N. Fork Matilija Trail 23W07 (CLOSED)

MODERATE 124 reviews
#3 of 150 trails in

N. Fork Matilija Trail 23W07 (CLOSED) is a 6.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ojai, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from March until November. Dogs and horses are also able to use this trail.

6.2 miles
593 feet
Out & Back

dog friendly

kid friendly





horseback riding

nature trips

trail running





wild flowers


over grown


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.

3 months ago

by far one of the best hikes I've been on in California. beautiful and green, for they most part, but i can't say how the Thomas fire muy have affected it

8 months ago

Lots of poison ivy! Great trail tho! B-e-a-u-tiful!

9 months ago

Beautiful trail- seems to be a local favorite. The warnings about the poison oak are real. Wear clothing that covers your legs for this hike. I was told that the poison oak is especially bad during this part of the summer. We made it a few miles in but then there was a pass that was so thick with poison oak we could not go through, there would have been no way to get through it untouched so we had to turn around and head back. Hope that this can be better maintained because it's a beautiful trail and we wanted to see more. Lots of creek crossings so wear proper footwear.

10 months ago

love this trail! great clear water, amazing place to get away for a while.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Love this place!

Friday, April 07, 2017

Good trail but way too many bugs/mosquitoes. GPX tracks wont lead you to the falls from what I can find and we never made it there.Tons of poison oak along the majority of the trail. We got to a sign stating .5 miles from middle campground but was so overgrown and covered with poison oak we turned around and so did the hikers we came across earlier. Didn't have machete to cut a trail and the higher we got the more RATTLESNAKES we came across on very narrow trail paths with overgrown bush. Swimming through a sea of bugs and poison oak was still fun. At least there are thousands of lizards to kill the GAZILLION swarms of bugs out there right now. I've lived in the desert for 22 years and I have never seen that many lizards/snakes/bugs on one trail. How is this the #1 trail for LPNF?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

March 18, 2017. Lots of water crossings. a challenge to keep dry. Nice weather, plenty of shade, a great time of year to hike this trail if you don't mind some boulder crossings.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

Giving it 4 stars because we got a little lost, off trail. Which was sketch, and i'm an avid hiker so I feel that shouldn't have happened. Look for carins and pay close attention in the beginning. Once we found our way again the trail was AWESOME and so was the ending :)

Saturday, February 25, 2017

For an epic experience after winter rains, head west ~5 miles up Matilija canyon to the waterfalls. Look on a topo map for the falls and old road. The owners of the private property allow you to pass through even though the sign says no hiking. It is not an official trail and you have to walk in the water the last mile. The waterfalls this year are the best you will ever see.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Moderate amount of poison oak. Avoidable but barely. Some nice small pools but not deep enough for swimming. The waterfall was a bit of a mystery but found it but using a topo map it's off-trail up a creek bed on the left. At the time the falls were dry. Should be running this year!

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

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.

Sunday, September 04, 2016

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.

Monday, August 29, 2016

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)

Sunday, August 07, 2016

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.

Monday, July 11, 2016

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.

Sunday, July 03, 2016

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.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

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.

Monday, May 30, 2016

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.

Monday, May 02, 2016

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.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Been here many times, it's always a pleasure going back, Matilija Falls.

Sunday, April 03, 2016

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...

Saturday, April 02, 2016

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.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

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.

Monday, February 29, 2016

Pretty Trail. Well shaded after the first mile or so. Great trail for kids and dogs. (And my dog is quite small.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

One of my favorites in the area, beautiful hike!

Saturday, January 09, 2016

Hey Interested in hiking this trail tomorrow any suggestions?

Friday, November 13, 2015

Love this trail

Sunday, November 08, 2015

Well marked and well used trail. At times it felt like the trail was over marked (yellow arrows painted on rocks every few hundred feet) which diminished the natural feel of the hike. I started early and went as far as the Maple Campsite (I completed the upper portion of the hike from 33 to the Maple Campsite several weeks previously). I had the trail all to myself the entire outbound leg. I was not so fortunate on the return leg. I was like a salmon swimming upstream through the steady stream of hiking and backpacking groups going in the opposite direction. This one has been checked off the list. No need to return.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

The wife and I are visiting Ojai for the first time, and wanted a day hike with moderate difficulty. Starting around 10:00am, we hiked in 4 miles to the 2nd campsite, took a short break to stretch and hydrate, and then hiked back 4 miles. We were moving at a leisurely pace, getting back to our car around 2:45pm.

Things to know:
- You'll cross a stream a couple of times, and at least today the water was not a problem. You could easily hop from rock to rock and stay dry.
- The parking lot is easy to find, and you do cross past a brown gate down a private road past a few houses before reaching the trailhead.
- The trail is relatively easy to follow. Thankfully, someone has spraypainted yellow dots and arrows throughout the trail, helping you in any tricky places. On our way back we did go the wrong way twice, but found our way back quickly. Just look for those Yellow dots!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The trailhead is just 30 minutes from Ojai where you must take care in hiding all valuables in your car at the locked gate to the wildlife refuge. We began our hike at 1130AM, and already starting to feel the heat coming on. Just me and my 13 year old son going for an overnighter, and it was his first backpacking trip. Passing the refuge and continuing on the easement led to more sun exposure. We stayed on the dirt road and passed a couple trails, on either side until we got to a fork in the road with a sign saying ‘all trails’ heading left, and private property to the right. We stay right and enter Blue Heron Ranch, where we see no one on site. We pass horses and continue on the dirt path as the easement turns but generally heads due north. After about an hour and half, we cross a small stream and come into a clearing for a campsite, but it appears we're still on Blue Heron Ranch property. There is a firepit and a quartz rock big enough to sit on. We continue up the path, hop a rock wall next to a closed gate and turn right which looks like the trail that veered left that we passed when entering the ranch. We continue to see stacked rocks from time to time, encouraged to keep going. At last we come upon a campsite marked by a huge boulder and large oak trees. There is a fire pit and walking around, there are several campsites by the creek. We pick a spot a little off trail towards the creek to setup our campsite. We also meet a local who advises us about nearby swimming holes and the waterfalls further up the trail. Packing a small axe was helpful when gathering wood and chopping some down to manageable pieces. Dried leaves and twigs were plentiful for getting a fire started. Be careful of poison oak. They are scattered all over the place, in the campsites and near the trails. Careful of spiders, there were literally hundreds of them in a bunch, which at first glance looked liked moss. The water hole near the campsite was fun. Large boulders to jump off, but the water was dirty, mossy, please use water shoes. We spent about an hour here before sundown. The temperature dipped into the 50's at night. The following morning, after breakfast and packing up, we hit the trail to make it to the waterfall. We pass the first watering hole, and come up on another one, deeper and cleaner because it's more of a rock pool. We press on walking alongside the creek, but an hour later stop for lunch and assess our water. I had only packed 1 bottle of water and forgot the water filter, so we decide not to continue, turn back and spend some time in the rock pool. We grab our packs and head back towards the car. We end up reaching the car in just over 1 hour. As we walked through Blue Heron Ranch, we were advised to take the "other trail" instead of through the ranch. Overall, it was a good quick overnight backpack trip. My son felt proud to accomplish the trek and back, and looks forward to more adventures.

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