5 Scenic Hiking Trails Near West Hills: Explore Cave of Munits, Castle Park & More!
West Hills, Los Angeles, is a great community to live in for anyone who enjoys getting outdoors for a hike. Since it's situated in the hills on the western edge of the San Fernando Valley, the West Hills neighborhood has direct access to numerous outdoor areas and trails. This community of luxury homes and single-family detached homes is adjacent to multiple canyons and the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve. These areas provide ample opportunity to go for a hike in the hills. Be sure to bring water!
Cave of Munits & Castle Peak In El Escorpión Park
The Cave of Munits and Castle Peak in El Escorpión Park should only be attempted by fit and experienced hikers. It features some steep inclines and a climb through a unique chimney cave. Once a hiker emerges from the top of the cave, they're faced with another 500 feet of steep incline to reach the top of Castle Peak. While challenging, this is a rewarding hike that affords some of the best views possible of West Hills and the rest of the San Fernando Valley. On a clear day, the Los Angeles skyline can be viewed in the distance to the southwest.
El Escorpión Park is located between West Hills and the neighboring Bell Canyon community. Most people park along the street on Sunset Ridge Court to attempt this hike unless they live in one of the nearby townhomes by the base of the trailhead. Follow the dirt path where it sets off from the street, and turn left at the first junction in the trail. This leads up a shallow incline until the Cave of Munits can be viewed on the right. The initial portion of the hike features about a 250-foot elevation change to the base of the cave.
The cave can be entered from the base. No ropes are required to climb it, but it is a bit of a scramble to get up and through the cave. Only experienced hikers should attempt this. Once emerging from the top of the cave, there is a steep incline to reach the top of Castle Peak. It can't be stressed enough: bring water! This last stretch of the hike to the top of Castle Peak is about 500 feet in the exposed desert sun. It's hot and steep, so be prepared to set out. The total hike is about three miles out-and-back, with a total elevation change of more than 700 feet.
Top of Topanga Overlook
Topanga Canyon Boulevard marks the eastern boundary of the West Hills neighborhood. For a short hike offering great views of the San Gabriel Mountains, drive south through the Woodland Hills neighborhood to the parking lot at 3400 North Topanga Canyon Blvd. This is the main parking lot for the Top of Topanga Overlook. The Overlook is a nine-acre site with restrooms, picnic tables, interpretive displays, and a drinking fountain. There's also a short trail within the site itself.
Look for a trail directly across the street from the parking lot for a more challenging hike. This is a steep one-mile trail that climbs more than 1,600 feet to the top. The views are spectacular from every direction at the top of this challenging but short hike.
Mary Wiesbrock Loop Trail
The Mary Wiesbrock Loop Trail can be found next door to West Hills in the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve. A free parking lot is at the far western end of Victory Boulevard in West Hills; as a point of reference, Victory Boulevard runs east from West Hills to the Van Nuys community and Valley Glen neighborhood. There is a myriad of outdoor activities you can do daily in Valley Glen, making it another LA community that outdoor enthusiasts should consider. This lot is the main access point to the system of trails running through this open space.
To reach the Mary Wiesbrock Loop Trail, head into the hills on Moore Canyon Road. Take a left at the first junction onto E. Las Virgenes Canyon Road. These wide dirt paths are suitable for both hiking and mountain biking. This road, also known as the Ahmanson Ranch House Trail, leads to the Mary Wiesbrock Loop Trail.
The loop is a relatively easy 1.3-mile trail that circles Laskey Mesa. The total hike is about 3.6 miles round trip, with a mild elevation gain of 360 feet. It takes about 90 minutes to hike up to the loop trail, circle the mesa, and return to the parking lot.
Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyon
Cheeseboro and Palo Comado Canyon is an open space with trails a bit further west of West Hills. The trailhead access is located on the far eastern edge of the city of Agoura Hills at 5792 Chesebro Road. The main parking lot is free to use and open from 8:00 a.m. until sunset every day. There are public restrooms available near the parking lot. Bring drinking water because this is another moderate hike through the desert hills with some elevation changes.
To fully hike the canyon out and back is 10.5 miles in distance, with an elevation change of about 1,000 feet. There are both easy and challenging loops. Hiking the entire system takes about six hours. The dirt paths leading into Cheeseboro and Palo Comada are suitable for hiking and mountain biking, and leashed dogs are welcome on the trail with their owners. It gets sweltering in these hills, so the best time to visit is in the fall, winter, and spring.
Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve Trail
The Mary Wiesbrock trail above is part of the Las Virgenes Open Space Preserve Trail system. Another way to reach the trail system in this open space is by following Crummer Canyon Road north of Mureau Road, which is on the southern border of the Hidden Hills neighborhood. This road leads directly to the Mary Wiesbrock trail and continues into the hills. There's a big orange sign at the base of this trailhead, so it's easy to find.
An 8.6-mile system of trails runs through the open space, offering rewarding views of high desert landscape, wildflowers, and occasionally some wildlife like ground squirrels. Hiking the entire system of trails takes about four hours total and features an elevation change of roughly 1850 feet. There are some moderate climbs along these dirt pathways, and as always, be sure to bring some water. Mornings are the best time to explore these trails before the hot afternoon weather arrives.
West Hills is a Hiker's Paradise
Both hikers and mountain bikers love the outdoor spaces near West Hills, Los Angeles. While these trails are not generally crowded, there are always a few people out exploring the best parks in West Hills and the trails that run through them. Just remember that the San Fernando Valley's heat in the summertime can turn any hike into a challenge. Hikers should exercise caution, take their time, and bring plenty of water to enjoy the experience.
Thinking about moving to the West Hills neighborhood? Contact The Brad Korb Real Estate Group with LA Homes at (818) 953-5300 to locate your West Hills dream house.
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