feet
34.5317,
-119.1829
Wheeler Gorge Trail820Wheeler Gorge
This loop explores the creek and forest on a nature trail around a 70-site campground in Los Padres National Forest.
0.7 miles
100 feet
34.518444,
-119.271208
Horn Canyon Trail823Horn Canyon Trail
This hike in Ojai goes up a canyon in the frontcountry of the Topatopa Mountains and ventures off trail along the soothing waters of Thacher Creek.
2.9 miles
750 feet
34.46337,
-119.17838
Sisar Canyon Trail824Sisar Canyon Trail
This hike travels up a canyon to a viewpoint in the Topatopa Mountains between Ojai and Santa Paula.
5.5 - 6.5 miles
1,125 - 1,200 feet
34.44338,
-119.13567
Santa Paula Canyon Trail Punchbowl827Santa Paula Canyon Trail to the Punchbowl
This hike ventures up rugged Santa Paula Canyon to a waterfall and a Punchbowl of pools and cascades in Santa Paula Creek by Big Cone Camp.
8 miles
800 feet
34.4262,
-119.0894
Emma Wood State Beach830Ocean's Edge and River's Edge Trails Loop
This level loop in Emma Wood State Beach borders the Pacific Ocean, the Ventura River, and an estuary flocked by seabirds.
1.5 miles
25 feet
34.28057,
-119.315346
La Jolla Canyon840La Jolla Canyon Loop
This hike explores Point Mugu State Park on the west end of the Santa Monica Mountains, offering incredible ocean views.
11.75 miles
1,250 feet
34.086097,
-119.03688
Mugu Peak850Mugu Peak
This out and back hike from La Jolla Canyon to the 1,266-foot summit features superb ocean and canyon views.
6.5 miles
1,250 feet
34.092697,
-119.055712
La Jolla Canyon Falls860La Jolla Canyon Falls
This out and back hike visits a short seasonal waterfall in Point Mugu State Park.
1.5 miles
250 feet
34.093047,
-119.043134
Overlook Trail870Scenic and Overlook Trails Loop
This loop takes in tremendous ocean views above Big Sycamore Canyon in Point Mugu State Park.
2.7 - 3.5 miles
450 to 550 feet
34.071305,
-119.012668
The Grotto Malibu880Grotto
This out and back hike visits a remote grotto in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.
3.5 miles
500 feet
34.109292,
-118.937438
Sandstone Peak890Sandstone Peak
This loop summits the tallest peak in the Santa Monica Mountains.
6.25 miles
1,075 feet
34.111576, -118.926766
Tri Peaks900Tri Peaks
This 1-mile addition to the Sandstone Peak loop adds extra views to the hike.
7.45 miles
1,075 feet
34.111576, -118.926766
Angel Vista Thousand Oaks910Angel Vista via Rosewood Trail
This out and back hike is the most direct route to a panoramic viewpoint overlooking the Conejo Valley.
4 miles
800 feet
34.1768,
-118.9128
Angel Vista920Angel Vista via West Los Robles Trail
This out and back hike reaches an overlook on the north side of the Santa Monica Mountains with views over Thousand Oaks.
7.6 miles
800 feet
34.1719,
-118.881
Oak Creek Canyon Trail922Oak Creek Canyon Trail
This loop starts with an all-access nature trail with signs in English and Braille before transitioning to a less developed dirt single track, looping through chaparral and oak woodlands in Los Robles Open Space.
0.8 miles
200 feet
34.1753,
-118.8856
Tarantula Hill Thousand Oaks hike925Tarantula Hill
This out and back hike follows a paved trail to the top of a small, round hill in Thousand Oaks with views across the Conejo Valley into the surrounding mountains.
1 mile
275 feet
34.195528,
-118.885343
Paradise Falls930Paradise Falls
This loop visits a 40-foot waterfall in Wildwood Park, an open space in Thousand Oaks.
2.55 miles
260 feet
34.2200,
-118.9028
Lizard Rock940Lizard Rock
To add extra mileage and views to a visit to Paradise Falls in Thousand Oaks, consider placing Lizard Rock on your itinerary.
4.35 miles
570 feet
34.2200,
-118.9028
Rocky Peak950Rocky Peak
This hike climbs to a 2,715-foot summit in Rocky Peak Park in the Santa Susana Mountains between Chatsworth and Simi Valley.
4.75 miles
1,100 feet
34.268362,
-118.636155
China Flat Simi Peak Trail955China Flat & Simi Peak
This hike ventures up rugged ridges to a peaceful oak savanna and a trail to the highest point in the Simi Hills, sporting 360-degree views of surrounding mountain ranges.
5.45 - 6.2 miles
1,090 feet
34.19536,
-118.77684
Cave of Munits and Castle Peak960Cave of Munits and Castle Peak
This action-packed two-attraction loop crosses through an impressive cave to climb to a rocky peak with views over the San Fernando Valley.
2.1 miles
750 feet
34.195322,
-118.658543
View Central Coast trails and campgrounds in a larger map
Or explore hikes around Ventura County on the Hike Finder Map
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Hazard Peak Bloody Nose Trail Hiedra Trail Hazard Peak Trail Hike Montaña de Oro State Park Hike California
The panoramic summit of Hazard Peak in Montaña de Oro State Park has excellent coastal views. Hazard Peak Trail is the most obvious route to the top and a great choice, rising to the 1,076-foot summit over 3 miles. A junction partway up Hazard Peak Trail makes it possible to add a couple other trails to the approach. Bloody Nose Trail and Hiedra Trail are a combined... Read more.
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Tagged with · California State Parks · Free Trails · Irish Hills · Los Osos · Ocean Views · Montaña de Oro State Park
Distance: 5.55 miles · Elevation change: 950 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 20, 2017
South Dune Trail Bloody Nose Trail Hiedra Trail Hazard Peak Trail Loop Montaña de Oro State Park Hike Hiedra Trail Loop Los Osos California
Hikes in Montaña de Oro State Park travel along the coast or delve inland into canyons and up peaks. If you want a mix of hiking environments, consider this four-trail loop, which combines South Dune Trail, Bloody Nose Trail, Hiedra Trail, and Hazard Peak Trail for a 2 2/3 mile round trip hike with a little over 300 feet of elevation change. This loop can be added to the... Read more.
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Tagged with · California State Parks · Free Trails · Irish Hills · Los Osos · Ocean Views · Montaña de Oro State Park
Distance: 2.67 miles · Elevation change: 310 feet
By: Published: Last updated: May 20, 2017
Rinconada Trail Hike Santa Lucia Mountains Los Padres National Forest Bell Mountain Rinconada Hiking Trail Santa Margarita California
Rising through grassy meadows, oak woodlands, and chaparral slopes, Rinconada Trail provides North County access to the Santa Lucia Mountains in Los Padres National Forest. Gaze over bucolic valleys on the hike up to a high point in a grassy mountain pass with views over remote ridges and canyons in the Santa Lucia Wilderness. Turn around at an overlook by the crest of... Read more.
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Tagged with · Free Trails · Los Padres National Forest · Santa Lucia Mountains · Santa Margarita · Summits
Distance: 3 miles · Elevation change: 625 feet
By: Published: Last updated: June 1, 2017
Santa Paula Canyon Trail The Punchbowl Hike Santa Paula Canyon Punch Bowls Big Cone Camp East Fork Trail Los Padres National Forest Topatopa Mountains California
Framed by tall, rugged ridges in the Topatopa Mountains, Santa Paula Creek slices through the rockbed of Santa Paula Canyon, carving out alluring pools and cascades called the Punchbowl (or Punch Bowls). Finishing with a flourish, the Punchbowl has a 25-foot waterfall and a pool that you can relax beside. The Punchbowl is located between Big Cone Camp and Cross Camp,... Read more.
By: Published: Last updated: April 17, 2017
Sisar Canyon Trail Hike Sisar Canyon Road Summit Ojai Santa Paula California Los Padres National Forest Sisar Creek Hike
Sisar Canyon cuts into the mountains above Upper Ojai Valley, halfway between Ojai and Santa Paula. A wide dirt trail travels up the canyon toward Topatopa Ridge, a striking bluff of striped rock. Rather than taking Sisar Canyon Trail (also known as Sisar Canyon Road) deep into the Topatopa Mountains, turn around at an overlook 2.75 miles up the trail for a picturesque... Read more.
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Tagged with · Creeks · Free Trails · Los Padres National Forest · Ojai · Santa Paula · Topatopa Mountains · Upper Ojai Valley
Distance: 6.5 miles · Elevation change: 1200 feet
By: Published: Last updated: April 17, 2017