Camarillo Grove Community Park
- Location: Camarillo. From Highway 101, take the the Camarillo Springs Road exit. Head east (turn left if you’re coming from Ventura or right if from L.A.) and drive 0.8 miles to the park’s entrance. Entrance fees are $2 per vehicle on weekdays, $5 on weekends and $8 on holidays. Drive to the back of the lot and park in front of the fence near the beginning of the trail.
- Agency: Pleasant Valley Recreation & Parks District
- Distance: 0.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 200 feet
- Suggested time: 30 minutes
- Difficulty Rating: G
- Best season: Year round
- USGS topo map: Newburry Park
- More information: Trip report here; park website here; Everytrail report here; Yelp page here
- Rating: 3
Nestled beneath the 101 Freeway as it descends from Thousand Oaks to the Ventura coastal plain, Camarillo Grove is a popular dog park that also features a short nature trail. Though it suffers from graffiti and nearby traffic noise, the trail is still a nice place to stretch your legs if you’re traveling on Highway 101. Though the trail is certainly not difficult, there are a few steep, loose spots where parents with small kids should be careful.
From the back of the parking area, start hiking uphill on the signed trail. A short walk brings you to a junction. You can hike the loop in either direction but to get the majority of the climbing out of the way quickly, head left. You make your way up the side of the hill, passing some interpretive signs describing the local plants including fennel, California buckwheat, purple sage, prickly pear cacti and poison oak.
At a quarter of a mile, you reach the top of the switchbacks, where you get a nice view of the western Santa Monica Mountains. Look for an obscure trail heading off sharply to the right and downhill. You drop into the canyon, reaching another junction at 0.4 miles. Head right, passing by some interesting geological formations in the bottom of the canyon. A gentle ascent of about 50 feet brings you to the beginning of the loop. Turn left and follow the spur back downhill to your car.
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.