dogs on leash
off road driving
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)
Great loop trail. Started at Gridley trailhead. At junction less than a mile up took left a couple miles over to Pratt. Up to Nordhodf Ridge, right a mile to summit Nordhoff Peak then another mile to Gridley back down. Switched to Komoot for GPS as it is a better mileage tracker on the fly. 14.65 miles total.
I've done this hike twice before and it's been a fun experience when there's been water. This isn't a review so much as a warning to any hikers that would want to do this trail at this time of year: THERE IS NO WATER (except for a small pond at bear creek).
Such nice soft sand / dirt for those with weak or healing knees and ankles. Fast, change of scenery for the dogs. Might see some majestic horses. Not busy, feel the quiet breeze of the Ojai Valley. Loved. Lots of sun exposure so bring your hat.
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.
Finding the trail is simple enough. It's the first road on the right side after making a right from hwy 33. There's a metal gate that you'll see immediately so park anywhere outside this without blocking it. Once you walk past the gate, the trail begins up the road on the left marked by a skinny sign. This is a beautiful trail that has some shade along the way, depending on where the sun is relatively. If it's not too hot out, this trail is cool. Once you get to the top the views are amazing!