9.21.13 – Gridley Trail to Nordhoff Peak Lookout

Wife has been ramping up the frequency of her hikes recently and it seemed like an opportune time to break through her 10 mile hiking limit wall today. She didn’t just break through it – she blew right through that thing!

The last time I was on this trail, it was 105 degrees and no shade to be found. However, today it was 72 and sunny – and boy what a difference that makes! We got out to the Gridley Trail in Ojai at around 1 today. I’ve already put up a trail report of the steady first 2.5 miles – you can access that here. We hit our stride nice and early and made Gridley Spring before the first hour was up. Not bad. The spring was still almost entirely dry…so we we basically kept going. This trail is in remarkable shape and has one of the most consistent grades of any trail I can recall. Laura seemed to have no problem keeping her 2.5-3 mph stride. And we went up, up, and up!

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The changing foliage keeps things even more interesting. There are sections of alder, manzanita, and chapparal. As the plantlife changed, we knew we were increasing in elevation.


This is the second of the springs we crossed. Once again, mighty dry but if you were in an emergency situation, you’d be able to get a drink out of this. Probably wouldn’t taste amazing though.

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After 6 miles and just over 2 hours, we finally reached Nordhoff Ridge Road/Gridley Saddle. The views from the saddle were amazing and I figured this would be our turnaround point, given Laura’s newness to long hikes. However, she surprised me when she mentioned that she’d be up for pushing through another 1.25 miles to get to the summit of Nordhoff Peak! I observed Laura getting a second wind and agreed to giving the peak a shot…so onward we went…up and up and up!

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A small cold front came through while we were ascending and we had some beautiful cloud formations approaching. Totally cool.

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We finally made it to the lookout after about 30 minutes. I was surprised at how steep the fire road was, as most fire roads are usually graded pretty low. Either way, we made it!

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I found it weird that this summit was surveyed twice by USGS.

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We wrapped up our little peakbag and began a quick descent with the goal of getting back to the car before sunset.

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We made the car in about 2.5 hours. Not bad! This was by far my favorite hike in Ojai so far and I will be eager to give this a shot again with the hope of going farther up Nordhoff Road to the east. Plus, wifey kicked some butt on this 14.5 mile day hike. All in all, a great day.

The Nitty Gritty

Time: 6 hours

Distance: 14.5 miles round trip

Landmarks along the way: Hermitage/FuelBreak Rd (.6 miles), Horse Trough/Gridley Spring Camp (2.8 miles), Gridley Saddle (6 miles), Nordhoff Peak (7.2 miles)

Ascent: 3858′


Calories Burned: 2500 

Calories Consumed: 200 from Powerbar electrolyte chews, 150 from a Kind Bar

Water Consumed: 2.5L (every last drop of what I brought)

How to Get There: In Ojai, take 150 to the west part of town. Turn north on Gridley Road and take to the clear trailhead at the top of the road. No Adventure Pass is needed here.


1. Icewater in the camelbak was awesome. I should have brought more water though. Bring lotsa water! 

2. I’ve heard repeated warnings of lions, ticks, snakes, and bears in this area. I encountered none of these, but just be mindful of your surroundings. We are guests in THEIR home :-)  Let’s be good stewards.

3. We only saw a couple people on the trail. There was a lot of nice solitude and quiet. Very cool.



Posted on September 21, 2013, in hiking and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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