Ventura River Bottom Preserve


Ventura River Bottom Preserve. 

Elevation Gain: maybe 500ft.

Distance: 3-4 miles round trip.

Time: 2-3 Hours.

Difficulty Rating: Light to Moderate.

Nearby CIties: Mieners Oaks

Directions:

Take highway 33 North from the US 101.  Drive until you pass through Oak View and Mira Monte.  You will pass a few gas stations on your left in Oak View and a Circle K on your right as you enter Mira Monte.  After you pass a few other fast food places; McDonalds then Wendy’s turn left on Highway 150 or Baldwin Road.  You will then take a right on Rice Road after a few blocks down the road.  Drive down Rice Road until you come to the trailhead on the left as you enter Mieners Oaks.

 From the parking lot you can see the beautiful mountains that frame the north side of the Ojai Valley.

This is the road you hike down at the beginning of the trail.  Also there is a bunch of information on the board for people to learn about the trails.

The view is already very nice from the first steps down the trail.

This is one of my favorite hikes because it offers such a diverse range of options.  You can stay in the riverbed and hike around in a few loops to get some exercise or you can go straight across the riverbed into the hills just to the right of that oak tree.

There is the cliff that you park on and have to hike back up at the end.  Keep that in mind when walking and try to conserve energy.

There was some type of orchard years ago.  I’ve heard it was grapes but who knows.  I tried to search a bit on google but couldn’t find anything.

This is the first of many benches placed here by the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy.  I am so glad that they were able to acquire this land and open it the public.

Here you cross an offshoot of the main river.  It’s dry most of the year.

I really like this twisted old tree.  It refuses to be torn down by the relentless efforts of the river.

Here is the Ventura River itself.  It’s totally dry now but I’ve seen it raging beyond any thought of crossing.

You can see the flora getting greener the farther you go.  This is a sign of a healthy groundwater supply.

On the way back of one of my hikes for this post I saw a California Whipsnake aka Striped Racer.  I was able to get real close and get this shot without spooking it.  I want to stress that I didn’t handle the snake in any way and encourage everyone to please do the same.  Generally there is no good that can come from handling wild animals.

Here is where you start hiking back into the eastern foothills of the San Rafael Mountain Range.

It’s slightly comforting to see little carefully stacked towers of rocks along the sides of the trail here and there. It shows that people care for this trail.

This gnarled Oak knob has too much character for its own good.

The trail is wide enough to accommodate horses and mountain bikes as well.  It’s a good idea to pay attention to what’s ahead of and behind you.

Here is one of many benches placed at opportune spots to stop for a rest.

This picture reminds me of Lord of the Rings.  The shot when they’re still in The Shire, the Ringwraith is coming and Frodo yells “Get off the road!”.

We stopped shortly after this bridge.  There is a small loop that will take about 15-20 minutes that offers some additional views of the mountains and valleys.

I’d like to shout out to The Ojai Valley Land Conservancy for all their hard work to protect the areas most of us thanklessly enjoy.  If you have any extra time or money please feel free to volunteer or donate.

Peace,

Jp

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