Morrison Open Space SCE Road
- Location: North end of Las Virgenes Road in Calabasas. From Highway 101, take the Las Virgenes Road exit (32). Head north (turn left if you’re coming from the west; right if from the east) and follow Las Virgenes 1.3 miles to a dead end. Park on either side of the road, noting posted time restrictions. Look for a gap in the fence on the left (west) side of the road, with a brown informational sign posted behind it.
- Agency: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy/Conejo Open Space Conservation Authority
- Distance: 4.2 miles
- Elevation gain: 750 feet
- Suggested time: 2 hours
- Difficulty rating: PG
- Best season: October – May
- USGS topo map: Calabasas
- Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat
- More information: LA County Trails page here; trail description here; Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 5
It may not have the most attractive name, but while this fire road does serve as an access route for several Southern California Edison towers, it also provides a good workout with some wide-ranging views. (This trail should not be confused with the nearby Morrison Ranch Loop). The 4.2 mile round trip from Las Virgenes to Cheeseboro Ridge, with several significant ascents and descents, will surely burn a calorie or two, but hikers who want more will be glad to know that this route serves as a gateway to the network of trails in Cheeseboro Canyon and Las Virgenes Open Space.
From Las Virgenes, follow the fire road as it ascends steadily past a pair of oaks, makes a hairpin left turn and finally gains a ridge top, having climbed 375 feet in three quarters of a mile. From here, enjoy views of the Santa Monica Mountains to the south and the Simi Hills and distant San Gabriels to the north and east. The trail then makes its first descent, dropping into a shallow canyon before climbing to another scenic vista point, marked by a large solitary oak (1.3 miles.)
From here, descend again and make one last climb, topping out at 1 3/4 miles from the start. Follow the ridge for an easy 1/3 of a mile, reaching a T-junction with the Cheeseboro Ridge Trail. Here, you can enjoy a nice view down into the canyon before either turning around or extending your hike. One option is to follow Cheeseboro Ridge south to the Morrison Ranch trails and then walk back along Las Virgenes Road; you can also head north for about a mile to a connector trail that drops back into Las Virgenes Canyon.
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.