China Flat with My Dad

A hike to China Flat with my dad. It was a beautiful day, and the flowers were blooming!

My Dad and I went on another great hike! This time we went to China Flat and Simi Peak, which is the highest peak (2,043 ft) in the Simi Hills. April 9, 2014 was a beautiful day, and the wildflowers were blooming!

On April 11, I spoke with two representatives of the National Park Service for clarification on the Simi Hills, Simi Peak, and China Flat regarding their inclusion in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area (SMMNRA). Kate Kuykendall, the Public Affairs Officer for the National Park Service’s SMMNRA, said that it was a complicated answer. Kuykendall explained that the Simi Hills are not considered part of the Santa Monica Mountains, but are part of the “Santa Monica Mountains Ecological Zone”, and portions of the Simi Hills are within the SMMNRA.

The 101 Freeway is viewed as an unofficial boundary; and only hills south of the 101 are considered part of the Santa Monica Mountains. As seen on the Santa Monica Mountains area trail map prepared by the National Park Service, Simi Peak and China Flat are within the official boundary of the Cheeseboro / Palo Comado Canyon section of the the SMMNRA.

Save Open Space

Palo Comado Canyon, including Jordan Ranch, was greatly threatened by it’s former owner, the comedian and land speculator Bob Hope. In the early 1990s, Hope tried to sell 5,900 acres of nearby Corral Canyon area land to the federal government in exchange for 59 acres of national parkland in Cheeseboro Canyon necessary for building an access road. In Palo Comado Canyon and Cheeseboro Canyon, Hope proposed to build 1,850 luxury homes, the ‘Jordan Ranch’ PGA golf course, and an access road to the freeway.

Fortunately the land swap was never completed, even though the proposal was actually supported by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Jordan Ranch became the Palo Commado Canyon section of the SMMNRA. Jordan Ranch was saved in exchange for an agreement to develop a larger area of the Simi Hills to the east called Ahmanson Ranch, north of Calabasas, in the southeast corner of Ventura County.

The nonprofit group Save Open Space was first responsible for preventing development of the 2,300 acre Jordan Ranch, and later prevented the development of nearly 3,000 acres at Ahmanson Ranch. The plans for Ahmanson Ranch included over 3,000 homes and two golf courses, however the area was eventually converted into the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve.


Here are photos of the massive sandstone formation, flowers, oak trees, and more along the China Flat Trail.

Resources

Wikipedia Resources

Hiking to Simi Peak

Author: Bradley Allen

Bradley Allen is a reporter and photographer in the Monterey Bay Area, and a collective member of the San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center (Indybay). Follow him on social media: @BradleySA.