Happy Camp Canyon Loop
The last time we were here was January 18, 2011, and so here we are again.
Happy Camp Canyon Park, north of Moorpark in the Santa Susana Mountains, was home to several Chumash Indian groups. Later, it was part of the immense Strathearn Ranch, founded by a pioneer Simi Valley family. They ran cattle on the land and enjoyed family vacations in the back part of the canyon.
The 3,000 acre park has retained its natural setting and is an important wildlife corridor linking the Simi Hills with the Santa Susana Mountains. It is a lush riparian oak woodland with an intermittant stream. The canyon is sheltered by Oak Ridge to the north and Big Mountain to the south.
This loop hike will follow the Happy Camp Trail through the interior of the park on an abandoned ranch road. The trail winds through open grasslands and the gorgeous stream-fed forested canyon. Wildlife include rabbits, bobcats and Golden Eagles.
Highlights along the way:
-oyster and clam rich shales
-yellow and red rock outcroppings – formed from underground oil fires
Hike is strenuous at 11 miles and 1850 ft total ascent
Directions to trail head
From the 118 Fwy in Simi or the 101/23 Fwys in Thousand Oaks, take the E Los Angeles Ave/23 North exit. Go west 1 mile to Moorpark Av (Hwy 23) and turn right (north). Proceed north 2.6 miles on Hwy 23 (name will change to Walnut Canyon Rd) until you come to a bend in the road. Don’t take the bend — Go straight onto Happy Camp Rd and then an immediate right on Broadway Rd. Park in lot at the east end of the road.
Last time I was here there was a $5 parking fee in official lot, but some free parking outside the official lot on street.
Trail statistics are approximate. For safety purposes always assume they are underestimated. But don’t be disappointed if they are overestimated. Bring more water and snacks than you think you’ll need.
Trail descriptions are based on previous hikes. Current conditions are unknown until arrival. Expect the unexpected and plan accordingly.
The Organizers and members in this group are not professional leaders, guides, or mountaineers. The function of the member or organizer is only to organize the trip. Each person who shows up for a trip/meetup (and their guest or guests) is responsible for his or her own safety. By attending a hike, or any other event organized by this group, you are acknowledging that you and any guests that you bring are aware of the risks, dangers and hazards associated with the activity and freely accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers and hazards, and further agree to release and discharge the Organizers, Members of the Hiking With Dean Meetup Group from and against any and all liability arising from your participation in the group activities per the ASSUMPTION OF RISK AND LIABILITY WAIVER.
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