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Arts and Entertainment

2011 Conejo Open Space Challenge

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Photo by David Lockeretz of Nobody Hikes in L.A.
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By David Lockeretz of Nobody Hikes in L.A. / Special to LAist

If you’ve ever hiked in the Thousand Oaks/Westlake Village/Agoura Hills area, chances are it was on a trail managed by the Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency. While these trails are most accessible to the residents of the Thousand Oaks area, they are also fairly close to the San Fernando Valley and Ventura, and are well worth the drive.

The Conejo Open Space Conservation Agency, in partnership with the Conejo Open Space Foundation and other governing bodies, operates dozens of miles of multi-use trails in this area, including popular Wildwood Park, with its year-round waterfall. These trails travel through oak-lined canyons, open fields and up mountains. Depending on the route, hikers can expect great views of the Santa Monica Mountains, the Simi Hills, the western San Gabriels, the ocean and the Channel Islands. Trips of almost any length or difficulty level are possible.

To help promote interest in their work, the COSCA is presenting the 2011 Conejo Open Space Challenge, an event in which the public is encouraged to complete 14 of the area’s trails. Additionally, participants (hikers, bikers, equestrians or trail runners) are encouraged to use GPS devices to measure their times, track their progress and share it with others. Prizes will be offered for the first five participants who complete all trails.

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The event lasts through the end of January, 2012. For more information, follow @COSChallenge on Twitter, visit the event's website or email COSCA manager Kristin Foord.

Having this wealth of hiking trails and open space so close to the urban edge is something that no one should take for granted. While many SoCal outdoor enthusiasts may assume they have to drive high into the mountains to experience nature, the trails of the Conejo Open Space prove that many great recreational opportunities are hiding in plain sight.