Hike Tarantula Hill in Thousand Oaks Then Visit Tarantula Hill Brewing
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).
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.
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.
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!
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
Bring the Outdoors to Your Inbox
Sign up for our weekly email and stay up to date on where to explore in California.* No spam, that’s a funky food!