Sunset Hills Hike in Thousand Oaks


From the issue The Magic Hour

Thousand Sunsets

The Sunset Hills neighborhood in Thousand Oaks has plenty of rolling foothills and acres of open space. So, where do you go for a good sunset? Sunset Hills Trail, of course. The 1.5-mile (one-way) singletrack in its namesake open space travels along a ridge overlooking the calm, and very blue, Bard Reservoir. Waist-high sage scents the air, and yellow wild mustard brightens the path. The best views come two-thirds of a mile from the trailhead where you can pick a spot to watch the last rays of the day descend over the reservoir, coloring the green hills beyond in shades of lilac and orange. To the south, the Santa Monica Mountains look like a fiery wall as the sun sinks over foothills beyond its western summits.

TIP: Hikers seeking a longer journey can connect the route to Woodridge Loop Trail, for a 5.5-mile round-trip adventure.

Take the US-101 to Thousand Oaks and head north on SR-23. Drive 4 miles and exit at Sunset Hills Blvd. Drive east one block and turn left on Erbes Rd. Go another 0.7-mile and turn right into a dirt parking area for Sunset Hills Trail. Hike 2/3 of a mile up the trail to the top of the first rise with a great perspective of Bard Reservoir. To hike farther, continue up the narrow Sunset Hills Trail, which is nearly overtaken by tall stalks of mustard. Follow a chain-link fence down to Woodridge Loop Trail. Turn left, hiking along the north side of a gated community. When you reach a paved road at the end of the development, turn right. Hike a short distance up to the end of the road and go straight down a dirt trail into a meadow. Wrap around the south and west sides of the estate to complete the loop. Return via Sunset Hills Trail. There isn't a curfew for parking at the trailhead. Dog-friendly!

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