N. Fork Matilija Trail 23W07 is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ojai, CA that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible from March until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.
Directions from Ventura: Travel north on Highway 33 to Matilija Canyon Road and turn left (west). Drive up Matilija Canyon Road to a locked gate.
This trail is closed. it's private property now. we got behind the fence but we then saw security cameras around the bend, as we were leaving someone pulled up to kick us out.
Backpacked in on Saturday morning labor day weekend. My goal was to hit Maple and I think I was the first camper on the trail past lower Matilija because all the sites were empty and I only saw a few day hikers pass me on their way back. Water was flowing from lower to just a little past middle. I was tempted to stop because the water looked great between the two but my map promised a private year-round spring at Maple. After middle comes a monster, full-sun switchback that, just when you think will never end, greets you with a beautiful shaded meadow around the last turn. I was pretty wiped once I hit upper (5.5 miles, about 3-3.5 hours with a few breaks from the start) so I had a lunch to take my 40 lb pack off and catch my breath. I decided to go for Maple because there was no water close to upper. The path starts off easy enough but about 30 minutes in, I'm not quite sure, I lost it completely. I was left scrambling and bush-wacking and after the second close encounter with a rattlesnake, I decided it was best left unresolved. I turned back to upper where I started to set up when another group joined. I thought of staying but needed water so I packed up my hammock and headed back to middle. Was greeted by one more rattler on the way but got to set up camp and have dinner on by about 6. Slept right alongside a babbling brook and hiked out in the morning. Definitely a trip I'll be doing again after the next rain.
Enjoyed the trail this past weekend. Following the directions here and going out to the Upper Matilija campground and beyond we did not see any waterfalls or swimming holes. I believe the hike for those sites is actually a different trail (starting at the same trail head). Lots of poison oak. Some water though I was glad we did not need to drink it at these levels (creeks were trickling at the start and end of the hike but no water in a section in the middle). Had a run in with a rattle snake near the upper campground but thankfully no one was bitten. All in all an enjoyable hike to get away with the dog (especially as he could jump in the creek to keep cool regularly)
Went in summer, we prepared with extra water which was good since the creek was dry by the first mile and a half. We went up to middle matilaja campground and spent the night. It was great, not much traffic, enough shade to break as needed in the midday sun hiking. And the site had plenty of room for our two tents.
This has become one of my favorite hikes over the years. Never ceases to amaze me with the many adventures one can go on. The giant rock pools make a great destination for a cool off. Just sad to see the 3-4 creek crossings on the way to go bone dry. Still makes for fun rock scrambling for kids of all ages.
Saw creeks and lizards and a huge (non-rattle) snake and some great views and not many people considering it was 4th of July weekend. About 60% shaded, limited incline. Don't miss the upper portion (just keep going past middle camp - trail is obvious.) Upper camp is nothing spectacular (look for hidden site behind the first one you come across) but the way there is maybe the best part of the whole hike. All told, maybe 3.5 hours up. 1.5 hours down.
If you want a good day hike - the North Fork trail is amazing. It's shady and runs along a creek, then climbs out eventually and you get the reward of seeing how far you hiked. Wear pants or be wary - there's a few areas of poison oak over the trail further in.
The matilija canyon area is gorgeous. So nice to have such raw nature and big mountains near Ojai. The waterfall isn't until the upper matilija campground area (we only made it to middle matilija, which was 6+ miles). That said, the creek was full and running and made for nice scenery. Not much elevation gain and not too strenuous but nice for a weekend afternoon outside. The low point of the trail is that it is overgrown in some areas and there are lots of plants that look like poison oak (wearing long pants on this one is probably best). Would definitely come back but not an all-time favorite given the great hiking in the carp/sb/Ojai area.
Great hike, we started at 9am not may people on the trial until about a 1/2 a mile past the lower camp. We came across two very large groups of 15 or more. Had to wait for them to pass since it's a narrow trail.
Lot's of shade so it made it a very nice hike. We hiked to the mid campgrounds.
Been here many times, it's always a pleasure going back, Matilija Falls.
It was a really good hike! Half was really descent trails then mid to the end got a bit rough but not bad! The constant flow and sound of the creek was really nice... Woulda been nice to know to bring some older shoes to walk through the creek at times, and the waterfall was cool to see at the end! All around, great hike, would definitely go again! Thanks Ojai...
Beautiful trail in the spring. Blankets of wild flowers, temperate weather. A little more traffic on the trail than we prefer. Easy at the beginning, slightly moderate as you hike deeper into the wilderness. Recommended.
Great views, plenty of places to stop and check out the water, not a lot of elevation before the 1st camp (maybe 1.5m after the trail head). Going 4 stars because a lot of the trail seemed overgrown and poorly marked. Other then that, great hike.
Pretty Trail. Well shaded after the first mile or so. Great trail for kids and dogs. (And my dog is quite small.
One of my favorites in the area, beautiful hike!