Located right behind campus, up Potrero Road into Thousand Oaks, is Rancho Sierra Vista, a great local hiking place that served as a site for the Chumash as well as Spanish ranching. It is part of the Santa Monica Mountains and includes Boney Mountain, the highest peak there. You can bike along the paved road, hike through the brush and plains, or visit the cultural center to learn more about the history of the Native Americans at this site.
It’s a great place to explore. Since I’ve been at CI, I’ve taken many of their hikes as well as held photo shoots at this location with my friends as models. It’s beautiful at this time of year and apparently very crowded on the weekends! I went with my mom and we hiked to the waterfall, which is a popular destination for day hikers. Other hikes include the Old Boney Trail, Loop Trail, the hike to the Windmill, and further into the mountains: Boney Peak and the Danielson Monument. The ones past Rancho Sierra Vista are more strenuous and long, whereas the ones closer to the parking lot are easier and more accessible. Here is a map of Rancho for reference and here is a site for Boney Mountain, if you’re curious about more difficult ones.
We started by taking the straight path through dry brush that leads to the valley. Once at the top of the ridge, you can look down into the valley and, on a clear day, see the ocean. Then there is an uphill bit consisting of broken rocks and rugged terrain. Once we wound our way into the valley, there is a huge beautiful tree that serves as a great spot for shade and a sign that the waterfall is close and you no longer have to walk in the baking sun! During this time of year, the stream bed was dry so we walked on the moist rocks that we usually have to walk around to get by. Then, nestled in the valley, behind huge boulders is the waterfall! Which was only just a trickle this time. But the pools of water that gather at each level of the waterfall is always interesting to observe. It’s a lovely shaded area to have a snack and climb up the levels of the waterfall. This waterfall hike is a turn around point, not a loop, so once we headed back, we followed the same path out.
While hiking, we saw this family with two little girls who were so excited about the waterfall. The story I wrote has to do with them!
It was a beautiful day with great weather! But PS, bring sunscreen. My shoulders are currently sunburned.