Johnson Mountain Way (Chatsworth)
- Location: Iverson St., Chatsworth. Parking is available at the side of the road outside the entrance to the Indian Springs community, usually under the 118 Freeway overpass. From Simi Valley, take the 118 Freeway to Rocky Peak Rd. Turn right and make an immediate left onto Santa Susana Pass Rd. Go 1.3 miles to Iverson Rd. Turn left and follow Iverson 0.3 mile to the 118 Freeway overpass and park where available. From the east, take the 118 Freeway to Topanga Canyon Blvd/CA 27. Head south on Topanga Canyon for 0.4 mile to Santa Susana Pass Rd. Turn right and go 0.9 mile to Iverson. Turn right and go 0.3 mile to overpass and park where available. On Google Maps, use the address 11390 Iverson Rd., Chatsworth, CA.
- Agency: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (Rocky Peak Park)/Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation
- Distance: 6.6 miles
- Elevation gain: 1,250 feet
- Suggested time: 3.5 hours
- Difficulty rating: PG-13 (distance, elevation gain)
- Best season: October – May
- USGS topo maps: Oat Mountain, Santa Susana
- Recommended gear: sun screen; sun hat; hiking poles
- More information: Trip description here; Map My Hike report here
- Rating: 6
This hike explores the rugged terrain of Rocky Peak’s back side. It starts in a gated community and climbs to the Rocky Peak Fire Road, about a mile north of the summit.
Unless you have access to the Indian Springs or Fern Ann Falls communities, your hike will begin outside the guard house on Iverson Rd. Head north from under the freeway to the pedestrian gate, where you can ring a buzzer on the side for access. Inside, pick up the Santa Susana Pass Trail as it heads north along Iverson. At 0.3 mile, it leaves the road and threads its way between houses, crossing Fern Ann Falls Rd. at 0.6 mile. At 0.7 mile, leave the Santa Susana Trail and head northwest on Indian Hills Road. It climbs steeply uphill for 0.2 mile to an unsigned junction; this is the start of the Johnson Mountain Way. Bear left and follow a Johnson Mountain Way which starts as gravel and soon becomes a rocky fire road. The steady uphill climb continues before leveling out at a ridge line, with Rocky Peak dominating the western landscape and Oat Mountain to the east.
You pass by two spurs on the right leading to an antenna facility and the trail enters an interesting jumble of sandstone and granite boulders. Though still nominally a fire road, Johnson is basically a single-track by this point. Despite being only a few miles from civilization, this part of the trail feels pleasantly remote.
At 2.4 miles, a saddle-shaped rock on the left side of the trail provides a nice place to rest and enjoy a view of Chatsworth. The trail follows the stream bed of Falls Creek, a tributary of Devil Canyon and makes one last climb before leveling out and meeting the Rocky Peak Fire Road, 3.3 miles from the start. Here, you can take in a panorama of Simi Valley to the west. This makes a good turnaround point for a day hike, although if you have time and energy you can head left (south) and continue to Rocky Peak. If you’ve set up a car shuttle at the Rocky Peak trailhead, you can descend via the fire road.
Text and photography copyright 2016 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.