Rock Star

With its craggy sandstone formations and otherworldly summit views, Rocky Peak in Simi Valley always puts on a…

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With its craggy sandstone formations and otherworldly summit views, Rocky Peak in Simi Valley always puts on a good show. And right now the hike up to this dramatic vista is sharing the spotlight with vivid blooms. The Chumash Trail is your backstage pass: its trailhead is hidden in a residential area. The route to the top begins with a 2.5-mile moderate incline that curves through grasslands dappled with coastal sage scrub like purple needlegrass and giant rye. Wild roses, woolly blue curls and yellow mustard plant jostle for attention in the chaparral. Soon the park’s jagged outcroppings upstage the flora as you begin a mile-long walk along a rocky ridge. When the road ends, continue on a lightly trodden trail that scrambles to the top of 2,715-foot-high Rocky Peak—the third highest in the Santa Susana Mountains. The Simi and San Fernando valleys unfurl below, and on clear days you’ll see the Santa Monica Mountains to the south and the Los Padres National Forest to the northwest. Perch on a pockmarked boulder for this scenic intermission, then head back down for an encore. Rock out!

This is a 7.5-mile (round-trip) out-and-back hiking route. To reach Rocky Peak Park from I-405 in the San Fernando Valley, take Highway 118 west into Simi Valley; exit Yosemite Ave. and turn right (north). Go one-half mile and turn right on Flanagan Dr.; follow for three quarters of a mile to the Chumash trailhead and park along the street. Here’s a map of Rocky Peak Park. After 2.5 miles on the Chumash Trail (markers appear every half mile), head south (right) at the unposted T-junction with Rocky Peak fire road. Continue for 1.25 miles until the road ends; take the faint-use trail at the end to the summit. Return the way you came. Dog-friendly! Photo by phot0matt.

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