Distance: 63 miles
Driving Time: 1 to 1.5 hours, depending on traffic
I-405 connects the Los Angeles basin to US Hwy 101, intersecting it in the San Fernando Valley. If you start or end in Hollywood, Burbank or downtown L.A., take US 101 directly.
Angelenos love their freeways so much that they give them nicknames based on where they lead to, so it will help if you get oriented before you set out. I-405 is the San Diego Freeway and US 101 north is the Ventura Freeway (but US 101 south is called the Hollywood Freeway).
To find out about the latest traffic jams, you can use your smartphone, listen to KNX radio at 1070 AM or get real-time traffic on their website - or call the CalTrans highway condition hotline at 800-427-ROAD. A good map, GPS system or smartphone will help you navigate around the worst traffic.
The Sepulveda Pass (on I-405) separates the Los Angeles Basin from the San Fernando Valley. US Hwy 101 runs between the valley and San Francisco. Between the San Fernando Valley and Ventura, it runs more or less east and west, although it's marked north/south (which is its general direction over the long haul).
For a more scenic (but also time-consuming) way to get from Los Angeles to Ventura, you can also take California Highway One through Malibu.
Points of Interest and Side Trips
- Exit US 101 at Las Virgenes west for a side trip to see the beautiful Hindu Venkateswara Temple at 1600 Las Virgenes. It's open to everyone as long as you're respectful, dress modestly (no shorts or tank tops) and take off your shoes and hat. Fans of the television program M*A*S*H can continue on Las Virgenes to Malibu Creek State Park, (4 miles from 101) where the show's opening and many of its outdoor scenes were filmed.
- Camarillo Outlets: Exit US 101 at Las Posas Road for shopping at 120 outlet stores
- Strawberry Fields: Strawberries grown around Oxnard are among the state's best. In season (which starts as early as February), you'll find produce stands selling them at many highway exits.
Gasoline and food are easy to find along this stretch of highway.