The Hillcrest Open Space Preserve contains roughly ten miles of trails that run along the crests of several steep hills and feature great views of the surrounding Conejo and Simi Valleys, and Santa Monica and Santa Susana Mountains. A few spur trails connect the two main trails: the 4.7-mile Hillcrest Ridge Trail and the 4.8-mile White Sage Trail. Both trails gain over 1000 feet in elevation, giving hikers a good workout. This cardio challenge is actually one of the site's main draws; it's a popular choice for trail runners and people training for longer hikes.
You can access one trailhead from East Hillcrest Drive, but there is no
dedicated parking nearby. The Conejo Open Space Foundation recommends
parking at the trailhead at the intersection of La Granada Drive and Crown View Court. There is no lot, but there is ample on-street parking. You can make the Hillcrest Ridge Trail, White Sage Trail, or a combination of both into either an out-and-back route or a loop. You can also use connecting trails to make shorter loops. Based on how you plan your hike, your total miles can range from two to ten.
The rolling hills feature open grassland and sage scrub environments. With no shade and total sun exposure, this hike can be quite hot. Scenery on the way up is sparse, though in the spring and summer, wildflowers, including mustard and foxtails wash the hills in splashes of yellow and purple. The crests are great spots for birdwatching and photography. From these high vantage points, you'll enjoy a 360-degree view of the surrounding hills, valleys, and neighborhoods in Thousand Oaks. Sunsets can be quite spectacular from up here. It's also a great place to observe and photograph rare weather patterns and cloud formations.
If the Hillcrest Open Space Preserve had a motto, it would be this: come for the challenge, but stay for the amazing views.