6.11.12 – matilija trailhead to just shy of middle matilija campground

Very often, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. This applies to many scenarios and places in life, one of which can include hiking. I am a person who tries hard to find the beauty in all hiking, nature, etc. However, every once in awhile, I’m stumped. Which brings me to today’s hike: Matilija.

I did not like this hike.

Wife and I started out from the trailhead (end of the road) and walked up the paved road a half mile, past some private ranches, to the trail-trailhead. Turning right at the well-marked sign, we began our trek down the single-track trail. The beginning of this hike reminded me of Eaton Canyon in Pasadena, which isn’t bad. We followed a dry riverbed and ended up walking alongside a small but lively creek. As the trail went on, the trail became slimmer, the ticks, bees, bugs, poison oak, and flies became thicker, and my patience waned. After a mile and a half, we ended up at Lower Matilija Camp, which seems like it’d be a cool campground for beginning backpackers. There are fire grates, water sources near, and plenty of spots (8-10) for a tent. Cool. This is a great place to turn around.

Beyond Lower Matilija, the trail got slimmer, the bugs and poison oak denser, and the heat got hotter. We passed a pretty active beehive which was right on the trail and we crossed the creek at least 5 or 6 times. Finally, perhaps a few tenths of a mile before the next campground (just under 3 miles in), we decided we’d had enough and turned around to go home.

This hike is hot and buggy. I think it’d be fun to do in winter when the water is higher and the annoyances are less. On the upshot, its a great hike for a beginner because it is very flat and does not require a high level of fitness. If I’m missing the beauty of Matilija, please weigh in here, as I’d be open to other perspectives.

GPS LOG (Even Garmin had enough of this hike and shut off halfway. At least this will give you a reference on a map though)

Getting there: Take 33 north of Meiners Oaks/Ojai about 10 minutes to Matilija Road. It’s a clearly marked street on the left side of the road across the quarry and before Wheeler Gorge. Take that road a few miles down to the end, marked by a closed gate. Put out your Adventure Pass ($30 at REI) and walk further up the driveway past the gate. Please be mindful of the Private landowners who share their driveway generously with us.

Time: 2:11:00

Mileage: 5.75 miles at our turnaround

Elevation gain: 500 feet maybe? It’s very gradual.

Weather: 83 and sunny, light breeze

Hazards: Bees, flies, ticks, etc. No snakes seen on our journey but they definitely live here too. Bear tracks were visible at times.

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Posted on June 11, 2012, in hiking and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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