The viewful Hummingbird Trail starts at the extreme northeast corner of Simi Valley (both the valley and the city of same name) and deviously ascends boulder-studded slopes to the crest of a long ridge leading north to a summit appropriately named Rocky Peak. This out-and-back jaunt is perfect for early-morning exercise, when the trail lies mostly in shadow. Hikers and runners use it, as well as some intrepid mountain bikers who may risk life and limb on a couple of the steeper, more slippery pitches. The exercise involved is significant, since the trail gains a total of 1150 feet of elevation.
To get to the starting point, travel west from the San Fernando Valley over Santa Susana Pass toward Simi Valley on the 118 Freeway. Exit at Kuehner Drive as you are descending into Simi Valley. Drive north 0.1 mile and park off pavement on the right side of Kuehner. This is the site of a future trailhead for the Hummingbird Trail. Do not park at the north end of Kuehner, where curbside parking is prohibited.
Signs along Kuehner Drive, just north of the 118 Freeway, direct hikers north alongside the road shoulder for about 200 yards to a footpath veering right, just shy of where Kuehner ends at the entryway to a gated community. Follow this sketchy path down to the bottom of a ravine called Hummingbird Creek, where the well-defined trail starts. (These directions will likely change when a housing project at the foot of the trail, currently stalled, is completed and the trail is rerouted around it.)
After veering south to reach a point close to the freeway embankment, the trail switches back and starts to dart upward, trending east via many zigs and zags, sometimes over barren rock. This continues more or less unabated until about 2 miles into the hike, where the trail straightens, heads straightforwardly east, and finally reaches the Rocky Peak Fire Road at a point 0.8 mile north of the fire road’s origination point alongside the 118 Freeway at Santa Susana Pass. That fire road itself can be followed for extended journeys toward and beyond 2714-foot Rocky Peak, which lies to the north.
Along the way up and the way back down you’re seldom out of earshot of traffic on the neighboring freeway. Yet there are consistently panoramic views to enjoy whenever you want to take a break. If you have a camera, it’s fun to pose your hiking companion atop any number of rounded boulders alongside the trail, with a background, perhaps, of the geometric patterns of subdivisions on the flat Simi Valley floor.
This article contains information about a publicly owned recreation or wilderness area. Trails and pathways are not necessarily marked. Conditions can change rapidly. Hikers should be properly equipped and have safety and navigational skills. The Reader and Jerry Schad assume no responsibility for any adverse experience.
Climb high into the Santa Susana Mountains for a great view of Simi Valley and parts of greater Los Angeles.
Distance from downtown San Diego: 154 miles
Hiking length: 4.5 miles round trip
Difficulty: Moderately strenuous