Cheesboro hike passes historic ranch house

ACORN SERIES /// A Trail Less Traveled


MOTHER NATURE—A massive oak near the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail. DAWN MEGLI-THUNA/Acorn Newspapers

MOTHER NATURE—A massive oak near the Cheeseboro Canyon Trail. DAWN MEGLI-THUNA/Acorn Newspapers

For more than 150 years, ranchers called Cheeseboro Canyon home. Pablo Reyes, a descendant of one of Spanish California’s founding families, lived there in the late 1800s before John Morrison moved into the historic house in 1904.

For nearly 60 years, the Morrison family worked to clear the land to grow hay for their horses and cattle.

The family is long gone but their ranch house remains nestled under giant oaks along Cheeseboro Canyon Trail. Remnants of the barns, cisterns and corrals they built are also visible.

 

 

The landscape has changed dramatically over the past century, but some of the original trees remain. The ancient oaks that Morrison once ranched under still dot the trail that begins in Old Agoura.

The hike starts at the parking lot for the Agoura Equestrian Center near Old Agoura Park. It travels through the Fran Pavley Meadow before entering the gently rounded hills of Cheeseboro Canyon, which are older than the steeper and more recently formed and Santa Monica Mountains.

Decades of heavy grazing helped European annuals like wild oats, mustard and thistles take root, but a variety of native plant communities, including chaparral, coastal sage scrub and riparian woodlands can be still be seen.

Oak trees and sedimentary rock areas provide excellent nesting sites for owls, hawks and other raptors. The area is also home to bobcats, coyotes and rabbits.

From the 101 Freeway, take the Chesebro Road exit. Head north on Palo Comado Road, which comes to a four-way stop at Chesebro Road. Old Agoura Park is straight across the intersection on the north side of the road.

CHEESEBORO CANYON

DISTANCE: 5 miles

DIFFICULTY: 2

TIME: two hours