Nice job Giants! A whole weekend without a ramble, I know my fawning minions were getting antsy so here we go:
One of Ojai’s more popular trails, Cozy Dell starts at Route 33 and eventually connects to the Pratt and Foothill trails which will take you up to the ridge and the Topas. It truly has something for everyone.
The Basics : Leave the directions and maps to the experts at Ventura County Trails (trail 6). A nice quick workout, strenuous first mile, then some amazing views, then a hilly mile down into the canyon ending at a seasonal creek and the Pratt/Foothill road. Some sections get extremely muddy after rain, about 3/4 of a mile up before you hit the first peak. Rarely see any horses or bikes up here, which I love, sorry riders sometimes we like to have the trail to ourselves. Poison oak is pretty…
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.
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.
Note: If you drive up to the top of Gridley Road, you should find it. Once you come to a private gate and a bunch of cars parked around, you’ve found it. There is another trail-head on the way; it’s for The Shelf Road Trail, pass it up and park at the end of the road. As with any other place keep everything locked in your trunk to avoid theft.
This is what you should see right as you step off of the road. There are a few signs for trail distances and information, as well as some trail-maps for when anyone wants to use them. Please put them back as the Forestry Service doesn’t have the budget to keep up these stations as well as they should.
Note: I gave a link to the Friends Ranch Packing house on google maps because there isn’t an official trailhead, so google won’t tell you how to get there. You can park in the dirt lot before the packing house. The lot will be on your left about 100 yards before the packing house which is on the right.
Cozy Dell Trail is just that. A secluded walk up a shady wooded valley.
Right as you step off the road you see that this trail is loved. People have taken time out of their personal lives to make a river rock stair case for all to enjoy. This lends itself to the name and feeling of the trail. Very inviting to see at the beginning of the hike.
Grasses and native herbs line the path, occasionally protruding into the trail. It’s always a good idea to be aware of what you’re walking through. It might be Poison Oak. If you’ve never had a run in with it, be very glad. It’s nasty stuff and sometimes very hard to tell if it’s actually it at all. Fortunately there are a few simple things you can do to avoid it. I’ll cover it in a separate post and talk a little more about it later on.