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Wills-Rice Loop Trail is a 4.5 mile moderately trafficked loop trail located near Ojai, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

Length 4.5 mi Elevation gain 429 ft Route type Loop

Dogs on leash

Kid friendly

Hiking

Mountain biking

Nature trips

Walking

Bird watching

Running

Views

Wild flowers

Wildlife

Bridge out

Description
Waypoints (0)
Facilities
Tips
Getting There

The Rice Canyon Trail may be temporarily closed due to the damaged bridge. Fore more information, please visit this link: https://ovlc.org/trail-updates/ The Ventura River Preserve is maintained by the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy. It contains a vast network of trails along the Ventura River and into the adjoining foothills. One can choose between easy, level hikes along the river channel, or one of several loop hikes with moderate elevation changes. The Wills-Rice loop hike is approximately 5 miles long, starting at the Oso Trailhead. You begin the hike at an elevation of about 700 feet. The climb is fairly gradual up to a maximum elevation of 1100 feet, whether you choose to go up Wills Canyon first (the southernmost), or Rice Canyon (the northernmost). If the weather is hot, keep in mind that Wills Canyon is by far the more shaded of the two. Shortly after leaving the parking area at the Oso Trailhead, you will arrive at the Ventura River. There will be quite a bit of water here year round, but also a lot of rocks, so crossing is not difficult. Please note that winter rains could make this crossing dangerous to impossible. Coming out of the river, the trail makes a left turn to the south. In a few hundred yards, you come to a junction: to the right is Rice Canyon, or continuing straight to parallel the river for another half mile, you will come to Wills Canyon, where trail turns westward. Also, there are quite a few benches strategically placed in Wills Canyon which make nice rest stops. After walking about a mile up Wills Canyon, you will come to one of those benches at a trail junction. This is a beautiful place to stop and take in the lovely surroundings of the oak forest. The trail to left is the Fern Grotto trail. You will continue going straight farther up Wills Canyon. In a little less than half a mile you will arrive at another junction. The trail to the right goes through El Nido meadow, but both trails end up joining again. If you take the trail to the left, you will quickly come to another junction where you continue going straight, not taking the trail to the left which leads to the Preserve high point (1320 feet). After leaving El Nido meadow, where the two trails rejoin, you begin the steepest part of the climb, and unfortunately, you also leave the shady oak forest behind. However, soon you reach the summit and begin the descent down Rice Canyon to your starting point.

You can find out more on line by visiting www.ovlc.org/preserves/ where a trail map is available.

Much of this hike is on roads, but some portions are on easily passable single-track trails. It is suitable for either walking or mountain biking, and you will encounter a few bikes, and horses too. There is a large parking area at the Oso Trailhead. If you forget to download and print a trail map, you can usually get one at the Riverview trailhead, which is on your way along Rice Rd., left side, between Lomita Ave. and El Roblar Dr.

The easiest way to get there from Ventura is hwy. 33 north toward Ojai, turn left at hwy 150 (Baldwin Rd.), then, in about 0.2 miles, turn right onto Rice Rd. Follow Rice Rd. for about 2 miles and turn left at Meyers Rd. Continue for about 0.2 miles. The road then makes a turn to the right, but don't be fooled by that. Continue straight through an open gate on an inconspicuous road with several large speed bumps. In a eighth of a mile, you're at the trailhead parking area.

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Reviews (144)
Photos (223)
Recordings (136)
Completed (171)
Anna Szymkowiak
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Hiking

Great trail

View Anna's Recording
Alex Cheney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 25, 2020
HikingBridge out

There were plenty of benches to rest but heavily used by mountain bikers and horseback riders. Lots of horse droppings and hay. Fun stream to cross.

Kim S
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 7, 2020
HikingBridge outBugsOver grown
View Kim's Recording
Andrew Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarApril 18, 2020
HikingBridge out
View Andrew's Recording
Tyler Morris
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarDecember 16, 2019
HikingBridge out
View Tyler's Recording
Phil Forsman
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HikingBridge outClosed

The hike is super easy but the bridge is out so you can not do the loop (unless you go off the path and jump an canal). Very easy hike though, not to much elevation, on a path the entire time

View Phil's Recording
Gregory Goeckner
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 9, 2019
HikingBridge outBugsClosedPrivate property

This Trail is basically impassable as a loop. We tried to start up Rice Canyon and came to the area where the bridge is out over the drainage canal. There are chain link fences on both sides of the drainage canal and no indication that the bridge will be rebuilt. So we did this Trail as an out-and-back on Wills Canyon only.

View Gregory 's Recording
Jason Welle
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 19, 2019
HikingBridge out

10/19/19: BRIDGE OVER THE CANAL IS OUT OVER ROCE CREEK TRAIL, so this is not technically a through loop. There are no signs until you’re pretty far along the Wills Crossover Trail. You can make it work by following the canal to the south either until you can make a u-turn, or until the service road joins Wills Trail in the southern end of the loop. However, the TRESPASSING PROHIBITED BY LAW signs make me think the county doesn’t prefer this method.

View Jason's Recording
Christina Moore
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 26, 2019
HikingBridge out

It was an amazing loop filled with spectacular views. Must be willing to cross the drainage ditch due to the blown out bridge. Circling back to the creek at the end was an amazing way to close the hike.

Devin Gibbs
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarAugust 20, 2019
Mountain bikingBridge out

Good mellow trail but the gates closed due to bridge being out

Natalie Wilson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarAugust 11, 2019
Hiking

Easy mostly flat trail loop. Good for trail run. Option to take the turn off to the ridge for a more wild trail with great view of the canyon. Love the wide and full creek deep enough to wade in at the start and end - perfect for a nice fresh reward! The first and last part of the loop is sunny, but the back is full of shaded oak trees. There are some mountain hikers and horseback riders but it wasn’t crowded.

Edward Johnson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarMay 31, 2019
Hiking

High water in riverbed prevented crossing. Hiked parallel paths on my side of river.

View Edward's Recording
Jarrod G.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 23, 2019
HikingBridge out

Great trail, easy to moderate. Lots of shade on some of the paths. The north rice loop is still closed, but the wills and other paths are great. Beautiful regrowth since the fire, lots of wildflowers.

View Jarrod's Recording
Paul Martinez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarMarch 10, 2019
HikingBridge out

Water crossing isn't possible. The other trail loop east of the river is nice, especially since the recent rain

View Paul's Recording
Katelin Jordan
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarFebruary 24, 2019
Hiking

Creek crossings, beautiful greenery, today rice canyon bridge is still closed but have plenty of other options including orange grove trail,wills canyon trail, fern grotto trail and chaparral crest trail. Some hills but nothing to hard and alot of wonderful shade.

View Katelin's Recording
Maria Vanoni
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarNovember 25, 2018

All Trails has taken me to places I did not know existed!

James Kenney
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarGray StarGray StarNovember 23, 2018
Hiking

Started out at the Oso trailhead and crossed the creek. After the creek headed uphill towards Rice canyon. Unfortunately the bridge is burnt down and access was fenced. I headed down the paved road until wills trail crossed it. I couple of mountain bikers suggested an alternate. Once you start on the wills trail after about 1/10 of a mile there is a single track trail headed uphill to the right. Follow the single track/mountain bike tread uphill. Steep climb in parts, but good workout. You drop down to Rice Canyon and make a left to follow it to the creek and back to the parking area.

Randy B.
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarApril 30, 2018

The bridge at the beginning of Rice Canyon burned down so now this trail is an out-and-back beginning in Wills Canyon.

Lauren Gunderson
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarMarch 3, 2018
Hiking

Is this trail still closed? Visiting mid-march.

Susy Chavez
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Hiking

Is this trail really closed? Im visiting in February.

Ashley Peak
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarJuly 9, 2017
Hiking

Lovely trail that weaves through the valley and along the river bed. Beautiful view of the hills. Wide trail, great for trail running. Bugs are a little bad along the river bed.

Esther Alvarez
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarJune 8, 2017
Hiking

Absolutely LOVED this trail!!!!! Saw only one other person on the hike. Amazing views where ever you are. The signs are just a bit confusing but its a loop you will get to the end eventually haha... definitely will go back.

David Shay
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarDecember 28, 2016

Great hike. Incredible views. The distance shows a little short, my fitbit came in at 6.75 miles.

Venus Garriss
Yellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarYellow StarGray StarGray StarOctober 20, 2016
First to Review

This is a hike for any hiker, you can make it as hard or as easy as you like just remember this is Ojai and can get pretty warm in the summer. Bring water and make sure to drink it as well :-)

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