Reward (1-10): 5.0 Description: Follow the creek on an easy elevation climb in the middle of this vast mountainous region.
Where: Ojai, CA
Directions: From the 101 Freeway in Ventura, exit at the 33 freeway and drive north. Continue north on the 33 thru Casitas Springs, where the freeway ends. There are no traffic lights until you get to Oakview. Keep driving north into Ojai. After you pass a MacDonalds, Taco Bell and Wendys, turn left on Baldwin. Less than 500 feet up, turn right onto La Luna. This road saves time and ends at a 6-way intersection, which includes the 33. Make sure the traffic is clear and then turn left on the 33 to head north into the mountains. Most cell phones will lose their coverage within a few miles from this point. The 33 becomes a very beautiful windy road. A few miles up you will see the official Los Padres National Forest Sign. You'll pass through two tunnels. From La Luna, you'll drive 13.2 miles to Rosevalley. Keep going straight on the 33. Drive another 6.2 miles from Rose Valley and look for the small turnout on the right. You'll see a sign that say Potrero John Trail.
There is only room for one car to park here, possibly two. Fortunately, no one else was in the mood to hike this hidden wonder today. There was a mild sprinkle most of the day and at times it came down harder. But we don't care; we thrive in conditions like this because we're from OH-IO!
Cookie Dough Mountain
Just past Rosevalley, you will see the Piedra Blanca off to your right from the 33. My son called it cookie Dough Mountain, so I snapped a picture of it. There are many great trails off of Rosevalley but on this rainy Sunday with my 7-year-old, I was looking for something simple yet scenic. The Potrero John won with approval and was well worth the drive!
A Beautiful Manzanita
The trail is easy to follow and crosses this creak four or five times. We lost the trail once and began following the creek but my instinct was to look up, I did, and there it was. There is a solid trail the entire time. It follows the creek closely for the first mile and then it veers off to the left for just a few minutes until it reunites with the creek again. The canyon is not very wide so it would be very difficult to get lost.
My Son spotted a Lady Bug :)
We walked into a Rainbow
Many small Waterfalls, most were larger than this but my son was not in those pictures :)
Ayden was getting anxious so I told him the campsite was up by those trees
Good timing because the rain really started to come down. The trees offered nice shelter but the temperature had dropped and we were both cold. We didn't make a fire today to eat and warm up. Instead, I packed us PB&J sandwiches with potato chips. The hike was only 1.6 miles and maybe 600 feet up, but for my son, the rest was well deserved.
To reach this campsite, you have to cross the creek one more time. The trail continues higher but according to the map, it only goes another quarter mile or so. This makes sense because the canyon appears to end and unless you intend to rock climb, the gorge will tell you to turn around. I would have liked to see this for myself but maybe another time. This would be an ideal place to camp for young kids. Just an hour hike in but you are away from everything. I didn't notice much in the way of wildlife and whoever was at this camp last, left 6 chocolate chip cookies by the fire pit. The cookies were perfectly stacked and in good condition. Yes, they were tempting but we did not eat them :)
Ayden I hustled back down the stream. We missed the trail a few times but eventually met up with it as the creek and the trail intersected. It was nice being back in the Los Padres and I hope to be back soon to take on a 15+ mile overnight expedition! I took one final picture before we left:
-My battery died in my car! Good thing I had jumper cables. I was able to flag someone down and the car jumped ok. I really need a new car. This 2001 Ford Focus has no driver side window, no passenger side mirror, dents all over the car and an engine that sounds like a truck. However, it got me here so what are ya gonna do...