Category Archives: ahmanson ranch

Ahmanson Ranch Out and Back Trail Run from the Victory Trailhead to the Las Virgenes Trailhead Via Lasky Mesa

Runner at Ahmanson Ranch (Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve)
Runner on “The Beast”

The direct out and back trail run from the Victory Trailhead at Ahmanson Ranch through East Las Virgenes Canyon to the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Trailhead is about 3 miles each way.

This variation bypasses most of East Las Virgenes Canyon. It climbs up to Lasky Mesa and then descends “The Beast” to East Las Virgenes Canyon about 0.4 mile before it joins the fire road in Upper Las Virgenes Canyon. This fire road can be followed south to the Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Trailhead, the turnaround point.

Depending on the exact route, the trail run totals about 7.5 miles, with about 825 feet of cumulative elevation gain. The Beast is the longest continuous hill and is about 0.8 mile in length.

Here is an interactive, 3D terrain view of my out and back trail run from the Victory Trailhead at Ahmanson Ranch to the Las Virgenes Trailhead via Lasky Mesa. The direct route through East Las Virgenes Canyon is also shown. The map can be zoomed, tilted, rotated, and panned using the navigation control on the right. Track and placename locations are approximate and subject to errors. Poor weather and other conditions may make this route unsuitable for this activity.

When it rains a lot, sections of East Las Virgenes Canyon can get really muddy. This route avoids the worst of the gooey, stick-on-your-shoes mud.

Update January 17, 2023. With the additional rainfall this January the “best” route up to Lasky Mesa is on the dirt road. The single track is wet and muddy in spots.  The lower half of the Beast is eroded and somewhat muddy. I have a pair of shoes that I use in the muck and wet. They haven’t dried out for weeks.

Some related posts: It was So Muddy That…, It Was So Muddy (Again) That…, When It Used to Rain in Southern California

Sunrise Over the San Fernando Valley From Lasky Mesa

Sunrise Over the San Fernando Valley From Lasky Mesa

The clouds were associated with a front that stalled to the north of Los Angeles, resulting in some surprising and substantial rainfall totals in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties. No measurable rain was reported in Los Angeles County by the NWS.

From an early morning run at Ahmanson Ranch (Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve) on September 20th.

Related post: Monsoon Clouds and Valley Oak at Sunrise on Lasky Mesa

Revitalized Valley Oak at Ahmanson Ranch

Sunlit valley oak in Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve (Ahmanson Ranch)

Revitalized by December’s copious rainfall and temperatures in the mid-80s in February, this valley oak at Ahmanson Ranch has produced a lush crown of new leaves.

(Officially named Upper Las Virgenes Canyon Open Space Preserve, most users refer to the open space area as Ahmanson Ranch, or simply, Ahmanson.)

A Lot of Bluster, But Not Much Rain

Clouds associated with an upper level low north of Los Angeles

Yep, that was a rumble of thunder. It was a blustery, Spring-like afternoon and a storm cell had developed a few miles to the WNW of Lasky Mesa.

Before driving over to Ahmanson I’d checked the weather radar and seen cells circulating counterclockwise around a cold upper level low. Most were dissipating as they moved north to south, out over the Valley. The wildcard was that the upper low was moving southward, and the cells might strengthen.

Convective cell WNW of Lasky Mesa associated with a cold upper low north of Los Angeles
Storm cell WNW of Lasky Mesa.

Again there was a low rumble. The cell didn’t seem any closer, but now I could see additional development to the north and northeast of Ahmanson. I picked up the pace.

There’s nothing like the threat and energy of a thunderstorm to incentivize a runner. All the way back to the trailhead it looked like heck might break loose at any moment.

But it didn’t. It was just starting to rain when I got back to the car, and on the way home the streets were wet. The Cheeseboro RAWS recorded 0.06 inch of rain, as did Downtown Los Angeles (USC).

Even though the Rain and Water Year rainfall totals for Los Angeles are about normal for the date, January and February have seen little rain. Precipitation records for Los Angeles indicate the period January 1 to February 28 will be the fourth driest on record.

The precipitation outlooks for Southern California this March don’t look especially promising, with a typical La Nina precipitation pattern expected for the West Coast.

Some related posts: Clearing Skies at Ahmanson Ranch, Thunderstorm