Elevation gain: 700-850ft.
Distance: 3-4 miles round trip.
Time: 2-3 hours.
Nearby Cities: Ojai.
Directions: From the 101 take the 33 north. Follow it until you come into the town of Ojai itself. After passing Starr Market on the right, you will come to the traffic light at Signal Street. You should see the iconic Bell Tower of the Ojai Post office on your right. Turn left here. There’s a really nice natural food store on the corner of Signal and Matilija called Rainbow Bridge. There you can stock up on anything needed for the hike. You’ll keep going up N. Signal Street until it turns sharply right into grand,, there you’ll want to take a left to stay on N. Signal. Drive up the hill for few hundred meters and you should see a sign for Pratt Trail on the left hand side. You’ll be driving down a rough dirt road and see an aqueduct on your left eventually. The trailhead itself is another left off the dirt road, if you go straight you’ll run into private property.
There is plenty of parking here and behind where I’m standing in this picture. It’s a loop that you can park along as long as you don’t block the path for other cars.
This is where the trail starts, there is some good information on those signs and sometimes there are trail maps in the bin you can see on the left. This time there weren’t.
One of the signs has a warning about the Poodle-dog bush or Turricula Plant. It may look innocuous and harmless at first, but this plant can deliver a strong punch of prenylated phenolics from the microscopic hairs of the plant. It causes a rash not unlike poison oak or stinging nettle. It shoots up after fires most of the time but can grow under normal conditions as well. Be cautious and pay attention to your surroundings when outdoors and you will be fine.
The first part of the trail is most like this; occasionally snaking over rock staircases and private roads. It’s an interesting trail in the least.
Here is another great rock staircase on the trail. There are many but I only included a few. It almost feels like Fellowship of the Ring. Hobbits will be cresting that rise anytime now.
This is one of only a few switchbacks on the trail until way later up near the Nordhoff ridge, which I’ll do in another post. I like switchbacks, they make interesting photos and as long as there’s not too many they are fun to hike.
Here the trail weaves directly on/through private property, so much that you can actually see their patio and garden area when you hike through it. Must be nice to live up here secluded on your on mountain, growing grapes and the like. Please be respectful of their property when you hike as they are nice enough to let us have the trail through it.
Turning around from where I took the last picture is a stunning view of the Black Mountains on Ojai’s Southern Edge.
I like this sign. It has character. Not so much the words, as cute as they are but more the weather-worn rusty metallic look of it. In any case it’s always a good idea to keep your dogs on leashes. You never know when another dog might come around the corner and not be very friendly, even though your dog is.
This is the flower of a tree commonly known as the Mimosa Tree or Persian Silk Tree. It actually took me a decent amount of effort to figure out what this plant was. It was worth it though.
A pretty yellow flower.
I would really like to know the story of how this got here. Kind of neat.
This is where the trail meets Foothill Road and you walk along it for a bit. If you want to take a short cut, have someone drop you off up here. You can’t park up here as its private property, damn!
Here is another trail that I think leads to Cozy Dell, which is off of Highway 33. It’s a nice hike and I’ve profiled it in another post.
This is the one we took this time. It has another trail on the right that leads to a huge rock face that you can climb around on top of.
Using Photosynth for the iPhone I took this nearly 360 degree panorama, not the best app but it’s free so what can we expect, right?
Here is the giant rock face the some people climb with gear. I would rather keep my feet firmly on the ground, thank you. The only time I’d want to use climbing gear would be to repel somewhere I couldn’t get to otherwise. But that’s just my opinion, not knocking climbers in any way, they’ve got some guts to do what they do. Especially the Alpine/no rope climbers!
The trail winds along the rock face and leads to the top of the rock itself.
Poison Oak right in the middle of the trail waiting to snare the unaware. It’s really easy to slip attention for a few seconds while admiring nature and miss one of these guys. A few times getting oak rash and you’ll learn vigilance. Especially when the leaves fall off, that’s when it’s the hardest to tell. It’s best to avoid all plants hanging across the path.
It’s nice to sit down and have a light lunch after a good hike. It renews energy, revitalizes the spirit and decreases stress. I’ve heard it said that an hour outdoors exercising and you need that much less sleep.
That is the trail from a few pictures ago. It’s a little unnerving to sit so close to the edge but I really wanted to get this picture. Featuring my boot for reference and to prove it was me. ;)