Coyote Hills/Wood Ranch Loop (Simi Valley)
- Location: Coyote Hills Park, 275 Valley Gate Road, Simi Valley. From Highway 118, take the First St. exit and go south (turn right if you’re coming from the west, left if from the east) for 2.7 miles. Turn right onto Bluegrass St. and go 0.1 miles to Valley Gate Road. Turn left and follow Valley Gate half a mile to the park.
- Agency: Rancho Simi Recreation and Parks Department
- Distance: 3.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 400 feet
- Difficulty Rating: PG
- Suggested time: 1.5 hours
- Best season: All year but hot during the summer
- USGS topo maps: Thousand Oaks
- Recommended gear: sun hat; sunblock
- Recommended guidebook: Day Hikes Around Ventura County
- More information: Map My Hike report here; trail map and photos here; video of mountain biking in the area here
- Rating: 5
This enjoyable suburban hike climbs to a ridge overlooking the south end of Simi Valley, providing a convenient workout with some panoramic views. It’s short and moderate enough to be done in the summer, although with exposed terrain, an early start, a sun hat, sunscreen and extra water are all advisable. Although the residential area surrounding the ridge is never out of view, most of the hike is far enough from any major streets that traffic noise isn’t much of a factor.
The loop can be hiked in either direction. If you’re starting early, consider hiking counter-clockwise as described here; you will get the steepest ascent out of the way sooner. Begin by taking either of the two spur bridle paths on the sides of Coyote Hills Park and looking for a paved trail leading uphill. The paved path almost immediately becomes dirt and begins a pleasant rise along the north side of the ridge, ducking briefly into a grove of oaks, eventually meeting a T-junction with the Wood Ranch Trail (0.8 miles from the start). Turn left and begin the only major ascent of the route, climbing about 250 feet in 0.4 miles to a junction with the Canyon View Trail. Turn left and climb a little higher to a bench where you can enjoy a great view that includes, pending good visibility, the tallest peaks of the Santa Monicas, the Santa Susanas and the Simi Hills.
From the bench, follow the rolling ridge east for an enjoyable 0.8 miles before beginning a steep descent with a bird’s-eye view of the nearby housing tracts. At 2.2 miles from the start, after passing a large oak tree, the bridle path meets Long Canyon Road and follows it for 0.3 miles. At a crosswalk, make a hairpin left turn and follow another path into Oak Canyon. Though the trees don’t provide much shade, they give this last stretch of the hike a nice, secluded feel, providing a buffer between the trail and the nearby houses. At 3.2 miles, you return to Coyote Hills Park, completing the circle.
Text and photography copyright 2015 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.