Thursday, June 16, 2011

DAY 214: Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail in Lang Ranch

The Front Door to the Indian Caves

DAY 214: Juan Bautista de Anza Historic Trail in Lang Ranch
Date: Thursday June 16, 2011
Miles: 5.25
Elevation Gain: 800 Feet
Time: 1.5 hours
Difficulty: Gradual hills but perfect for a mountain bike or trail runners
Reward: The Secret of the Indian Caves is uncovered; ~sort of...
Description: Loop the Lang Ranch Open Space on an easy and scenic trail
Where: Thousand Oaks, CA
Directions:From the 101 Freeway in Thousand Oaks, head north on the 23 and exit on Avenida de los Arboles.  Turn right and take Arboles to the end (about 1.5 miles).  Turn right on Westlake Blvd and then turn left on Lang Ranch Parkway (follow the sign to the Chumash Museum).  Drive to the end of the road and park:

 Albertson Motorway Trailhead

 Look to the right, Chumash Village (From the Museum)

 Large black birds above were crowing; I kawed back

 Trail junction 0.4 miles in turn left; you'll go up and away from the rock

 0.9 miles to the top, turn right on the single track trail...

 SNAKE!  Two days in a row!!!

I don't think this was a rattler, like yesterday, but the guy didn't move and I didn't want to force him.  Rather than take my chances jumping, I turned back.  It's ok, I had a back up plan.  --A backward plan?  (Inside Joke).  I headed back to the main trail after traveling about 0.5 miles extra.  I didn't consider this a waste because the flowers were colorful along the route but my camera phone has real low resolution so it wasn't worth uploading.  At the main trail, the overlook beyond joined up with the Autumn Ridge Trail, which I hiked on Day 51

 Autumn Ridge & Sunrise Trail Connector

This is a four way intersection.  Loop around to the right to head back towards the mysterious Indian Caves.  You are on a trail known as "Juan Bautista de Anza National Historic Trail".  Juan Bautista de Anza lived in the 18th century and hiked 1210 miles from Yuma Mexico to San Francisco.  He is best known for leading groups of people to settle the Monterey area and lived the last 12 years of his life as governor of New Mexico.  I've linked a couple websites for quick reads and trail history:

Rejoining the Albertson Motorway ahead, but first go down...
 The earth moves here...

 to the left of this tree, dirt continuously fell every few seconds
(Imagine 50 years ago, this tree's roots were completely covered)

So there it is; the Indian Caves are just beyond that fence!

I respected the sign and did not trespass.  Somewhere beyond this huge rock are pictographs from the Chumash Indians.  Amazing geology here and I will pay the money to take the tour!  If you look up and to the right on the picture above, the near distant peak is where I was yesterday.  From being up there, it is possible to scramble the rock to reach the upper face of this one.  There are no signs up there to say "Stay Out" but I wouldn't recommend searching for the caves.  From the Albertson Trail, there are two blocked off sections to gain entrance.  I walked the "Closed to Public" posting right in front of this rock but it lead to a locked fence.

Meanwhile, as you hike back, the trail will fork.  I tried the lower fork and right away I realized there was a fence, so I wandered back up.  The area is accessible from the Museum.  I will need to return to hike the entire section between Albertson & Oakbrook Vista.  It does not connect to either because of the fence.

What's wrong with my foot?  9 days until my 20-mile overnight hike.  A group of guys, myself and my son will be taking on the Willet Hot Springs next weekend.  Not much elevation but with the heavy back pack, water crossings, and my son, it will be a challenge!  I bought new shoes for only the 2nd time since I started this blog.  I guess my foot is not taking well to them, but I switched up the gels and anticipate full return of my foot soon.  It's all purple again, oh well, I'll hobble!


  1. Yeck, purple feet doesn't sound good!

    Very scenic hike. I'm not sure how it all links together, but part of the Anza trail cuts through the Puente Hills, too.

    And, yep, the snake you have pictured today looks like a gopher snake, though, like you, I would probably not put my foot in a position to find out for sure!




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