Topatopa Bluff Trail is a 18.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ojai, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, running, nature trips, and bird watching and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail.

Distance: 18.1 miles Elevation Gain: 4,783 feet Route Type: Out & Back

dog friendly

hiking

nature trips

bird watching

running

views

wild flowers

wildlife

snow

Please be aware that users have reported portion of this trail is very narrow and the ground is not very stable.

hiking
no shade
over grown
5 days ago

Parts of the Red Reef Trail section were overgrown but not too bad. Limited shade around the 5 mile mark and up. Good views!

hiking
6 months ago

Snow in November!

hiking
no shade
7 months ago

There is a little section where the ground is not stable and could collapse. You will pass over a little section that is just rocks from a rock slice or something and then after that the ground is not very stable. I went super slow, one foot in front of the other and I made it through. Just a little past that I could see the section where the trail collapsed beneath Darcy’s feet(review below). I was probably not smart and jumped over that section but I made it just fine. That was the only sketchy section and the trail seemed fine after that. I didn’t make it all the way but turned around because it was pretty hot and there is no shade. I went through my 3L+ water that I brought without even doing the whole thing so be prepared. Also not as badly overgrown as I was expecting, just a few spots.

hiking
8 months ago

Karin, there are switchbacks to the left of the rocky, steep part that will get you all the way to the top. I’ve been there several times, and I agree, it’s one of the best hikes in the area. Chief Peak is also pretty majestic!

hiking
over grown
8 months ago

Actually did this trail back on Memorial Day of this year. It was good weather, some clouds, little chilly at the top, but were dressed well. Sure it was overgrown as it is little trafficked, and thankfully didn’t run into any rattlers (we did have 1 pair of hiking poles which was helpful). but to me it was probably the most majestic hike in all of Southern California. And that’s purely from the intimidatingly majestic view of the bluffs with you most of the hike. Unfortunately did not get to make it up the summit as there was only one steep, rocky washed part on the side that we saw-no other means up.? (If anyone has guidance as to how a better way to the summit, please do share!!). Have heavily considered eloping up here <3

hiking
over grown
private property
9 months ago

The first 3.8 miles are very nice. During the initial part the path cuts through private property, is vehicle width, well shaded, steady incline, and has only two easy river crossings. After that it quickly becomes overgrown and you're in direct sunlight. I train for inclines and found this trail to be pretty easy in terms of incline but it may be very difficult for others. I didn't finish to Hines Peak like I wanted. If you look at my recording, the point where I turned around is where the trail gave out on me and I was clinging to the side of the mountain before I had to throw myself back up while the earth beneath me just kept crumbling. That shook me up pretty good and I decided to turn back. So just be aware that portion of the trail is very narrow and the ground is less stable. Hope to make it to the top next time!

hiking
11 months ago

Did this full hike last week with a group of 4 friends and we were very pleased. According to our Fitbit our entire hike was closer to 20 miles. If you ever get confused about how to get to the peak just keep making right turns when you arrive at forks. I drank about 3 liters of water and ate lunch at the peak. With the one hour lunch break at the peak and a few 10 minute breaks the entire hike took us about 8 hours. This is a great hike if you’re training for an upcoming backpacking trip or simply looking for an awesome hike!

hiking
Wed Jun 05 2019

Very hot day with no cloud cover. This would be a better winter hike. Great views around 3 miles up. The regular bluff trail was extremely overgrown with the heavy rains this winter so we stayed on the fire road instead. Just kept begging some of the fog hanging out over the ocean to come our way. It didn’t listen so we turned around at 4.5 miles

hiking
Thu Apr 18 2019

Not a bad hike given that the entire area was completely destroyed not too long ago during the Thomas Fire. The hike begins on Sisar Canyon Road which is more or less a literal dirt road with a gentle yet steady grade. I did this during the spring so there were wildflowers and butterflies everywhere. There was also a few rattlesnakes and gopher snakes, so make sure that stick on the trail is actually a stick and not a rattler.. Also there are a few water crossings. After a few miles of hiking in the shade along a fireroad you hang a right onto Red Reef and head deep into the more exposed burn area. The trail is slightly overgrown in spots as the plants are once again taking over their home, but all in all its in good shape. This is the most strenuous portion of the climb, reaching maybe 600-800ft of gain per mile, but the section is short. As of mid-April, there are a two water sources on this section of trail. The day I hiked it was 84F at the trailhead. That said, I drank a gallon of water and filtered an extra quart heading back to the car just in case. Once you make it to the ridge line you hang a right and work your way around the side of the bluff. This section of trail is very wide as you're on a fireroad again. It has a gentle but steady grade. There is no water here. At the next junction, you hang a right and go around the back of the bluff to the top. If you look around at the summit you'll find the remains of a vandalized USGS survey marker. On a clear day you can see Mount San Antonio and Baden-Powell to the east along with Channel Islands National Park to the southwest. On an exceptionally clear day, you'll be able to spot San Nicolas Island almost due south and very low on the horizon and Mount San Gorgonio (tallest mountain in Socal outside the eastern Sierra) in the far distant east. if you're an avid hiker who tackles the big climbs in the San Gabes, San Bernardinos and Eastern Sierra, you'll find this trek quite easy and almost refreshing. If you're more of a beginner, this could be the hike that pushes you to the next level. It has a very respectable amount of gain and mileage. If you're a complete beginner, you'll want to skip this hike altogether and start with something less strenuous. In closing, if you live in Ventura County and are looking for a decent hike that doesn't involve driving through Burbank and Pasadena, you're on the right track. During the week, this trail sees very little foot traffic. But on the weekends you'll struggle to find a place to park as there are only a few parking spots. The rest of area is clearly marked private property.

running
Sun Mar 31 2019

Pretty easy run, but there are a few sketchy sections. Saw a bobcat and what appeared to be a mountain lion at 7:51pm it was almost dark which makes sense. Also could hear it so not sure what else it would have been. I started late so I got blasted by the sun and that made it tough. If your hiking you need to start before 7am. It was only 70 degrees. Being mace or some sort of defense is going solo

hiking
snow
Sat Feb 09 2019

So I did a version of this where I kept going to Hines Peak and tried to climb it, but it was too icy. The total round trip is almost exactly 20 miles according to my GPS. Started getting snowed on about 3/4 of the way up the trail, but I was the only one on the trail and it was awesome to be the one to leave the first footprints.

recorded Sisar Canyon/Red Reef Trail

hiking
over grown
snow
washed out
Fri Jan 25 2019

hiking
Fri Dec 28 2018

Great Hike and spectacular views of the park landscape as well as the ocean and channel islands. Challenging but doable. Did it in 6 hours including a 30 minute break at the top, however I ran some flat/downhill stretches. Gets a bit chilly around the summit, but in the sun you’re okay even without jacket/sweater. Did not see any snake/mountain lion, but that may be due to this time of the year (late December). The trail is generally fine. There is one small section which is a bit sketchy but not a problem or dangerous at all. Good hike and for the most part a good trail to run as well.

hiking
Thu Dec 27 2018

I hiked this Christmas Day 2018. Since the fire went through we didn’t see a single bird or any wildlife on the trail which was a bit eerie, but I was told on a previous hike my friend had ran into rattlesnakes and even a mountain lion in the evening. We started at 6am and were back at the car by 5 going a leisurely pace with breaks along the way. It’s been a while since I’ve been hiking so there were quite a few challenging stretches and moments I wanted to give up, but if a negative is that it’s all up hill a positive is that the way back is all down hill. Everybody else had tired themselves out but I, the out of shape slowpoke, was sailing down. The weather was also nice. There was ice on the ground and it was windy near the top, but the chill was refreshing and there were times earlier it was warm enough I took off my jacket. In conclusion, yes it’s hard, but if I can do it anyone can at the right pace and the views are 10/10 worth it. You should go :)

hiking
Wed Dec 05 2018

Epic hike / experience -- 19 miles roundtrip and 4200 foot gain, according to my gps. You get up close and personal with the massive, vertical bluffs that are the centerpiece of "Pink Moment" sunsets in the Ojai Valley. If you like that awed feeling of insignificance you get next to the monumental, indifferent masonry that nature + fathomless time can form, hike this. Took 7.5 hours, 3 liters of water, and a packed lunch on a sun-then-rain day in the high 60s. From the parking area at the end of Sisar, it's 1.5 hours to the Red Reef trailhead, another .5 hours to the White Ledge Campground (nice camp!), an hour from there up to the (Nordhoff?) ridge road, and then one last hour to the trail that winds along the top of the bluff. This final hour's section can be done in a more direct route than the roundabout one that AllTrails currently shows. About a half mile after you turn right on the ridge road, watch for two trail signs/posts (one burned) to your right. This steep (scree-scramblin') but established trail can also clearly be seen/followed on Google maps satellite view. (There is cell phone signal up there in case you want it.) Spotted a doe & fawn at the very top, as well as some quail -- oh and crossed one human on the way up. Good luck!

hiking
Fri Oct 05 2018

Second time on on this trail - really like being able to heat water while hiking. Shady (if you go early enough) for much of the out trip along the creek to a little grotto at 2.5 mi from the trail head (3 mi if you park at the store in Summit). About .24 mi up to the overlook with great view (we went another 1/2 mi but the overlook provides the best view). Trail - actually a fire road - is easy (or maybe low moderate because of the steady incline). Total elevation gain about 1100 ft.

Tue Sep 18 2018

Great views. Trail should show hike to top of topa Topa ridge.

hiking
Tue Dec 05 2017

I really enjoyed this hike. It was 9.1 miles to the top and my total trip was 18.9. Needless to say, I took a wrong turn and had to do a little backtracking on the way down. Bring plenty of water and food/snacks for the trip. Also, I slowed down a lot around the overgrown areas after reading previous reviews of someone seeing a couple of rattlesnakes. No snakes on this trip. Pro tip: Bring an extra battery pack if you want to keep your phone charged to track the entire hike.

Thu Nov 02 2017

This is an awesome hike. Beautiful scenery. I think this hike is best on an overcast day, not a lot of shade on a hot day. This hike will not disappoint.

running
Sun Oct 15 2017

This trail gave me a workout! I read reviews before coming and they were pretty spot on except how to identify the entrance because I didn't see any. As previously mentioned parking is limited. I thankfully found a spot when I got there today. As we haven't seen much rain, the trail is dry and had a lot of flies at some spots along the trail.

backpacking
Sun Apr 09 2017

This trail is gorgeous but HARD.

hiking
Sun Apr 02 2017

Watch for rattlesnakes! A fellow hiker was nearly bit in the face as he was ducking under a tree branch - when he came eye to eye with a young rattler. On the decent, there was a mature rattler RATTLING at us from the edge of the trail. But it's a gorgeous hike and a great workout. I have NO idea why this is rated at moderate.

Wed Feb 08 2017

Big time hike. Bring lots of water and snacks

hiking
Mon Feb 06 2017

Great views if it's clear. For half of the trail there will be no shade if sunny and there is a steady incline the whole way. I went when it was overcast and hiked through the clouds and ended up with a view of blue skies above and clouds below. Plan to go again on a clear day or night. Trail is in great shape.

Sat Dec 24 2016

Are you allowed to mountain bike this trail?

Mon Nov 28 2016

This was my first venture on this trail. I was looking for a good trail run to do some hill sprints... this was perfect! Inclines the whole way up, breathtaking beauty all around, and the view about 2.5 miles up was amazing! Looking forward to doing this one again and seeing a lot more of the trail.

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