Hiked: 11/4/2012 (x9)
Distance: 4.7 miles round trip on trail and dirt road
Summit Elevation: 824' unnamed bump
Elevation Gain: 850' (500' out, 350' on return)
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 0.68
Round trip time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Recommended water: 48 oz.
Parking/Fees: $3 OC Parks
The loop from Nix Nature Center starts on the Little Sycamore trail to Serrano Ridge road to Camarillo Canyon trail to Stagecoach South trail back to the Nature Center. The entire loop is 4.7 miles. The Little Sycamore and Stagecoach segments have the elevation gain, Camarillo is downhill and Serrano Ridge road is flat. The loop can be done in reverse, but there are a lot of loose rocks on Little Sycamore that I would rather face going up than coming down. Part of Camarillo Canyon used to be very steep, but that part of the trail has been blocked off and replaced with new switchbacks. This hike is beginner friendly and a great place to burn some calories.
The nature center is new and worth a visit. The Rangers are friendly and the bathrooms are clean. Before I started climbing mountains, I spent a lot of time on these hills. While the area is known for rattlesnakes, I've hiked the loop at least 20 times without seeing a single one. There are two connectors to trails on the other side of the 73 (continuing to follow Serrano Ridge road, and the Old Stagecoach trail from Camarillo) if you want to extend your hike. There are also connectors to trails on the other side of Highway 133.