Weather-related warning: Since the highlights of this hike are the scenic panoramic views along the main ridgeline and the peak, excessive low cloud cover could postpone this hike to a future date. However, an alternate hike off of Hwy 33 would be offered as long as it’s not another “steady” rainy day.
This is an exploratory route from Rose Valley to and from Nordhoff Ridge and, then, to Chief Peak. The main route to Nordhoff Ridge would be either the Howard Creek trail or a nearby firebreak. We will try the other route on the return to Rose Valley. Expect off-trail, cross country hiking to find and return from the main routes to and from Nordhoff Ridge. Bush-wacking should be minimal as this area is in the Thomas Fire burn scar, but there is plenty of new growth. You will most likely encounter charred skeletons of burned chaparral to brush up against, which the black char will get onto your clothes. Once we reach Nordhoff Ridge, we will head over to the pyramid-shaped Chief Peak and attempt to get to the summit over a Class 2 use-trail route (if one exists).
The panoramic views on the ridgeline are unbeatable including the Piedro Blanco rock formations, Reyes and Haddock Peaks and Alamo Mountain in the heart of the Los Padres National Forest. In addition, Chief Peak should have great views of the Ojai Valley along with the ocean and some of the Santa Barbara Channel Islands..
Distance: 12.5 – 13.5 miles round trip.
Elevation Gain: 2,000 – 2,500 feet.
Pace: 2 to 2.5 mph on trails, roads, and fire breaks. Slower pace while ascending and descending Chief Peak and along any other off trail sections. This is not a conditioning hike and we will want to keep the group together as much as possible. Please do not have important engagements planned for later that day.
Difficulty: Moderately difficult depending on one’s conditioning.
Minimum level: Intermediate, due to the distance.
What to bring: 3 liters of water, food for lunch and snacks, and footwear appropriate for Class 2 route on the approach to Chief Peak. Dress in layers for changing temperatures and elevations. Gloves may be useful for the charred chaparral and ascending the peak. Hiking poles may be helpful if you have them.
Meeting Time and Place: Meet 8:00 am at the Vons Shopping Center in Ojai. Vons is located on the southwest corner of Hwy 33 (the intersection of Ojai Rd and Maricopa Hwy) 13 miles north of US-101.
Earlier Meeting Time and Place: 7:00 am at the Thousand Oaks Park and Ride at the Corner of S. Rancho Rd and Halland Dr. It’s just south of the
US-101 Fwy and S-23 Fwy interchange. No host will be there, so participants will have to arrange their carpooling. Please be willing to drive and have a full tank of fuel. Riders please be willing to share in the cost of the fuel.
Optional dinner at a local restaurant in or near Ojai after the hike.