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A favorite among rail-trail enthusiasts, the Ojai Valley Trail extends about 9.5 miles north of Ventura from Foster Park to the heart of Ojai. Combining this trail with the Ventura River Trail, which extends southward from Foster Park, makes for a memorable, lengthy rail-trail experience.
The smallest city in Ventura County, Ojai is located in the scenic Ojai Valley, surrounded by the peaks of Los Padres National Forest. The city has long been known as a haven for artists, musicians and outdoor enthusiasts. The Chumash Indians were the first known residents of Ojai, and the town's name derives from their word for moon, "A'hwai."
The Ojai Valley Trail follows the former Ventura and Ojai Valley Railroad and runs along the Ventura River into the valley. This is a gorgeous ride, providing sweeping views of the surrounding mountains. This trail is more rural than the Ventura River Trail to the south, especially where it moves away from State Route 33. There is a gradual uphill grade as you make your way north from the Foster Park trailhead.
The trail is paved and in generally good condition, with a parallel woodchip path for equestrians. Near the 2-mile mark, you pass through an oak grove and then cross a low-lying cement-and-railroad-tie bridge that spans a creek at its confluence with the Ventura River. The trail section close to the bridge is sandy and may be underwater during heavy winter rains. Continuing north, the trail crosses several driveway entrances and roads. Between Loma and Hermosa roads, near mile 7, a sturdy shade structure framed by two large oak trees is equipped with a bench and recycling bins.
At the 8-mile mark, the trail crosses the major intersection of State Routes 33 and 150. Cross carefully here and pick up the trail on the other side of SR 150. At mile 9, you pass through grassy Libbey Park, which offers parking, restrooms and access to a short park trail leading to downtown Ojai. You might want to time your visit to coincide with the Ojai Music Festival, which takes places at the Libbey Bowl amphitheater in early June. Libbey Park also hosts a number of free summer concerts.
To reach the Foster Park trailhead, from downtown Ventura, take State Route 33 heading north. Exit SR 33 at Casitas Vista Road. Turn right on N. Ventura Avenue, and then right again on Casitas Vista Road, on which you will pass under SR 33. The entrance to Foster Park is on the north side of Casitas Vista Road. Parking is available here.
I’ve been riding this trail a couple times a week since I found it. With very few interruptions or vehicle crossings, this is a great trail for settling in and peddling away.
I started at the Foster Park trailhead. At least on a Wednesday afternoon there was plenty of parking under the bridge just before you get to the trailhead. I was on an ebike and it was an easy uphill cruise, with a gentle slope, all the way to Ojai. When reaching Ojai I would recommend turning around at Montgomery Street. Trail gets pretty junky for the few hundred yards after that. Few
I did this ride with my girls, 14 and 10 years of age, —very doable. The incline is slow and gradual so it’s easy to take in the beautiful scenery around. We enjoyed it.
Way back in June of 1998, the Los Angeles Times had an article entitled "Joy Rides - 10 scenic bike trails for real people." Coming in at #8 was "The Milk Run." It was a 16 mile round trip through the Ojai Valley starting at Foster Park. Being the real people that we are, my wife and I rode it a year or two later during a vacation to Ventura.
Today that trail is known as the Ojai Valley Trail, and from the photos on the Rails to Trails site it looks just as beautiful as twenty years ago and appears to have had some nice upgrades added too.
I recall lots of trees, a rural atmosphere, a gentle incline, and being able to pretty much coast much of the way back to Foster Park!
(BTW: I've racked my brain and done some research, but I can't remember or find why it was referred to as The Milk Run)
We live in Ventura and ride this trail at least once a month. It is always fun and a great ride. Even in the heat of the summer if you start early in the morning you can ride up to Ojai have breakfast in one of the many great places to eat then be going back down the trail in the shade with the coastal breeze in your face and dropping almost 20 degrees by the time you get back to Ventura.
beautify scenery with some hills. portions of the trail there are stop signs and a few roads to go over, slight up hill to Ojai from Ventura, ends a Libby Park. a great ride back, there are some bumps as the tree roots cause the paved path to shifts. a must ride.
We started at Foster Park (weekend entrance fee is $4) and rode 7 miles towards Ojai. Foster Park has plenty of parking and restrooms, noted that some folks parked outside of the park at the underpass. The ride towards Ojai is uphill, a bit more uphill than initially anticipated and would like to say grade is a little steeper than remember other rail-to-trail trails to be. However, not so steep as to make it difficult and does make for a nice return trip. There are some cross street intersections that need to be negotiated, none that delay the ride significantly. This was a nice ride and recommend a look.
I started my ride in Ventura at the Rex rd & Olive rd entrance. The first 3-5 miles are industrial wasteland (not a very safe part of town, either: If you need to park your car, make sure you park closer to Main street & lock up your belongings)
The trail got a lot more scenic about 5 miles towards Ojai! theres a beautiful shady park that would have been a nicer place to start but I didnt take note of the name of it. The trail is well cared for and separate from traffic- got a great ride in at 21 miles today!
On 28 June 1983, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors passed and adopted the naming of the Ojai Valley Trail, which is composed of the Ken MacDonald Bike Path, and the Southern Pacific Equestrian/Hiking Path. Before the 1969 floods, which washed out much of the tracks, a freight train would come up to the old packing house for a load of valley produce. My wife and I enjoy walking the path while visiting the Ojai Valley. Highly recommend the experience.
The beach trail is nice. You can ride all the way up to Ojai on this trail, but that is for endurance riders. When riding to Ojai, I start half way up the trail so it is more manageable. The road is pretty close so the noise and smell of the cars/motorcycles is noticable. Its separate from the road, though, so you don't have to worry about getting hit.
There is construction on the trail until April so it is closed (heading North) from @ Nye Road to East Old Creek Road. You can cut out to the 33 and then get back to the trail by going down a rock/dirt road across from East Old Creek Trail. But beware, both our riders (and a few others) got flat tires either from the glass and rocks on the 33 or on the dirt road. Make sure to have a pump and patch kit, or catch the trail a bit North of this point and avoid the closed area. Other than that the trail itself is well maintained and a fun ride!
If you start at Sanjon rd. in Ventura, park next to the Pierpont Inn, you can hook up with the trail via the beach bike path. You will have to take a short street path under the 33 fwy and past the Vons market. The path then follows the 33 up into Ojai. It is just under 20 miles to Boccali's restaurant located at the far end of town, E. Ojai rd (150) and Reeves rd.
Bring cash because they don't take credit - found out the hard way. If you go during the tomato season, their tomato and basil pizza is outstanding.
After the pizza you can take a quick nap in the lawn area next to restaurant and then head on back to Ventura.
"VENTURA RIVER TRAIL
The description in the R to T California Guidebook was helpful in locating the parking lot for the trail on the South side of Main Street just west of Hwy 33 overpass, (my GPS- N34.28131 W119.30630 at 56‘ MSL.) Bike lanes are wide on Main. The trail surface is in fine condition, and there are numerous cyclists and walkers for a Friday mid afternoon ride with a nice tailwind to peddle upgrade to Foster Park at N34.35217 W119.30684 227’ MSL and return. The pictures I have posted will give some details."
"OJAI VALLEY TRAIL
Parked my Van in the shade under Hwy 33 overpass on Casitas Vista along with other vehicles.
Started at Foster Park N34.35217 W119.30684 227’msl.
The trail surface is in excellent condition for half of the trail with a recent slurry coat, the upper half and in Ojai, there are root or other upheavals that make it very rough for a Tadpole Cycle above 10 mph. Maintenance appears to be programmed as signs indicate parts of the trail will be closed starting 16 Nov 06. The trail is within 10 yards to the entrance for eggs”n”things Restaurant as you arrive in Ojai, excellent Spanish Omelet. In Ojai, the trail goes past Fox St to Bryant St with on street parking, N34.44548 W119.23763 742’ msl. My pictures tell more of this great trail.
If you start from Foster Park it is a good uphill climb to Ojai but the return trip is all downhill. Great fun.
"Starting at the beach in Ventura the trail is now nearly 20 paved,scenic miles with 900 ft gain which makes for a wonderful ride back down after lunch."
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