Conejo Ridge Open Space and Skyline Open Space
Today's hike was a bit of misadventure in map reading. I usually print out the paper maps from the COSCA site. I already had this map printed out from a previous hike I did in the Los Robles Open Space, so I highlighted my planned route on the same map. It wasn't easy to find a loop I wanted to take that was about three miles long. The most interesting trails were dead ends or on a much longer loop. I eventually decided on Bobcat Trail and Los Robles Trail, partly because I was amused that the trailhead was across the street from the kids' old preschool and I had never noticed it.
About halfway through my hike, I checked the AllTrails app because I was at an intersection that wasn't shown on the highlighted trail on my paper map, and the trail started to look more treacherous than I expected. I was completely disoriented by the AllTrails map and it didn't show Bobcat Trail. I couldn't even tell from that map where I was in relation to where I thought I was, so I turned around and went back the way I came.
When I got home and pulled up all the maps, I realized what had happened. (More on that below.) I was on the correct trail and if I had kept going, I would have taken the loop I had planned. Instead, I did an out-and-back hike. Oh, well, I still hiked about 3.5 miles.
The full size paper map showing the teeny tiny area where my planned route was.
Paper map view.
The first part of the trail was straight uphill (as usual!) and very pretty.
Long shadow selfie in the morning sun.
Mountain lion tracks.
There was a little loop within a loop on my planned route (far left on the maps above). It goes to the top of a hill and down the other side. This rusty beast was at the bottom of the hill on my way up.
This metal thing (emblem? cap?) was embedded into this little patch of cement at the top of the hill.
This photo was taken at the top of the hill. View of the Conejo Valley facing North and East. Thousand Oaks straight ahead, with bits of Moopark, Simi Valley, and Westlake.
This photo was also taken at the top of the hill. View of the Conejo Valley facing South and West. Westlake and Agoura between the hills on the left. Ocean on the other side of the mountains on the right.
I didn't find the trail leading down the other side of the hill, so I came back down the same way I went up. It was at this intersection that I started up Bobcat Trail, according to the paper map, and Fairview Trail according to the AllTrails map.
This is the AllTrails map that confused me in the app. The blue dot shows where I was. In addition to the trail having a different name, I can now see why I disoriented by this map. You can see Foothill Dr. at the top center of the map. That is where I thought I had started, so I couldn't figure out how I could get from where I was back to that point on the trails. That's why I turned around.
When I got home and looked at all the maps, I realized why I had been disoriented. It is because I needed to scroll farther to the right to see the trailhead I had entered.
This is the AllTrails map I looked at online when I got home. The Foothill Dr. shown on the screenshot from my phone is marked 2 here. The Foothill Dr. where I entered is marked 1 here. When I was on my phone, if I had zoomed out or scrolled more to the right, I probably would've figured it all out.
In the map below, the red is a loop that AllTrails mapped. The blue is the actual route I took. You can see in the middle at the bottom where I turned around and went back. On the return trip, I did not take the little detour up the hill again. (That blue tail on the far left.) The pink is the route I would have taken if I had kept going instead of turning back.
When I was up on top of that hill, looking East over Thousand Oaks and Westlake, I could see a couple hilltop trails that I thought I would like to try. Looking at the full Conejo Open Space map, I was able to figure out which trails they were.
Hillcrest Ridge Trail - White Sage Trail
When I had the full map open, I saw a trail near my house that I didn't know about, and it looks like I can loop it with Las Flores Trail (a horse path that runs alongside the road and the freeway) and Erbes Rd., so that I can start out right at my front door.
Las Flores Trail - Coyote Hill Trail