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.
Lang Ranch and Autumn Ridge Loop
- Location: Corner of Lang Ranch Parkway and Albertson Fire Road, Thousand Oaks. From the 101 freeway, take the Westlake Blvd. exit. Turn right (north) and go 4.1 miles. Take a right on Lang Ranch Parkway and drive a mile to the end of the street, near where it bends to the left. From the 23 freeway, take the Avenida de Arboles exit and go east for 1.6 miles. Turn right on Westlake Blvd., go 0.2 miles and turn left on Lang Ranch Parkway.
- Agency: Conejo Open Space Foundation
- Distance: 4.7 miles
- Elevation gain: 850 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: October – May
- USGS topo map: Thousand Oaks
- More information: COSF home page here; Lang Ranch trail map here
- Rating: 7
Lang Ranch Open Space is bordered on the south by Thousand Oaks (population 131,000) and on the north by Simi Valley (126,000), yet it’s easy to forget that when you’re on the trails here. Hikers who visit Lang Ranch get to see scenery that includes geology, grasslands, oak groves, creeks, mountains and more.
There are a good variety of trails here, and many possible trips to take. This route combines the “Lang Ranch Loop” and “Autumn Ridge Loop” hikes described on the site.
From Lang Ranch Parkway, take the Albertson Fire Road trail east into the canyon. You walk through a grove of oaks and arrive at a split in 0.4 miles. Take the right fork and continue your ascent, taking in nice views of Simi Peak. In 1.5 miles, bare left onto a trail that descends into another wooded area. After making a U-turn, you begin the main climb along the route. The fire road heads north into the hills, ascending steadily but never to steeply. A single-track trail branches off to the left (an alternate route), but here, you stay on the fire road.
Soon, you reach a saddle where a rough fire break heads to the right and a bench on the left gives you a nice place to take a break and admire the scenery. When ready, continue along the fire road, which descends on the north side of the ridge. Here, you have great views of Simi Valley and Moorpark, and on clear winter days, you can see the distant snow-capped peaks of the Los Padres National Forest.
At 2.8 miles from the start, you come to a four-way split. Head straight (the only route going down hill); note some interesting sandstone outcrops on your right. You head into a beautiful green valley, make a short climb, and then a steep descent, during which you have a nice, pseudo-aerial view of the neighborhood. Keep an eye out for some sandstone caves off to the right. Stay left at the next junction and follow the trail out of the park. You arrive at the corner of Westlake Blvd. and Autumn Ridge Road. Turn left on Autumn Ridge, climb briefly and then descend to Lang Ranch Parkway. Take a left on Lang Ranch and head back to your car.