Arroyo Verde Park (Ventura)
- Location: Ventura, on the corner of Foothill Road and Day Road. From L.A., take Highway 101 to Victoria Avenue. Turn right and follow Victoria 2.3 miles to Foothill Road. Turn left and go 0.7 miles to the signed park entrance. Once in the park, drive past the entrance gate 0.4 miles to an elongated parking area in between the two main parking lots. A trail leads directly off the right (east) side of the parking area. From Highway 126, take the Victoria Avenue exit. Head north (turn right if you’re coming from the east; left if from the west) for 0.9 miles to Foothill. Turn left and proceed as described above. Parking is $2 on the weekends; free on weekdays.
- Agency: City of Ventura
- Distance: 2.1 miles
- Elevation gain: 450 feet
- Suggested time: 1 hour
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Best season: Year round (Hot during the summer)
- USGS topo map: “Saticoy”
- More information: here; trail map here; Yelp page here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 4
Ventura’s Arroyo Verde Park is an understandably popular destination for joggers, dog walkers, families and hikers. While the front end of the park is a typical suburban recreational spot with picnic areas and manicured lawns, the back end of the park features a surprisingly challenging network of trails. The roller coaster-like loops, with their sharp turns and quick drops, provide a short but vigorous workout. It’s possible to hike Arroyo Verde Park several times without doing the exact same route. The following double-loop is one of several possible hikes in the park.
From the east side of the parking area, take the left of the two trails. This is the Caretaker Trail, which continues to the south, but for this hike, head north, climbing briefly, paralleling the paved road. The trail soon joins a service road where you bear right, go a few yards and bear right again on a single-track. Another trail, the Mini Wall (not to be confused with the Wall, which we will see later) merges from the right. You make a steady climb, taking in nice views of the canyon below and the hills across the way. As you curve around and head back to the west, you’ll see the ocean and you might catch a glimpse of Anacapa Island.
The trail drops into the canyon. Another route (your return) branches off to the left; stay straight and go a few dozen yards to a T-junction (1.1 miles). To avoid having to tackle the short but steep stretch known as the Wall, head left. The trail curves around the side of a ridge, first heading south and then taking a hairpin turn to head north. You follow the top of the ridge, getting an aerial view of some baseball fields on the left and a nice look at the park on the right.
After reaching a high point where you can enjoy a nice view, the trail drops sharply, descending the Wall and returning to the junction. Turn left and almost immediately right on the trail you saw before, signed on the park map as Barranaca. It descends gently through a shallow, tree-lined canyon for 0.3 miles before reaching the parking lot. Turn left and follow the paved road back to the parking area.
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.