Happy Camp Canyon Trail Loop
ElevationAscent: 1,253' 382 m
Descent: -1,253' -382 m
High: 2,116' 645 m
Low: 953' 291 m
GradeAvg Grade: 4% (2°)
Max Grade: 24% (14°)
Current trail conditions
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“Great vistas on this run, with views of Simi, Moorpark, and Channel Islands on clear days.”— RickG Gutz
As you start your climb, the first part is steep, with about an 800-foot climb in roughly a mile. Take breaks as needed and keep a steady pace. As you continue, at about 2.6 miles into the run you'll find a lookout point (there is a metal post that is for horses to tie into). I always like taking a 10-15 minute break here, have some snacks and take in the incredible views.
Continue your climb, but at this point the climb is gradual. On many parts, you can see deep into the north and south scenery. On the left (north) are some great hills and farm views. On the right (south) are Simi Valley and Moorpark laid out in front of you.
After the water tank (at about 3.5 miles up) is where I have seen bear prints after some rain. Pretty amazing that we have bears in our neck of the woods! Keep going until you see a cairned turnoff on the left. It's right in the middle of a saddle as you come down a small hill.
The transition trail from the high fire road, to the campground is rough. It's very narrow with some areas of almost bushwhacking! Just stay with it. It is a steep descent in sections, and the ground can be very loose and sandy. It's a tough run down. Once you make it down, the trail drops you into a campground. This is a good place to stay and have a longer break and snacks. Having said that, I have been stung by a wasp there during two different visits - so stay vigilant (just my luck).
The trail ecosystem is a traditional California chaparral run in the canyon, crossing over some dry stream beds in which I have never found water. The trail is pretty uneventful with average views of the hills.
A great local run that has been listed in a couple of guide books that I have read. That is how I found out there was a good trail right in my own backyard! The views are really worth the run. Depending on the weather, I sometimes just go up to the top, and then turn around at the trail turnoff. Enjoy some real nice views going downhill instead of uphill. I've taken 11-year-old Boy Scouts up and down this trail and they were able to do it. A tough trip for them but they really felt a sense of accomplishment when they finished it. You'll too!
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Land Manager: Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy