Officially known as The Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve, our hike takes place in the what is more familiarly (and catchier) known as Ahmanson Ranch. Ahmanson is really only half of the giant parkland that comprises ULVCOSP (even the abbreviation is unwieldy), but its rich history should be enough all on its own.
What became known as Ahmanson Ranch was passed down from the Spanish (who took it from the Native Americans) to the Mexicans, to a US Congressman, to a movie producer, to the dreaded housing developers (until heroic activists harangued the developers into selling to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy so we can hike it to our hearts content.
With recent rains, the grassland is a beautiful green color; let's enjoy it while we can, because it will brown up really quickly once the rains stop.
Among the movies made here is Gone With the Wind, and the famous sunrise scene where Scarlett O'Hara vows to never go hungry again was shot on Lasky Mesa in the park.
The vast open space of the park was a natural for ranching, with only random oak trees interrupting oceans of rare Purple Needlegrass.
Also rare is the San Fernando Valley Spineflower, thought to be extinct until it was discovered here in 1999, and the Red Legged Frog, which has been placed on the endangered species list. This is the only wildlife corridor from Simi Valley to the Santa Monica Mountains, so a wide range of animals makes its way through the park.
For our part in this historical drama, we'll be looping through the park for just under 9 miles, swooping up and down the rolling hills for about 1200 feet of total elevation gain. This is open, sunny, wind-swept land, so wear sunscreen. Later in the year, gaiters are also a good idea, as the grasslands can be rife with foxtails. We're early enough in the season that they shouldn't be a problem right now.
From the 101: Turn north on Las Virgenes Canyon Rd and follow it a couple of miles to the end. Park along the side of the road.
DISCLAIMER / RELEASE OF LIABILITY
IMPORTANT, PLEASE READ BELOW IN ITS ENTIRETY:
The hike host is a volunteer and not responsible for the group. Safety should be a priority for everyone in the group. Please treat this meet-up as hiking with a group of friends. If you become fatigued and unable to continue the hike, it is expected you will advise the hike host of this and return to our starting point on your own. If you are able to proceed, it is expected that you will maintain line of sight with other members of the group at all times and help to promote the group’s safety and fitness goals.
Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you are taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The Weekday Trailblazers Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions.
If you choose to sign up for this or any Weekday Trailblazers Meetup event, you are releasing the Weekday Trailblazers Meetup Group and its organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.
All participants must be 18 or older, or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.