Big Sky Loop (Simi Valley)
- Location: Simi Valley. From the 118 Freeway, take the Erringer Road exit and head north (turn right if you’re coming from the east; left if from the east). Go 0.6 miles and park in a small lot on the right side of the street, just before the intersection with Falcon St. If the lot is full, you can park in another small lot on the northwest corner of Falcon and Erringer, diagonally opposite.
- Agency: Rancho Simi Recreation and Parks Department
- Distance: 4 miles
- Elevation gain: 650 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Best season: October – June
- USGS topo maps: Moorpark
- Recommended gear: sun hat; hiking poles
- More information: Description here; video of a mountain biker riding the trail here; Everytrail report here
- Rating: 5
This hike offers a good workout with several ascents and descents and if visibility is good, the views are quite panoramic. The trail winds through some residential neighborhoods of Simi Valley and while the sights of civilization are never far away, it’s far enough from any major roads that traffic noise is not likely to be too loud. The Big Sky Loop is a short drive from the San Fernando Valley and even L.A. and West Side residents might find it to be worth the drive, especially on cool, clear winter days. Movie and TV buffs may be disappointed, however, to learn that this trail bears no relation to the nearby Big Sky Movie Ranch.
The trail may sound a little convoluted, but navigation is easy; the various segments are well signed and the correct route should be obvious. From the parking lot, walk north on Erringer Road for a few yards and turn right on the signed Big Sky Trail, which curls around the backs of some houses. After a quarter mile, you reach a split; the start of the loop. By hiking clockwise, as described here, you can save the more scenic portion of the trip for the return.
You ascend gradually for about half a mile before dipping into a pocket of oaks (don’t get used to it; there’s minimal shade on the trail.) You then cross Legacy Drive and continue threading your way between the residential streets. At one mile, you cross Legends Drive and at 1.3 miles, you reach Young Wolf Drive. Pick up the trail, now fenced in like a bridle path, on the opposite side. A short but steep ascent brings you to a junction where you head left (the right fork is an option if you want to shorten the loop) and follow the trail around the curve of the ridge. By now you get some good views of Whiteface, a tall, cliff-like hill to the north.
Another ascent brings you to a junction (1.8 miles.) Make a hairpin right turn and head south, following a bumpy ridge to the high point of the loop (2.1 miles.) Your view can extend as far as Oat Mountain to the east, the Santa Monica Mountains to the south and Mt. Clef to the west if the air quality is good. You also get a panoramic view of Simi Valley–and intrepid hikers can peer over the edge of the trail, which drops off nearly vertically.
Descending from this ridge, you reach a junction where the shortcut trail mentioned above rejoins the loop. Take a hard left and follow the trail to the end of Swift Fox Court, where (as of this writing) new residences are being built.
The trail picks up again on the opposite side of Swift Fox and makes one final ascent (3.1 miles) where you can enjoy another panoramic view before completing the last leg of the hike. Follow the ridge downhill, closing the loop, and retrace your steps to the parking lot on Erringer.
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.