Explore the outdoors and taste local wines and craft beers in the Santa Monica Mountains region of Los Angeles County
In the heart of the Santa Monica Mountains and just a quick hop to the beaches of Malibu, Agoura Hills makes a perfect base for a stay in Southern California. This Conejo Valley town is close enough to L.A. to serve as the headquarters for the Super Bowl champion Los Angeles Rams, yet still wild enough to be selected as the site for a landscaped freeway overpass that will become the world’s largest wildlife crossing when completed. Agoura Hills is also home to the famous mansion featured on ABC’s The Bachelor franchise.
Outdoor activities in Agoura Hills
The National Park Service’s Cheeseboro/Palo Comado Canyon is a gateway into the local mountains, with miles and miles of trails that travel through riparian woodlands and to sweeping views from high ridgelines. You’ll see acorn woodpeckers in stately valley oaks, and maybe even bobcats and coyotes. A filming location since 1927 and still used today (recent productions include American Sniper and HBO’s Westworld), the park service’s Paramount Ranch is recovering from 2018’s Woolsey Fire. But some buildings from its historic Western town survived, and the ranch’s gorgeous trails remain open for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking.
Whether you’re into mountain or road biking, the Santa Monica range is a prime cycling destination that has hosted stages of the Amgen Tour of California. It’s also a spot where professional teams from around the world come to train. If you need a bicycle, Serious Cycling rents high-end road bikes and also leads occasional group rides. To see the local mountains on horseback, join a guided outing through Paramount Ranch or nearby Malibu Creek State Park with Malibu Riders.
Where to eat and drink in Agoura Hills
Pack a picnic for a day of exploring with a sandwich and salad from the Italia Deli & Bakery, an Agoura tradition for more than four decades. Blue Table puts together gourmet box lunches that include a sandwich (the Ellen’s Special with turkey, ham, goat cheese, fig jam, and garlic aioli is a favorite), side salad, and dessert. It also has an outstanding wine selection and cheese and charcuterie boards.
Blue Table is in Whizin Market Square, a small shopping center from the 1960s that has been extensively renovated and reimagined as a contemporary destination for boutique shopping and artisanal foods. Try the inventive cucumber-and-jalapeño or blackberry sage margaritas at Plata Taqueria & Cantina. At Carrara Pastries, take your pick of authentic Italian delicacies, including cannolis, velinas, and frittelles, created by Tuscan baking masters Damiano and Massimiliano Carrara. Tifa Chocolate & Gelato’s extensive gelato menu ranges from such irresistible classics as stracciatella and salted caramel to a ricotta-and-honey variety and other seasonal offerings.
There’s also nightlife at Whizin Market Square: The Foo Fighters, blues legend Buddy Guy, and L.A.’s own Los Lobos have all played gigs at The Canyon, Agoura’s intimate music club. Across the street from The Canyon, Boar Dough Tasting Room is a popular destination for updated American comfort foods and offers a big selection of California wines. Craft beer buffs should check out Tavern Tomoko & Ladyface Brewery (the Conejo Valley’s first microbrewery) and pair its Belgian, French, and American-style ales with the menu of Japanese small plates, as well as tacos and other gastropub favorites.
Agoura Hills is just a short distance from the up-and-coming Malibu wine country. Named in honor of a historic town in these mountains, the Cornell Winery & Tasting Room has a lovely outdoor area where you can discover an assortment of locally made wines. It’s right next door to the Old Place, a relaxed and rustic steakhouse in the old Cornell post office that serves up tender and succulent oak-grilled sirloins and rib eyes. And for more Agoura history, the Reyes Adobe Historical Site dates to 1850 and offers a unique look at California’s early ranching period.
Featured Agoura Hills
Convenience meets natural scenery in this laid-back but lively area just north of Los Angeles