Zev Yarosolavsky Las Virgenes Highland Park
- Location: Las Virgenes Road north of Highway 101 in Calabasas. From Highway 101, head north on Las Virgenes Road (left if you’re coming from Ventura; right if from L.A). Take a U-turn at Mureau Road (0.2 miles north of the freeway). Park in the dirt lot on the right side of the road.
- Agency: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy
- Distance: 1.5 miles
- Elevation gain: 650 feet
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Difficulty rating: PG
- Best season: Year round (hot during the summer)
- USGS topo map: Calabasas
- Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat
- More information: Here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 5
Named for recently retired L.A. County Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky, whose career was defined by ongoing efforts to preserve open space in the Santa Monica Mountains and elsewhere in Southern California, this park features a short – but quite steep – trail, leading up to a hill with panoramic views. Like nearby Heartbreak Hill, this hike is a study in calf-burning. Its views aren’t quite as varied as on Heartbreak Hill, but it’s still worth a visit if you live or work in the area and want a short but challenging workout.
From the parking area on Las Virgenes, follow the fire road uphill past a fence and into the park. The trail ascends steadily for a quarter mile before briefly leveling out. A few oaks provide some shade, although the majority of the trail is exposed. When you stop to catch your breath, you can turn around and get a nice view of Highway 101 and the San Gabriels in the distance.
At just over half a mile, you come to a T-junction. A large oak provides some shade; it’s a nice place to sit and rest before making the steep push to the summit. Take the right fork (the left one follows a ridge to a spot that overlooks the freeway; it’s a worthwhile detour if you have time, but the best views are higher up.)
After 0.2 more steep miles, climbing almost 200 feet, the trail finally levels out, and you reach the summit. The land drops off sharply to the west as Highway 101 rolls by, more than 600 feet below. The trail continues, eventually reaching Cheeseboro Canyon Park, an option if you have more time.
Text and photography copyright 2014 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.