9.8 MRT out-and-back – Moderate (985′ elevation gain/loss) or 11.1 MRT Loop – Moderate to Strenuous (1,545′ elevation gain/loss)
DIRECTIONS TO TRAILHEAD: Meet the eastern Happy Camp Trailhead, adjacent Rustic Canyon Golf Course parking lot. From Simi Valley, exit Princeton Ave and turn right (north). Turn left at Campus Park Dr. and continue 1.6 miles to the trailhead at the dead-end. Parking is on the right.
We’ll follow a well-maintained trail beside the Rustic Canyon golf course 3/4 of a mile to the entrance to Happy Camp Canyon, “a lush riparian oak woodland with an intermittent stream.” We’ll then follow an old ranch road eastward as it rises gradually in the canyon bottom between Oak Ridge (to the north) and Big Mountain (to the south). At 4.9 miles we’ll reach a pleasant oak grove with picnic tables and hitching rails where we’ll take a rest-and-snack break. Those who want can head back the way they came to the trailhead. Others wishing a more strenuous hike will climb up the steep gets-your-heart-pumping connector road to the Middle Range Fire Road. Once there we’ll head west along the ridge, enjoying spectacular views of the surrounding area as we complete the loop portion of the hike and then return to the trailhead.