- Location: Simi Valley. From the 118 Freeway, take the Kuehner Drive exit and head north (left if you’re coming from the west, right if from the east). Park in the large dirt lot on the right side of the road, almost immediately north of the freeway.
- Agency: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
- Distance: 4.4 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,150 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Elevation gain, terrain, navigation)
- Suggested time: 2.5 hours
- Best season: October – May
- USGS topo map: Santa Susana
- Recommended gear: sun hat; sunblock; hiking poles
- Recommended guidebook: Afoot & Afield Los Angeles County
- More information: here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 7
Like the nearby Chumash Trail, the Hummingbird Trail allows hikers the opportunity to get up close looks at some great geology while enjoying wide-ranging views of the Simi Valley/Santa Susana Pass area. It also provides a good workout, especially if you decide to continue on to Rocky Peak from the fire road. Navigation can be a little tricky, but if you keep an eye out for purple arrows on the rocks marking the route, you shouldn’t have too much trouble. Also bear in mind that a lot of the switchbacks have been cut, so the correct route is usually the one that is the least steep. The trail’s grade is steady, but not too extreme.
From the parking area on the east side of Kuehner Drive north of the freeway, follow a dirt path between the road and the fence. In 0.2 miles, you reach the official beginning of the trail. Head down through a meadow, into a creek bed, past a large oak and turn left on the well-marked main trail (0.4 miles.)
You begin an ascent through a narrow canyon, closely hugging the south wall. The area opens up and you continue climbing along the rocky slope, ignoring a few narrow paths that branch off. If you find yourself confused about which path to take, keep in mind that the paths usually meet up again shortly (it’s often a result of switchbacks being cut).
At just over a mile, you cross through a narrow passage between two walls of rocks and continue climbing uphill. On your right is a rock ledge with several caves inside. Soon after, you pass another large outcrop that resembles the “Turtle Rock” in nearby Sage Ranch.
After a few more switchbacks, the trail starts to level out after 1.8 miles. A fairly easy 0.4 miles brings you to the Rocky Peak Fire Road, the turnaround point for this hike. A bench and a large flat rock provide nice places to sit and enjoy the view.
While the Hummingbird Trail suffers from some graffiti and trash, and never really escapes the noise of the 118 Freeway, it’s definitely a worthwhile hike, especially if you’ve done and enjoyed the Chumash Trail. It’s convenient location is also a plus, and even if you end up not hiking the whole thing, just a short scramble among the rocks is enjoyable.
Text and photography copyright 2013 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.
Update on parking and start of trail. There is no longer a dirt lot that’s accessible. Trail – exceedingly well-marked – begins farther north on Kuehner, basically where the gated community begins. Parking only on-street, and that is limited [luckily someone pulled out when we pulled in]. Interesting that this is one of the top 19 of 2019 when no one had rated it! Very fun hike, because of the rock formations. Your description is excellent – and lots of bikers! Great views too. We did not go to Rocky Peak (this time) – we’re debating between ourselves whether we’ve done this hike before – as in 10 years + ago…but calculated it’s another 2 miles each way once you hit the Rocky Peak Rd. Not sure how much additional elevation.
Thanks for the update – yeah it’s been a while since I’ve done this one (and now that I’m back on the east coast it may be a while before I do it again.)
As for the ranking, one thing I’ve learned is that how much traffic a post gets doesn’t necessarily reflect its popularity in the L.A. hiking community (as a blogger yourself you’re probably familiar with the whims of search engine optimization). I’ve noticed that a lot of the hikes I’ve written up that get a lot of traffic were ones that I was able to get to before they became popular – such as the “M” trail – or at least before they became popular subjects for hiking bloggers. You know how it is: if you write about subjects that are too obscure, no one searches for them (if you google Paseo del Sol Fire Road the NHLA writeup is one of the first that comes up – thing is, not many people google Paseo del Sol Fire Road) and if you write about well known trails, there’s so much saturation that it’s hard to stand out, which is why the write-ups of Mt. Baldy and Cucamonga usually dont get that much traffic.
But hey, at least I’m not a nerd 🙂
Just for giggles I looked up the additional distance/elevation gain to Rocky Peak from the junction. It’s hard to measure exactly (Google Maps doesn’t have the spur use trail to the summit) but my guess is that it’s about a 3 mile round trip with an additional 400 feet elevation gain.
omg – so that’s what happened? You moved to the East Coast? We definitely will miss your new and re-done hikes. Congratulations on keeping the site going (we know what that feels like – our Rome site is now more than 10 years old, and we go only 2 months/year… hard to keep the material fresh – at times). We were just telling some Swedish tourists at Red Box about your site – it’s our favorite, as you know. Are you near any mountains on the East Coast? We’re 46Rs (as in the NYS Adirondacks) and have done many miles of the Appalachian Trail, including Katahdin 2 times (and done). I’d still like to do a hiking-near-Rome guest post for you – maybe this year. Buon trekking! as the Italians would say.
Best from LA, Dianne and Bill
FOLLOW US! on our new website – https://www.2filmcritics.com. It features more than 100 reviews, indexed and easily accessible, dating to mid-2016, when this Excellent Adventure was launched. We aim for reviews that are informative and analytical, yet readable and relatively short. Bill & Dianne’s Excellent Adventure – The only known *couple *who reviews movies TOGETHER (and still married)!
On Sun, Feb 2, 2020 at 4:22 PM Nobody Hikes in LA wrote:
> dlockeretz commented: “Just for giggles I looked up the additional > distance/elevation gain to Rocky Peak from the junction. It’s hard to > measure exactly (Google Maps doesn’t have the spur use trail to the summit) > but my guess is that it’s about a 3 mile round trip with an addit” >
Yes…east coast it is! Thanks for your encouragement and appreciation of the site, current and past…though I can’t maintain it in the way I did when I was in L.A. I still want to keep it alive as an informational resource and to provide new content when the opportunity presents itself (I’d love to publish a guest post about hiking near Rome when you have one to submit!) I’m also remiss in not more closely following your sites and by the time you read this, you may notice that I’ve atoned by signing up for your film blog 🙂
Oh to answer your question about my location, I’m in the Worcester area (central MA). There are a lot of nice local preserves and state forests, although anything substantial is at least an hour away. I have gotten to hike a little in the Catskills and hope to knock off some ADKs this summer, as well as Katahdin and Washington.