All Stories from Ventura County

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    Big Sycamore, Big Views

    The coolest part of the Big Sycamore Canyon Loop Trail in Point Mugu State Park? Every stretch offers something new, from rocky bluffs to grassy valleys, coastal views to majestic mountains. This 9-mile (round-trip) trail is best hiked in a counterclockwise direction. That way…

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    Friendly Fields

    Underwood Family Farms is in Moorpark, but its bounty and beauty make you feel like you’re in the Midwest. The pick-your-own crops include zucchinis as large as your forearm, peppers in every color of the rainbow, and several varieties of tomatoes. Yes, real tomatoes—the kind…

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    Gulls Getaway

    The Anacapa wildlife spectacle begins almost as soon as you pull away from Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard. First up are playful common dolphins, and if you’re lucky, humpback and migrating gray whales. As you approach, you’ll see (and hear) noisy California sea lions and harbor…

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    At Play on Rocky Peak

    Big views, big boulders, and a great hike are all good reasons to rock out on the Rocky Peak Trail in Simi Valley. It takes you on a gradual ascent (about 1,000 feet in gain) for nearly five miles to (surprise!) a rocky peak whose 2,715-foot summit straddles the border between…

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    River, Meet Ocean

    The city of Ventura is officially known as Buenaventura, meaning “good fortune.” That applies to one of the least-known but most abundant estuaries in the region, where the Ventura River meets the Pacific Ocean at Emma Wood State Beach. If you have the good fortune to visit, you…

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    Ojai’s Wet Side

    Just a few miles west of the serene, artsy community of Ojai is the very different world of Lake Casitas—fabled among bass fishers, and delightful for anyone who enjoys playing on or near the water. While you can explore the Lake Casitas Recreation Area by bike or on foot (a 1.…

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    Island Traverse

    As the largest of the Channel Islands, Santa Cruz also has bragging rights to two mountain ranges. And boy does this place pack a punch for adventure-seekers. For a grand (and grandly scenic) tour, lace up the boots and go on a 15-mile (one-way) backpacking trek that traverses…

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    Pretty View Campground

    Chula vista means “pretty view,” and whoever named Chula Vista Campground in the Los Padres National Forest was right on the mark. The views extend all around and even upward to the heavens. Situated at 8,300 feet near the summit of Mount Pinos, Chula Vista is the best stargazing…

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    Big Sycamore Canyon

    After a five-year drought, winter rains have reawakened a waterfall hidden deep within Big Sycamore Canyon and turned it into a spring fantasy. See for yourself on a 4.7-mile loop trail starting at Rancho Sierra Vista. From the main parking lot, head southeast on a dirt trail…

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    La Jolla Canyon

    Hiking La Jolla Canyon in Point Mugu State Park after winter rains is like entering a lost world. That usually bone-dry creek bed? It’s a flowing river. Those brown hillsides? They’re alive with green and mottled with flowers. And that precipitous wall at the head of the canyon…

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    El Lobo

    Embark on a 13-mile hike that takes you across part of Santa Rosa Island’s interior, down a canyon, and along a spectacular coastline of cliffs, coves, and tide pools.

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    The Comeback Pine

    The Torrey pine is now the rarest pine in the United States. On Santa Rosa Island, you can visit one of its last seaside groves—with some trees dating back 250 years—on a 4.5-mile trek. From the campground, head east down Coastal Road for 1.5 miles over tan grasslands interrupted…

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    This Skunk Doesn't Stink

    On Santa Rosa Island, an all-day hiking expedition to Skunk Point unfolds like chapters of a geographic fairy tale. You’ll cross several distinct terrains on a 11-mile lollipop loop tracing the coastal crescent of Bechers Bay—from grasslands and pine woodland to coastal marsh and…

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    Ocean's Edge

    Tightly wedged beside the 101 Freeway and downtown Ventura, and divided by the Southern Pacific Railroad, Emma Wood State Beach is mostly known for RV camping. Meh. But wait … beyond the motor homes and rail tracks lies a little gem! The sandy Ocean’s Edge Trail has a cobblestone…

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    Caves, Waves, and a Greenroom

    Etched into volcanic rock awhirl with swooping brown pelicans, sea caves make for dramatic echo chambers, hissing with foam and swelling with ocean waves. And you, in the thick of adventure! Don’t miss exploring one of the Channel Islands’ most dynamic stretches of coast on a…

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    Jetty for La Jenelle

    The La Jenelle was a 467-foot luxury cruise liner before retiring to Port Hueneme Harbor with plans to become a floating restaurant. Then a severe storm ripped her from her moorings, where she capsized and was battered beyond repair by the waves. This sad story has an interesting…

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    Ojai and Mighty

    Blazed just over five years ago, Kennedy Ridge Trail climbs into a chaparral region above Ojai Valley once accessible only to wild creatures and the most daring bushwackers. Visit the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy’s Ventura River Preserve to hike this 5-mile out-and-back route…

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    Channel Island Smuggler

    One of the best hikes in Channel Islands National Park traverses Santa Cruz Island, offering panoramic vistas and leading to a secluded cove. The 7.5-mile (round-trip) hike to Smuggler’s Cove starts at Scorpion Anchorage and ascends a singletrack trail with sweeping views of…

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    Cave In!

    The Cave of Munits is an awe-inspiring cavern of impressive heights. And it’s located just outside suburbia. Starting at El Escorpión Park will get you there quickly, but the cave is best savored after a bit of effort on a 2.7-mile loop hike through the rolling hills of Upper Las…

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    Who's Your Caddy?

    Love _Caddyshack? _Channel Bill Murray’s character, Carl Spackler, by doing the next best thing to golfing. Go frolfing! Also known as disc golf, the game has gained popularity over the years. You toss discs into chain-link baskets and move along to the next section of course…