The hills are green and the flowers are still blooming. This one is fit beginner friendly. There are several junctions and we will stop to regroup so no one gets left behind. Please read the stats. Best to park outside the gate on the street in case we get back after sunset.
Distance: 5 miles
Elevation Gain: <500 feet
Level: 3/10, fit beginners, slow to moderate pace
The Trail: Single track, loop
Parking: $3 fee at iron ranger (cash or check) or limited street parking outside the lot
We’ll start on E Las Virgenes Canyon Road and take a side trip to Lasky Mesa. Take Crummer Ranch Road to another portion of E Las Virgenes to complete the loop.
“Lasky Mesa is named for Jesse L. Lasky, a vaudeville performer turned pioneering film producer who formed a production company with Oscar Apfel and Cecil B. DeMille in 1913. The company rented a barn in the Cahuenga Pass to shoot DeMille’s first film The Squaw Man in 1914 – Hollywood’s first feature film (today the barn still stands and is the home of the Hollywood Heritage Museum). Lasky used the mesa and nearby ranch house for his ‘big scenes,’ including films like Gone With the Wind, They Died With Their Boots On, The Charge of the Light Brigade, and television shows like Petticoat Junction.” -Modern Hiker
From the 101, take the Valley Circle Boulevard exit and head north for 2.1 miles. Take a left onto Victory Boulevard. The Victory Trailhead will be at the end of the street.
From the 118, exit south on Topanga Canyon. Turn right, heading west, on Victory Boulevard and drive all the way to the end.
Great story by Modern Hiker:
In the late 1990s, executives at the now-defunct bank Washington Mutual had their eyes on a nearly 3,000 acre tract of ranch land in the western San Fernando Valley near Calabasas, Simi Valley, Woodland Hills, and Agoura. The land was formerly owned by the Ahmanson Family, one of the most influential families in the history of the Los Angeles area. The bank had come into ownership of the mostly undeveloped land and had plans to build a 3,050 home housing development. Opposition was fierce among local environmentalists, who appreciated the area’s rare open space, wide meadows, wetlands, and seasonal waterfalls, and the development plans immediately ran into some problems.
Initial environmental impact reports estimated the leveling of the very hilly land for houses would have created some 20,000 tons of airborne dust, 46,000 vehicle trips per day and more than 840 tons of new smog per year. After the report was filed, scientists discovered the ranch was also one of only two existing habitats for the San Fernando Valley Spineflower, which was thought tho be extinct, as well as habitat for the Red-Legged Frog, which was added to the Federal Endangered Species list after the housing development plans were announced.
According to the site Ahmanson.org, which documented the events, Washington Mutual pressed onward with the plan despite the public opposition. Opponents organized boycotts of Washington Mutual, dutifully attended public hearings on the property, and purchased radio ads in Washington Mutual’s hometown of Seattle criticizing its actions in Southern California.
In 2003, Washington Mutual instead agreed to sell the land to the State of California, and the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve was formed – bordered on the west by the already existing 2,650 acre Upper Las Virgenes Open Space Park. The land became protected, and Washington Mutual rode off into the sunset (and the financial collapse of 2008).
Today, visitors can thank the activists of the early aughts for preserving this incredible open space – a reminder of what the Valley looked like before housing developments, strip malls, and freeway interchanges.
This sprawling, expansive green space is littered with wide fire roads, old ranch trails, and mountain bike trails, and is a popular destination for hikers, bikers, and equestrians of all abilities – especially on the weekend.
The Fine Print
PLEASE – Know your limits and abilities. Bring snacks and drink plenty of liquids when hiking. Check weather conditions and dress accordingly and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Watching out for poison oak, snakes, ticks, uneven footing, spectacular views, beautiful fauna all while interacting with awesome (usually) fellow hikers can be extremely hazardous, rewarding and fun.
The Farzan Rule: Posted hike times are the time the hike starts or we leave from a posted shuttle location. I’m aware other Meetup groups offer a grace period for late arrivals; we don’t. It’s your responsibility to know the location of the meeting spot and be there and ready to participate at the posted time. If you have any concerns about the directions feel free to contact the organizer of the event, preferably in advance of the event and not at the start time. I’m of the opinion that it’s not fair to delay an event when the majority of attendees have arrived on-time. (so named after a conversation I had with a certain un-named member)
RSVP’s: If you RSVP for an event be responsible and update your RSVP if your plans change. If your plans change at the last second and you’re not able to update your RSVP also let us know. In my opinion a no-show is someone who has no regard for following the guidelines we request from our members and will risk being removed from future events that have a limit.
VHC HIKE RATING SCALE
Rating a hike is subjective, meaning the difficulty of a hike will be in direct relation to how often you hike and the type of hike you prefer. Keep in mind that any hike can have the following: un-even hiking surfaces, various obstructions, water and/or water crossings or bouldering and/or rock hopping. A great hike will have all of these!
1 – A long walk
2 – 4 mile hike w/little elevation gain
3 – 5 mile hike w/up to1000 ft. elevation gain
4 – 5+ mile hike w/up to1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increases at times)
5 – 7+ mile hike w/over 1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increasing even more at times)
6 – 7+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be trying to remember how to perform CPR)
7 – 5+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be muttering expletives to yourself)
8 – 10+ mile hike w/over 3500 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be angry with the hike leader)
9 – 10+ mile hike w/over 5000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be thinking of reporting the hike leader to the authorities)
10 – Use your imagination
Class 3 Scrambling: Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands at times to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of boulders, steepness and extreme terrain. Some Class 3 routes have ropes in place for assistance.
DISCLAIMER / RELEASE OF LIABILITY
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ BELOW IN ITS ENTIRETY:
I am a volunteer (i.e. not liable for the group). Safety is a priority for everyone in the group. Think of this as hiking with a group of friends.
Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you’re taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The VHC Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions. If you choose to sign up for any VHC Meetup events, you are releasing the VHC Meetup Group and it’s organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries as stated in paragraph 6.2 of the Meetup “Terms of Service” located on the bottom of the Meetup website. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.