Arroyo Conejo

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Arroyo Conejo
Paradise Falls and pond.JPG
Paradise Falls
CountryUnited States
Physical characteristics
 • location
Discharges to the Pacific by Mugu Lagoon
Basin features
River systemCalleguas Creek

Arroyo Conejo (Spanish for “Rabbit Creek”) is the longest creek in the Conejo Valley,[1] sprawling over the cities of Thousand Oaks and Camarillo, and the communities of Newbury Park, Casa Conejo and Santa Rosa Valley. Arroyo Conejo is the primary drainage for the City of Thousand Oaks.[2] Its watershed covers 57 square miles (150 km2) of which 43 square miles (110 km2) are in the Conejo Valley and 14 square miles (36 km2) in the Santa Rosa Valley.[3]

It is an ancient creek, which, historically, was a seasonal-running creek. The arroyo is today perennial due to urban runoff from irrigation. Its north fork carved Wildwood Canyon out of bedrock over several millennia. Paradise Falls in Wildwood Regional Park has been described as perhaps the "most visual representation" of the arroyo today. The south fork originates in the Conejo Hills above Newbury Park. It also follows Thousand Oaks Boulevard, where it runs directly along and below the boulevard. In certain areas, the creek runs through concrete culverts and runs underneath the street. Past Newbury Park's Hill Canyon, the creek meets with Arroyo Santa Rosa in Santa Rosa Valley as it runs through the Pleasant Valley basin on its way to its estuary at Mugu Lagoon. Due to limited access, suggestions have been made to make its banks into public amenities similar to that of San Antonio River Walk, or, developing a public use trail following the creek, similar to the bike path of Arroyo Simi in Simi Valley, California. It is part of the Calleguas Creek watershed, which drains an area of 343 sq. mi. in southern Ventura County.[4]

Within Wildwood Regional Park, its gorge and its 40-foot (12 m) cascade, Paradise Falls, are among the park’s most visited attractions.[5][6]


The area surrounding Arroyo Conejo was once inhabited by the Chumash Indians, who also settled much of the region from the Santa Monica Mountains to the Conejo- and Simi Valleys, with their presence dating back 10,000–12,000 years.[7][8] There have been numerous discoveries of Chumash artifacts and petroglyphs along the creek, particularly in the Santa Monica Mountains.[9][10]

Several people have drowned in the creek during the winter when water levels are higher. A person drowned by Hill Canyon in 1992,[11] while another person drowned here in 2017.[12][13]


Wetlands in Hill Canyon.

It runs from the Conejo Hills of Newbury Park, crosses horizontally Casa Conejo, before entering Thousand Oaks and Wildwood Regional Park.[14] It originates in the Conejo Hills and streams into Hill Canyon and further into the Santa Rosa Valley, where it merges with Arroyo Santa Rosa and becomes Conejo Creek. Conejo Creek drains through the Pleasant Valley Basin, joins Calleguas Creek and enters into the Pacific Ocean by its estuary at Mugu Lagoon at the north end of the Santa Monica Mountains.[15][16][17] Its northern border is made up by the Santa Susana Mountains, South Mountain and the Oak Ridge Mountains. Its southern boundary is compromised by the Santa Monica Mountains to the southwest and the Simi Hills to the southeast.[18]


The western pond turtle is an endemic species to Arroyo Conejo.

Some of the fauna found in the creek includes the Western pond turtle and numerous species of amphibians: the California red-legged frog, Western toad, American bullfrog, California toad and the Pacific tree frog. Fish species include the Brown bullhead, Green sunfish, Bluntnose minnow, and Mosquitofish. It is an important habitat for various species of freshwater-nesting birds in the Conejo Valley. Some of the species include the Great blue heron, White-faced ibis, Black-crowned night heron, Green heron, Black-necked stilt, Great egret, Snowy egret, Belted kingfisher, Black phoebe, Killdeer, Common yellowthroat, Greater yellowlegs, American coot, and Mallard.[19][20]


It is debated whether Thousand Oaks will make a multi-use pathway along the creek, similar to that of Arroyo Simi in Simi Valley.[21][22]

There are several parks and public open-space areas bordering the creek:


  1. ^ Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Page 30)
  2. ^ Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Page 30)
  3. ^ Brooks, Norman H. (1982). Storms, Floods, and Debris Flows in Southern California and Arizona 1978 and 1980: Overview and Summary of a Symposium, September 17–18, 1980. National Academies. Pages 155–156.
  4. ^
  5. ^ Schad, Jerry (2013). 101 Hikes in Southern California: Exploring Mountains, Seashore, and Desert. Wilderness Press. Page 18. ISBN 9780899977164.
  6. ^ Schad, Jerry (2011). Top Trails: Los Angeles: Must-Do Hikes for Everyone. Wilderness Press. Page 112. ISBN 9780899976273.
  7. ^ Starr, Kevin (2007). California: A History. Modern Library Chronicles 23. Random House Digital, Inc. Page 13. ISBN 978-0-8129-7753-0.
  8. ^ Gamble, L. H., & Enki Library eBook (2008). The Chumash World at European Contact (1st ed.). University of California Press. Page 26.
  9. ^ Ciolek-Torrello, Richard (2006). A Passage in Time: The Archaeology and History of the Santa Susana Pass State Historical Park, California. Statistical Research. Page 42. ISBN 9781879442894.
  10. ^ Whitley, David S. and Ellen L. McCann (1980). Inland Chumash Archaeological Investigations. Institute of Archaeology. Pages 155 and 255.
  11. ^ "Swimming Hole Where Man Drowned Site of Other Deaths". Los Angeles Times. 1992-08-11. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  12. ^ "Live updates: Strongest storm in years moves through L.A. area". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  13. ^ "Man dies after being swept away by rising water along Newbury Park creek". ABC7 Los Angeles. 2017-02-18. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  14. ^ "Thousand Oaks Acorn". Thousand Oaks Acorn. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
  15. ^ Murillo, Cathy (February 5, 1998). "Raw Sewage Continues to Spill Into Conejo Creek". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 19 February 2016.
  16. ^
  17. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-24. Retrieved 2016-01-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  18. ^ Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine (Page 30)
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2016-02-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ Maxwell, Thomas J. (2000). Hiking In Wildwood Regional Park: Natural History, Folklore, and Trail Guide. California Lutheran University (CLU). Pages 153–154.
  21. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-03-03. Retrieved 2016-01-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  22. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-25. Retrieved 2016-01-25.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)