Text and photography copyright 2011 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.
- Location: Simi Valley. From the 118 freeway, take the Yosemite Ave. exit and go north for 0.4 miles. Turn right on Flanagan Drive and park at the end of the street in 0.8 miles. The trail begins at the north end of the street.
- Agency: Rancho Simi Park & Recreation District
- Distance: 5 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,100 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Elevation gain)
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Best season: October – May
- USGS topo map: Simi Valley East
- Recommended gear: sun hat; sunblock; hiking poles
- More information: here; trip reports here
- Rating: 8
It’s always nice when I revisit a trail and enjoy it more the second time. Such was the case on the Chumash Trail, which I originally hiked as part of a 9-mile loop, linking it to the nearby Las Llajas Trail. That trip was enjoyable, but a little monotonous toward the end. This route, however, visits the 2.5 mile Chumash Trail, the most interesting part of the loop. Hikers are rewarded with scenery that includes sandstone geology, city and mountain views, and on clear days, the ocean and the Channel Islands. Sunsets are great here too.
From the end of Flanagan, take the signed Chumash Trail through a wide meadow (particularly green during the spring.) Stay left when a fire break branches off to the right. The trail enters a canyon and continues to climb, soon meeting up with the fire break (remember this junction on the way back).
For the next few miles, the trail ascends steadily, although never too steeply. While the freeway and housing tracts of Simi Valley are still visible, the hills block out much of the noise, and the sense of solitude becomes stronger. You pass by some huge sandstone outcrops, some of which you see from a distance and some from closer.
In 2.5 miles, the trail ends at the Rocky Peak Fire Road. You can extend the hike in either direction, but it’s also a good turnaround point. The five mile trip is a vigorous workout, but as easy as navigation is, anyone in decent shape should be able to handle it, even if they don’t have much hiking experience. Residents of Simi and the western San Fernando Valley are lucky to have this trail so close by.