- Location: Western end of the San Fernando Valley, just past the Ventura county line. From the 101 freeway, take the Valley Circle exit and head north for 6 miles. Turn left on Woolsey Canyon Road and drive 2.5 miles. Turn right on Facility Road and turn left into the park. From the 118 freeway, exit at Topanga Canyon (highway 27). Head south for 2.5 miles and turn right on Plummer. Go a total of 2.2 miles, during which time Plummer becomes Valley Circle Blvd. and Lake Manor and then Valley Circle again. Turn left to stay on Valley Circle, go 0.2 miles more and turn right onto Woolsey Canyon. Parking is $5 per car. You can drive up the dirt road to the upper lot (where the iron ranger is) or park in the lower lot, pay at the ranger and keep your ticket on you.
- Agency: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
- Distance: 2.1 miles
- Elevation gain: 400 feet
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Best season: October – June
- USGS topo map: “Calabasas”
- More information: here; trip reports here
- Rating: 6
Located just past the western corner of the San Fernando Valley, the loop trail at Sage Ranch offers panoramic views that include the Santa Susana Mountains, the Simi Hills, the Santa Monicas, the San Gabriels and on clear days, the ocean. The geological formations, including famous Turtle Rock, are quite interesting as well.
From the parking area, follow the signs for the Loop Trail, leaving the right (north) side of the lot. The trail heads in and out of some wooded areas, passing a service road that branches off to the right and a wide meadow. Stay right as another trail heads down to the campground, and continue along the route, taking in nice panoramic views of the 118 freeway and Simi Valley.
About half way through the loop you come to Turtle Rock, named for its resemblance to a giant turtle depending on the angle from which it’s viewed. The trail heads back toward the east, running alongside a fence and passing through some tight gaps between rocks, before arriving at another junction. Head left (signed for the parking lot) and complete the loop.
Short as it may be, Sage Ranch’s trail has a lot of good scenery, and its convenient location to the west end of the San Fernando Valley makes it yet another example of how one doesn’t have to drive hours and hours to escape the rat race for a while and get out into nature.
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. 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.