CONEJO OPEN SPACE CONSERVATION AGENCY
Maps Trail Closure AccessibilityWildlife Trail Safety Endangered Species Cultural Resources
COSCA is dedicated to providing public access to open space areas through the establishment of trails for hiking, biking and equestrian use. Currently there are approximately 152 miles of public multi-purpose trails in Thousand Oaks. These trails link local neighborhoods with open space areas, and provide regional trail connections to trails in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area and adjacent cities.
Trail maps can be obtained at various trail head locations or by contacting COSCA Administrative Offices at (805) 449-2323 or COSCA Ranger Headquarters at (805) 381-2741.
Residents of the Conejo Valley are fortunate to live in such close proximity to an extensive natural open space and trail system. When hiking in open space areas, try to remember these simple rules:
Respect the land as well as the people you encounter along the way.
Protect wildlife, plants, and trees. Safeguard streams, ponds, and lakes.
Stay to the trails, and keep dogs, horses and bicycles under proper control.
Honor the property of others and leave no litter.
The Conejo Open Space Foundation provides additional trail information and volunteer opportunities to the residents of Thousand Oaks at http://www.cosf.org.
Trail Closure Information
For public safety purposes and to prevent trail damage, COSCA trails will be closed during most rain events and will remain closed until mud is no longer present. COSCA trails may also be closed during "red flag" fire weather. Please call the Rangers at 805-402-9551 for trail closure status information before heading out to the trails after a rain event or when a red flag warning is in effect.
Red Flag Warning Policy: When the potential for large fire becomes high in Southern California a “Red Flag Warning” may be issued. Red Flag Warnings occur when the weather is hot and dry and the wind comes from the East. Vegetation over most of Southern California dries out fairly rapidly creating prime fire weather.
During Red Flag conditions please be aware of your surroundings and keep an eye out for smoke. Always let someone know your location, and be prepared to evacuate quickly.
During Red Flag Warnings please adhere to the following guidelines:
Although we always want people to enjoy Conejo Open Space it may become necessary to close the Open Space. Some of the reasons CRPD or COSCA may recommend closing the open space or park sites for fire danger include:
Although most of COSCA’s trails are narrow and traverse hilly terrain, the Oak Creek Canyon Whole Access Trail, located adjacent to 482 S. Greenmeadow Avenue in Thousand Oaks, is suitable for wheelchair users, families with baby strollers, or those seeking a less strenuous open space experience. This natural-surface trail is approximately ¼ mile long (each way) and passes through a shady and beautiful grove of oak trees. A cable handrail and braille interpretive signs are located alongside the trail to aid visually-impaired trail users. Accessible picnic tables and an accessible restroom are available onsite.
COSCA is in the process of developing a mile-long accessible trail alongside Conejo Creek in the Conejo Canyons Open Space in northwestern Thousand Oaks. This trail is expected to be completed following the installation of a multi-use trail bridge in late 2011. Accessible restrooms are located adjacent to the future trailhead.
The Mesa Trail in Wildwood Park offers a barrier-free trail access point adjacent to an accessible drinking fountain and picnic table. Although the sideslope and slope of the Mesa Trail exceed wheelchair accessibility standards by a small margin for a short distance, this gently sloping trail (when accessed from adjacent to the drinking fountain and picnic table) is suitable for families with strollers or small children and those seeking an easy but scenic hike.
Click here for COSCA's policy on Power Driven Mobility Devices.
Natural & Cultural Resources
Below is a brief description of natural and cultural resources within open space areas under COSCA management. The City of Thousand Oaks' Open Space and Conservation Elements of the General Plan provide a great deal of additional information on the local open space system and City policies related to its preservation and management. These documents are available for a nominal fee at the City of Thousand Oaks.
One of the primary purposes of an open space system is to provide a safe, stable environment for native species of plants and animals. Such areas offer Thousand Oaks residents the increasingly rare opportunity of observing wildlife in its natural habitat. Common mammal species found in Thousand Oaks include Mule Deer, Bobcats, Coyotes, Striped Skunks, and Raccoons.
Rare & Endangered Species
Each of the living things we see around us today is the result of a long evolutionary process of adaptation to its environment. In general, those plants and animals which are well adapted are able to reproduce successfully and are usually well represented in natural communities. Today, destruction or loss of habitat is the single greatest threat to rare or uncommon species of plants and animals. Therefore, the preservation of natural areas is an extremely important step in ensuring their survival.
Open space surrounding the City of Thousand Oaks provides habitat for several plants and animals which have been designated by Federal or State authorities as having rare, endangered, or threatened status, including the Lyon's Pentachaeta (Pentachaeta lyonii), which is found only in the Conejo Valley. These plants and animals are the gems of our open space system and we must all take an active part in ensuring their preservation.
The Conejo Corridor, which includes significant portions of the City of Thousand Oaks, holds a bountiful legacy of archaeological resources, encompassing a remarkable variety of site types and an important record of lengthy human occupation. For over 1,000 years before European exploration, the area was an integral enclave of Chumash Indian territory. Most sites from this Late Prehistoric period (A.D. 500-Historic Contact) yield abundant evidence on the ecological equilibrium which characterized lifeways before the arrival of non-natives. A rare few offer eloquent testimony, including painted polychrome depictions in sheltered rock overhangs, that documents the traumatic nature of initial interaction between the two diverse cultures.
Earliest inhabitants were transient hunters (12,000 B.C.), but cultural ancestors of modern Chumash imprinted the Corridor with significant habitation clues at least 7,000 years ago. The Millingstone (5,500 B.C.-1,500 B.C.) and Intermediate (1,500 B.C.-A.D. 500) periods witnessed year-round, multi-purpose use by a growing demographic entity. During these ancient times a number of site types evolved, including permanent villages, semi-permanent seasonal stations, hunting camps, and gathering localities focused on plant resources. People lived largely in open sites along stream courses and also in caves and rock shelters, some of which held paintings and were used for ceremonial purposes.
Extensive trade networks were established with areas further inland and with large coastal villages, especially at Mugu and Malibu. At some Conejo sites which have been investigated by archaeologists, preservation of artifacts and food remains has been excellent, allowing scholars to reconstruct many details of daily life, seasonal changes, and the evolution of long term social patterns. Unusually noteworthy recoveries in recent years include bear bone whistles, flutes of California condor bones, and small stone bowls with traces of red pigment. Proper management of remaining archaeological resources assures that many more exciting discoveries are yet to be made.