Las Llajas Canyon is an open space area that only just opened to the public within the last 10 years. Previously it was an area with a checked history, the result of a fraudulent real estate scheme to sell subdivided lots to unsuspecting buyers. The problem was that the person doing the selling didn’t own the lots and consequently, the people that bought them didn’t either. I’m not sure why no one thought of title insurance, but that’s a different story.
The Las Llajas Canyon trail starts off Evening Sky Drive and head down into Las Llajas Canyon. The canyon closes in with steep high walls and runs along a creek bed.
At approximately N34° 19.053 W118° 40.199 you reach a junction with the trail to Coquina Mine. This trail was hidden from view by decades of growth. As a result of the 2003 Simi Fire the trail was exposed in it eroded condition. The winter of 2003-2004 caused the trail to erode further making the initial ascent from the canyon floor very challenging.
Further up the trail there is an old landslide that crosses the trail. I was scanning ahead at the landslide wondering how to get through it when I nearly stepped on a sizable Southern Pacific Rattlesnake. Always keep your eyes on the trail and worry about what’s ahead when you get there, is the rule I should have followed. Oh well, the rattlesnake made for a good photo op.
Eventually you’ll hit a rock outcropping that is clearly man made. In fact it looks like it may have been made by Chumash Native Americans, but I’m not certain of the history.
After passing the outcropping, the trail rounds the mountain and heads off to the left toward the mined. There area is a treasure trove of abandoned mining equipment. This stuff is really old. Considering how tough the trail is and probably was back when the equipment made its way up the mountain, it’s a small wonder it made it up there at all. Needless to say, when the mine was abandoned, the owner of the equipment was not motivated to try to get the equipment back down the mountain.
From the mine there are spectacular views of the surrounding mountains as well as the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands. It is best to pick a really clear autumn of winter day if you want to see the ocean and the islands, because they’re pretty far away.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.