Backpacking Horn Canyon Trail: To The Pines

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Backpacking Horn Canyon Trail: To The Pines Click here for more pictures, specs, and directions.    My girlfriend and I ready to go.  We’re smiling now… Advertisements

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.

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Horn Canyon Trail: To The Pines


Horn Canyon Trail: To The Pines

Elevation Gain: Nearly 1800ft.

Distance: 4-5 miles round trip.

Time: 3-4 hours.  (We stayed for about two hours at the campground)

Rating: DIfficult

Nearby Cities: Ojai

Take highway 33 north from 101 in Ventura. Stay on the 33 until it turns off from highway 150. Then bear right and take the 150 (Ojai Ave.) east through the city. Drive all the way through town, turn left on Reeves road (You should see a great pizza place called Boccalis. Follow Reeves about a mile to McAndrew Road and make another left, heading towards Thatcher School. Another mile up the road, go straight through the gate into the school grounds. Stay to the right and follow the signs to the gymkhana field. Park near the fire gate at the trailhead.

This is the trailhead.  There isn’t a lot of parking but I’ve never had any problems.  I actually had to take this shot at the end of the hike because I forgot to when we got there.

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Pratt Trail


Pratt Trail

Elevation gain: 700-850ft.

Distance: 3-4 miles round trip.

Time: 2-3 hours.

Rating: Moderate-Difficult.

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.

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Shelf Road Trail: Gridley Side


Shelf Road Trail: Gridley Side

Specs:

February 2011

Elevation gain: 125-150 feet.

Distance: 1.5 -1.75 miles.

Time: Under an Hour.

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Nearby Cities: Ojai

Directions: Google Maps

Drive to the near top of Gridley Road.  After the long straight away the road will start to turn to the right uphill, it bends around a small ranch property near the trail.  You should see a few cars parked on the left in front of a gate.

This is a very popular spot; eight cars lined up and not much room for more.  That is Gridley Road heading toward the top where Gridley Trail is.  This is one of my favorite trails.  If I have one complaint about this hike its parking.

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Gridley Trail.


Gridley Road Trail

February 2011.

Elevation Gain: Around 4000 feet.

Distance: Around 7 miles up. 14 Miles round-trip.

Time: All day (8-9 Hours).

Rating: Moderate to Advanced to Insane (Depending on when you stop).

Nearby Cities: Ojai.

Directions: Google Maps

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.

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Shelf Road: Signal Side


Shelf Road: Signal side

February 2011

Elevation Gain: Between 125-175 feet.

Distance: Between 1.5 and 1.75 miles (To the middle.)

Time: Under an hour.

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Nearby Cities: Ojai

Directions: Google Maps

Note: There are two trail-heads to this trail.  One on the very top of North Signal Street and the other is near the top of Gridley Road.  This trail is from the North Signal side to the Bench in the middle of the trail.

Here is the trailhead and parking lot all in one.  Most of the time it is full of cars so you may have trouble finding a spot.  This is a good sign as it means the trail is often used.  I’ll talk more about that later.  For less hassle and more exercise you can park in town and walk up from there.

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Cozy Dell Trail


Cozy Dell Trail.

February 2011

Elevation Gain: Around 750 feet.

Distance: Under a mile

Time: 45 Mins

Rating: Moderate

Nearby Cities: Ojai & Meiners Oaks

Directions: Google Maps

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.

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