Wills-Rice Loop Trail

MODERATE 35 reviews
#2 of 2 trails in

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.

DISTANCE
4.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
429 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Loop

dogs on leash

kid friendly

birding

hiking

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

wild flowers

wildlife

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.

5 months ago

The trail isn't closed. However, the bridge at the beginning of Rice Canyon burned and now this trail is an out-and-back beginning in Wills Canyon. We walked to the aforementioned bridge in 1h45m. To make it a loop you'd have to slip through the barbed wire next to the fence, shimmy down the aquaduct and jump another fence. Still a beautiful hike but quite a few old trees burned :(

hiking
7 months ago

Is this trail still closed? Visiting mid-march.

hiking
8 months ago

Is this trail really closed? Im visiting in February.

hiking
Sunday, July 09, 2017

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.

hiking
Thursday, June 08, 2017

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.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

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

Thursday, October 20, 2016

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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