If you've hiked only chunks of the long, meandering Los Robles Trail in Thousand Oaks, here's a chance to trek it from one end to the other.
The Outdoor Advisory Council to the Conejo Recreation and Park District is organizing an 9.8-mile mega-hike on the trail Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at Triunfo Canyon Community Park in the east end of Thousand Oaks.
If you're the solitary type, take note: The group is prepared for a crowd of up to 200 people signing on for the special hike. It's a fund-raiser for the district's outdoor program, so it isn't free. The cost is $15.
For that, hikers get seven district naturalists to point out sights along the way, lunch at the end, and a bus ride back to the start. The whole affair will wrap up by 3 p.m.
More than that, they'll get some striking views as the trail winds its way through Thousands Oaks along the western slope of the Santa Monica Mountains. The hike is called the "Ring of Green," a reference to the city's hope of one day ringing Thousand Oaks with a system of linking trails.
The group will assemble at the west end of Triunfo Canyon Community Park where the Los Robles trail head is located, near the mouth of the canyon. But it won't be a mob scene on the trail. Hikers will divide into groups, each assigned to a naturalist. Some will move along faster than others, but everyone should be finished by 2 p.m.
Tagging along with a naturalist will open your eyes. They point out sights that most people would overlook, like the yerba mansa plant the Chumash Indians used for medicinal needs or the tufts of the brown amole plant they used to make soap.
Kathy Myers, with the district's outdoor unit, calls the route moderate to difficult. The trail is wide and well-groomed, but there are switchbacks. Participants will be supplied with trail maps.
As the trail starts out, it takes you near some oak groves and one magnificently sprawling Valley Oak. As it climbs, you'll find yourself in dusty, brown, chaparral country. But if you look for them, there are fall bloomers along the trail: the tiny purple daisy-like fleabane and the red California fuchsia.
As you climb, you can look eastward and see the silvery waters of Westlake, and later Lake Sherwood and Hidden Valley. Farther along, you'll see the city of Thousand Oaks sprawled below. The halfway marker is approximately at the Moorpark Road trail head, near the Arts Council Center.
The route will take you across ground ravaged by the wildfires nearly a year ago. But the area has re-vegetated quickly and evidence of the fires is fast disappearing.
The steepest part of the trail is a series of switchbacks up Rasnow Peak that tops out at an elevation of about 1,500 feet. From there you can see the ocean, and on a good day, Anacapa Island.
The hike winds up on West Potrero Road, a half-mile east of Wendy Drive, at the Deer Ridge trail head. There, hikers will take a bus ride back to Triunfo Canyon Community Park and be treated to a tri-tip lunch (vegetarian fare also available).
* WHAT: "Ring of Green" hike, an 9.8-mile walk on Los Robles Trail, sponsored by the Outdoor Advisory Council of the Conejo Recreation and Park District
* WHERE: Meet at Triunfo Canyon Community Park, Triunfo Canyon Road and Tamarack Street, Thousand Oaks. Go to the Los Robles trail head at the west end of the park
* WHEN: Saturday beginning at 9 a.m.
* COST: $15
* FYI: Bring water, sunscreen, a snack. Long pants, long sleeves and a hat are recommended. Wear hiking shoes if possible. No dogs or strollers allowed
* ETC.: Preregistration is required. Call 494-8301