Hidden Valley Overlook (Rancho Satwiwa)
- Location: Potrero Road and Wendy Drive, Thousand Oaks, north of Rancho Satwiwa and Point Mugu State Park. From Highway 101, take the Wendy Drive exit and head south for 2.9 miles to its end, at Potrero Road. Park in the lot.
- Agency: National Park Service (Rancho Satwiwa)
- Distance: 4 miles
- Elevation gain: 900 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: October – June
- USGS topo map: Newberry Park
- Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat
- More information: here; area trail map here; article about the hike here.
- Rating: 8
This is one of the better hikes in the Thousand Oaks/Conejo Valley area, offering great views from start to finish. Since the entire route is on National Park Service Land and never crosses the Point Mugu State Park boundary, dogs are allowed.
There are several possible ways to reach the overlook, the quickest of which is from Wendy Drive. Follow the Wendy Trail south, through a meadow, staying straight at the first intersection. You enter a pleasant grove of oaks and emerge into an open area with nice views of Rancho Satwiwa.
Bear left at the next two intersections, making your way uphill. At the top of a ridge, you get nice views of Boney Mountain. If you start to hear a squeaking noise, don’t be surprised – it’s an old metal windmill on the left side of the trail.
At the junction by the windmill, stay straight and head into a canyon, where chaparral provides some shade. Stay left at the next junction with the Satwiwa Loop Trail, and almost immediately afterward you come to a T-junction (0.9 miles from the start). This is a nice spot to stop and enjoy the view before turning left on the Hidden Valley Overlook Trail.
The trail climbs steeply, providing nice views of Boney Mountain to the right and the Conejo Valley to the left. At 1.8 miles, you reach another T-junction. The right fork heads downhill toward Hidden Valley, eventually reaching private land. Head left toward the hill, making a steep, loose climb (the hiking poles will be welcome here). At the top of the hill, you reach a summit where you can enjoy a 360-degree view, including the San Gabriels, the Ventura coastal plane, Santa Cruz Island, Boney and more. You can continue farther along the ridge to a few shorter summits, but the first one makes a good turnaround point.
You can return either by the same route, or extend your hike by trying different trails in Rancho Satwiwa Park or Point Mugu State Park.
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.
Just a quick correction: this hike takes place on National Park Service land, rather than the National Forest. Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area is a unit of the National Park System. More at http://www.nps.gov/samo. Thanks!
Good catch, thanks. We’ve fixed it.