This 6.9-mile loop run follows both trail and dirt roads. The 1,420 feet of elevation gain allows for great views of Ojai Valley, giving credence to the "Valley View" name of the surrounding preserve.
The turn for the trailhead is off North Signal Street about 0.8 miles north of East Ojai Ave. It is noticeable by a large water tank at the intersection. The trailhead is about 0.3 miles west of North Signal Street.
This run starts from a trailhead and parking area that services Pratt Trail (23W09)
. The Pratt Trail briefly heads west from the trailhead then turns north following Stewart Creek before dipping into Stewart Canyon.
The trail winds up the canyon; be sure to stay on the trail as private properties (with some lovely gardens), dot the path. The trail meets a paved road leading to a gate and the Los Padres National Forest boundary; a nice map/display here can help if you find yourself turned around or keep an eye on the Trail Run Project mobile app
. Continue on the dirt road past the junction with Foothill Trail
, and past Foothill Connector Trail.
At a Y-junction, go right to head west on USFS Fuelbreak Road Trail
. The road dips and rises, eventually delivering great views of Ojai Valley. Continue on Fuelbreak Road Trail
to a gate, vista point, and junction.
At the junction, take a right to head south on Gridley Trail
(a dirt road). Turn right to continue on Gridley Road to the intersection with Shelf Road
. Turn right to follow Shelf Road
west through orange and avocado trees. Shelf Road
also affords great views. At the gate, turn left to run south on North Signal Street to the turn off for the trailhead off to the right.
Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store
The region gets its name from the native Chumash who called it Ojai, meaning "nest". Partially because of its seclusion and vistas, the region is now home to artists, music festivals, health resorts, and spiritual retreats. In 1937, Ojai Valley was also used as the setting for Shangri-La in the movie "Lost Horizon."