Whether you live in Conejo Valley and are looking for inspiration to get outside, or if you are planning a getaway to the area and need ideas of the best outdoor activities in Conejo Valley – you’ve come to the right spot! Conejo Valley is just on the other side of the Santa Monica Mountains from the Pacific Ocean, so there are many beautiful views to be seen throughout the area. There are so many great outdoor activities you can do to enjoy the natural beauty of Conejo Valley.
This blog is in collaboration with Visit Conejo Valley
1. Gardens of the World
If you’re looking for a more relaxing way to get outside and enjoy the nice Conejo Valley weather while strolling along some beautiful landscapes – check out Gardens of the World in Thousand Oaks! It’s free to enter, and if you request ahead of time, you can schedule a 45-minute tour of the gardens (but it’s just as fun to explore on your own as well). The gardens feature plants and flowers from different regions of the world. My favorite is the Japanese garden, complete with a Japanese pagoda and a koi pond. This serene spot is a great place to clear your head and soak in the scenery.
2. Horseback Riding
Horseback riding is another fun outdoor activity that you can do in Conejo Valley. There are a few companies that offer horseback riding, but one of the most popular is Malibu Riders. The ride is suitable for all ability levels, even if it’s your first time. They have a few tours to choose from, including a 3-mile trail that goes to the famous Paramount Ranch, which is an old Hollywood filming location.
If you like hiking, you’re in luck – there are SO many awesome hikes to choose from in the Conejo Valley area! See below for 4 great options:
The hike to Sandstone Peak is one of my favorites in all of Southern California. It’s absolutely gorgeous! The peak is the highest point in the Santa Monica Mountains, and you can see views of the Pacific Ocean, the rolling green hills and the valley from the top. There are great views throughout the whole hike up there as well. The trail is pretty easy to follow, but once you get to the top there is a little bit of rock scrambling involved. There is a monument at the top that has what looks like a little mailbox with a pen attached, so you can write a note at the top and leave it in there. There are plenty of great photo-ops up here!
Option 1: Shorter Hike
- Trailhead: Sandstone Peak Trailhead
- Miles: 3.0
- Route Type: Out & Back
- Elevation Gain: 997 ft
Option 2: Longer Hike
- Trailhead: Mishe Mokwa
- Miles: 5.7
- Route Type: Loop
Sycamore Canyon Falls
This hike in the Newbury Park area sits within Point Mugu State Park in the Santa Monica Mountain range. It’s a popular hike that leads to a cascading waterfall at the end. I recommend starting early if you want to avoid the crowds! Also, try to pick a day to hike it that is after a recent rain so that you can see the waterfall at its peak flow. The hike starts out at the Satwiwa Cultural Center, so you have the option of stopping by the Chumash Demonstration Village if you want to learn more about the history of the Indians native to this area.
- Trailhead: Satwiwa Culture Center
- Miles: 3.3
- Elevation Gain: 545 ft
- Route Type: Out & Back
This hike is technically in Malibu, but is still very close (just under a 30-min drive) from Conejo Valley. This hike starts out following a trail in between rolling hills. About 1 mile in, you’ll come to the first waterfall! From here, you have the option to continue on to the second, upper, waterfall which requires a bit of scrambling. If you’re agile and motivated though, it’s definitely worth it! Once you get to the upper waterfall, you can even climb up the rocks and get into a cave behind it if you’re brave enough.
- Trailhead: “Visitor Parking for Escondido Falls”
- Miles: 3.8
- Elevation Gain: 400 ft
- Route Type: Out & Back
If you’re looking for a quick workout hike in the local Conejo Valley area with expansive views at the top, check out Tarantula Hill in Newbury Park. This one-mile, paved trail allows is dog-friendly (and horse-friendly!) and leads you up to a viewpoint overlooking the area. It would be a great place to hike up and bring some wine to watch the sunset! Also, from here you are right across the street from the Conejo Valley Botanical Gardens if you want to continue your stroll.
- Trailhead: Gainsborough Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360
- Miles: 1.0
- Elevation Gain: 275 ft
- Route Type: Out & Back
4. Winery with a View
On the other end of the spectrum from hiking, I present you with: sipping a glass of wine with a beautiful view. Another amazing outdoor activity option in Conejo Valley. There are quite a few spots to choose from, but here are two of my favorites that I recommend:
Heaven’s Hill Estate
Located in Old Agoura Hills, Heaven’s Hill Estate is a private estate with a vineyard on the grounds. They offer wine tastings by appointment-only at $45 per person. The owner of the estate (and sometimes his wife as well) will greet you in the driveway and lead you through the property for a tour of the grounds. Heaven’s Hill Estate is also used for wellness retreats, where they do sound baths and yoga for private groups. The whole vibe of the property is very serene and provides a sense of zen while you walk around. They are also animal-friendly, and have plans to turn part of their property into an animal sanctuary in the near future.
After your property tour, you are seated at a big outdoor table with expansive views of the mountains in the background. Neal, the owner of the estate, provides a tasting of 4 of the wines made from grapes that were grown on the property, and he explains some of the winemaking process for each. He also provides some olives and pretzels to munch on while you sip. It’s a very tranquil wine tasting experience and I highly recommend it!
This winery is technically in Malibu, but it is only a 15-minute drive from Conejo Valley. Cielo Farms has the best view out of any winery in the area, in my opinion. It’s absolutely beautiful! It’s a bit expensive (tasting flights run from $50-60) but you’re paying for the view. They also have great food here – charcuterie boards, veggie boards, and pizza made from their big pizza oven on the property!
Grab some wine and a snack and soak in the views here. It’s incredible, especially at sunset!
5. Check Out the Nearby Beaches
What better way to spend a nice day than at the beach? There are few great beaches that are just a 30-min drive away from Conejo Valley. Two of my favorites are:
El Matador State Beach
El Matador Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in all of Southern California. After parking on top of the bluff, you’ll see picnic tables situated at the top overlooking the beach below the cliffs. You walk down a trail that curves around the cliffs towards the beach below, which leads to a set of stairs down. There’s lots of epic rock formations on the sand down here, and you might even see some rock climbers. This beach has such unique scenery that it’s also a popular spot for professional photographers and photoshoots.
Point Dume is another unique, amazing beach in the area consisting of a big rock outcrop jutting into the ocean. There are a few walking trails at the top of this rock headland where you can go for a stroll and soak in the views of the Santa Monica Bay before heading down the stairway to the beach itself. This is a popular spot for surfers as well, and is a great place for spotting whales if you’re there at the right time of year.
I hope this list inspires you to opt outside and explore Conejo Valley!