Spidey Senses

Hike Tarantula Hill in Thousand Oaks Then Visit Tarantula Hill Brewing

A woman sitting on a bench at the top of Tarantula Hill in Thousand Oaks California

How many legs does a tarantula have? Hint: We’ve got eight good reasons to visit Tarantula Hill in Thousand Oaks: incredible 360-degree vistas, good workout, easy suburban access, perfect for all skill levels, dense chaparral flora, a neighboring botanic garden, a bonus brewery and, of course, opportunities to see the hill’s namesake arachnids—tarantulas! Spin a hiking web on a 1-mile out-and-back up Tarantula Hill, followed by a 1-mile DIY loop through Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, then refresh with a local witch’s brew (okay, tasty beer from Tarantula Brewing).

A woman standing at the Tarantula Hill sign at the base of the hill

A tarantula ornament on the fence at Tarantula Hill in Thousand Oaks California

A woman hiking the wide, paved trail at Tarantula Hill in Thousand Oaks California

Find the trailhead along Gainsborough Road in Thousand Oaks, with ample street parking under giant oaks. Start on a paved road heading southwest that climbs 275 feet in just a half a mile, wrapping around the hill with constant views of surrounding suburbia. Pass impressive thickets of prickly pear cacti and plenty of tall grasses, under which apparently the eponymous specimens can be found scurrying (and it's mating season so chances are good you'll spy some spiders!). If you don’t catch sight of a live creepy crawler, the trailhead has replicas celebrating the hill’s namesakes. 

A woman looking out to the Santa Monica Mountains from the trail at Tarantula Hill in Thousand Oaks

A woman walking on a trail at Tarantula Hill with cacti off to the side of the trail.

A couple taking a selfie at Dawn Peak on Tarantula Hill overlooking the Santa Monica Mountains

At the apex (1,057 feet), also known as Dawn’s Peak, take a bench seat by the reservoir, and drink in the awesome vista. From here you can see Boney Mountain Peak in the Santa Monica Mountains framing the surrounding suburban landscape, as well as the Topa Topas of Los Padres to the north. 

Woman passing by the official signs for Conejo Valley Botanic Garden in Conejo Community Park Thousand Oaks

BONUS BOTANICAL AND BREWS: After descending, cross the street to find the Conejo Valley Botanic Garden, a hidden suburban oasis full of indigenous and exotic floral discoveries. Wander the many paths, meandering under coast redwoods and towering pines, and by Chilean, South African, and Australian gardens, to name a few. When you’ve had your flower fill, go celebrate a different type of plant—hops! Tarantula Hill Brewing Co. is a spanking new establishment just down the road, one that offers great beers and great food (try the pizzas) in a huge space. Hopheads will have their spidey senses tingling for the bitter varieties, but they’ve spun a nice web of rotating drafts (like a POG sour) and guest taps too. Talk about creepin’ it real! 

Two beers in front of beer making equipment at Tarantula Brewing Company in Thousand Oaks California

pizza and two beers at Tarantula Brewing Company in Thousand Oaks California

Woman standing outside of Tarantula Brewing Co. in Thousand Oaks California

To get to Tarantula Hill trailhead and street parking, take the US-101 to the Lynn Rd. exit and head north. After 0.7 mile, turn right onto Gainsborough Rd. Find the trailhead on your left after another 0.7 mile. Dog-friendly!

Story and photos by Matt Pawlik

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