Las Vigenes Canyon comprises a portion of a network of canyons in the Simi Hills. These broad, shallow canyons feature riparian woodlands of valley oak, live oak, sycamore, and willow, while being framed by gentle, rolling hills covered in grass that turns a vivid green during the spring.
Distance: 4.5 Miles
Elevation Gained: 400′
I stopped by Las Virgenes Canyon for a brief excursion into one of my favorite hiking areas in the Santa Monica Mountains. I had hiked through this area extensively when I still lived in the Conejo Valley, and I came to love it as an example of what this area was before the suburbs crawled over the Conejo Grade from the San Fernando Valley.
This area is full of rolling hills and shallow valleys, and this open space preserve also protects some of the last stands of valley oak woodland in Los Angeles County. While these trees are more common elsewhere, they are now rare in this area due to over-development. There’s a city ordinance against pulling valley oaks down, so it isn’t common to find them standing in the middle of shopping centers. Finding them in the wild, however, is less common.
This was just a quick little hike for me, as I had just driven up from San Diego to spend a weekend at my parents’ place. It had rained, so the ground was pretty damp. The bonus is that new grass is starting to emerge, and the first hints of green are starting to seep into the hillside.