Lake Eleanor Open Space, Thousand Oaks, CA

Lake Eleanor Open Space

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  • Location: Westlake Village.  From highway 101, take the Westlake Blvd. (Highway 23) exit south.  Go a mile and take a left on Triunfo Canyon Road.  Go 0.6 miles and turn right on Highgate.  Drive half a mile to the end of of Highgate, where a gate blocks further progress.  Park on the street.
  • Agency: Conejo Open Space Foundation
  • Distance: 2.4 miles
  • Elevation gain: 400 feet
  • Difficulty Rating: PG
  • Suggested time: 1.5 hours
  • Best season: October – May
  • Recommended guidebook: Day Hikes In the Santa Monica Mountains
  • Dogs: Allowed on leash
  • Cell phone reception: Good
  • Water: None
  • Restrooms: None
  • Camping/backpacking: None
  • More information: Map My Hike report here; trip description here
  • Rating: 5

Lake Eleanor was created in 1889 when Eleanor Creek was dammed. The narrow 8-acre lake was intended for a private housing development that never panned out and is now owned by the Conejo Open Space Foundation. While the trail through the Lake Eleanor Open Space only takes in passing glances at the lake from high up above, it provides some panoramic views of the nearby residential areas and a taste of the rugged terrain characteristic of the western Santa Monica Mountains.

From the end of Highgate, walk around the fence and immediately turn right on an unsigned single-track trail.  (If you reach the second gate, you’ve come too far).  The trail U-turns and starts heading uphill.  Stay left at a junction (the right fork is a spur that leads to another residential street) and you soon reach a crest, where you get nice views of the Las Virgenes reservoir.

Here, the trail starts heading south and descends where it follows a ridge, roughly paralleling Highway 23 below. You soon get a glimpse of the narrow lake, lying beneath a giant volcanic formation known as the Lake Eleanor Sentinel and the Sherwood Sentinel. At 0.8 mile from the start, you reach the first of three splits in the trail. The right fork, which makes a short but steep climb, provides better views. It ascends to a bump on the ridge and drops back down to the main trail. Two more splits and returns later, the trail ends just above residential Denver Springs Drive, 1.2 miles from the start.

Lake Eleanor Open Space, Thousand Oaks, CA
Looking north from Lake Eleanor Open Space
Lake Eleanor Open Space, Thousand Oaks, CA
Following the ridge south
Lake Eleanor Open Space, Thousand Oaks, CA
Northeast view from the trail
Lake Eleanor Open Space, Thousand Oaks, CA
Sunset, Lake Eleanor Open Space

Text and photography copyright 2018 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. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

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