Text and photography copyright 2010 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. The author does not take any responsibility for injuries sustained during hikes or walks on the routes described here. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.
Oak Canyon Park
- Location: North of Thousand Oaks. From highway 101, take the Kanan Road exit and head north for 3 miles to Hollytree Drive. Take a right on Hollytree and an immediate left into the park.
- Agency: Rancho Simi Recreation & Parks District
- Distance: 1.5 miles
- Elevation gain: 150 feet
- Suggested time: 45 miunutes
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Best season: Year Round
- USGS topo map: “Thousand Oaks”
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
- More information: here; trip reports here
- Rating: 3
Located just north of Thousand Oaks, little Oak Canyon Park is a popular recreational area, with picnic tables, a duck pond, playgrounds, sports fields and some nice hiking trails. Whether you use Oak Canyon Park as a jumping off point for some longer hiking trips on the network of trails that canvas the area, or just as a quick escape into nature, it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area. Note that this is a different park from nearby Oak Park in Moorpark (and needless to say, different from the Oak Canyon Nature Center in Anaheim).
There are several possible walks you can take at Oak Canyon Park. The route described here visits some of the park’s best scenery. From the first parking lot, walk around the duck pond and pick up the main trail into the canyon. Other than some traffic noise from Kanan Road, there are few signs of civilization. After about half a mile, turn right and cross a bridge over the stream. Then the dirt road continues to the left (a parking lot is in front of you). Soon a single-track trail branches off to the left of the dirt road, which heads back into the canyon. You cross the stream again and soon come across what may be one of the biggest oak trees in the world. After one last stream crossing, the trail climbs to rejoin the main road, soon ending up at Bromley Drive.
From here, you have the option of returning on the main paved road, although you might well find it preferable to retrace your steps through the canyon. You can see pavement anywhere, after all.