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Santa Paula Canyon

August 24, 2019 @ 8:30 am - 2:30 pm

Santa Paula Canyon still has plenty of water. The location of the trailhead has changed but we will still meet along the road just outside of the gate. Not for beginners as the pace will be moderate. There are no strenuous hills but it is not recommended unless you have done water/creek/cyn hike and be with the group. Expect to spend some time cooling off in the pools and enjoying the water.

This is one of those special gems Don showed us long before everybody knew about it. This write up is his PLEASE READ:


Distance: 10.5 miles

Elevation Gain: 1500 feet

Multi-Level Rating: 5/10 for water and rock hopping aficionados, 9/10 if you’re not.

Scenery factor: priceless

Trail: Asphalt road, single track, rock hopping, bigger rock hopping, numerous creek crossings.

Disclaimer: If we go past the Punch Bowls YOU WILL BE GETTING WET!! It’s pretty much a follow the creek trail. There are a few areas where it was more difficult to follow the trail, but not necessarily dangerous, just adventurous!! There is rock hopping involved, no steep grades, but a steady uphill in certain spots -> I wouldn’t suggest planning anything later in the day. To go past the Punch Bowls I have seen people climb over, which to me is too dangerous so I go through the waist deep water with my pack over my head. There is a second tricky spot just past this area that requires the use of a rope that will be there to help you from slipping. There is also a very nice swimming hole and natural water slide in this area.

Bring Lunch!

Description: Santa Paula Canyon is one of the best hikes in Ventura County. The trail takes you through picturesque St. Thomas Aquinas College. The road eventually splits off to the right from the college and continues through a ranch and oil well site. Approximately 1.3 miles from the highway and after the oil wells, the route enters dense sycamore and alder stands along the creek bottom. During the winter floods of 2005, much of the trail and road was eliminated due to high waters. The main attractions are a narrow gorge and beautiful waterfalls that cascade into deep pools of water. Be very careful when hiking this trail due to the many steep drop-offs and high cliffs. After 3.4 miles, the trail passes Big Cone Camp that has campsites set in a shady grove of big cone Douglas-fir with year-round water close by.

LocalHikes Description (http://localhikes.com/Hikes/SantaPaula_4472.asp)


Parking for this hike is along Ojai Rd (CA-150) adjacent to Thomas Aquinas College. If you don’t want to carpool at my suggested location below you can meet us here. Take the 126 West from the 5 fwy about 28 miles to 10th St/CA-150 and go right to Santa Paula, North. You need to pay attention here as I believe the road goes to the right somewhat. Stay on the CA-150 for about 5 miles and park near the entrance gates for the college.

Carpooling: I’m going to suggest meeting just off the 5 fwy at Valencia Blvd at the Starbuck’s on the northwest corner of Valencia Blvd and The Old Road. Leaving at 7:00 am will get us on the trail by 8:00 am.


The Fine Print

PLEASE – Know your limits and abilities. Bring snacks and drink plenty of liquids when hiking. Check weather conditions and dress accordingly and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Watching out for poison oak, snakes, ticks, uneven footing, spectacular views, beautiful fauna all while interacting with awesome (usually) fellow hikers can be extremely hazardous, rewarding and fun.

The Farzan Rule: Posted hike times are the time the hike starts or we leave from a posted shuttle location. I’m aware other Meetup groups offer a grace period for late arrivals; we don’t. It’s your responsibility to know the location of the meeting spot and be there and ready to participate at the posted time. If you have any concerns about the directions feel free to contact the organizer of the event, preferably in advance of the event and not at the start time. I’m of the opinion that it’s not fair to delay an event when the majority of attendees have arrived on-time. (so named after a conversation I had with a certain un-named member)

RSVP’s: If you RSVP for an event be responsible and update your RSVP if your plans change. If your plans change at the last second and you’re not able to update your RSVP also let us know. In my opinion a no-show is someone who has no regard for following the guidelines we request from our members and will risk being removed from future events that have a limit.


Rating a hike is subjective, meaning the difficulty of a hike will be in direct relation to how often you hike and the type of hike you prefer. Keep in mind that any hike can have the following: un-even hiking surfaces, various obstructions, water and/or water crossings or bouldering and/or rock hopping. A great hike will have all of these!

1 – A long walk

2 – 4 mile hike w/little elevation gain

3 – 5 mile hike w/up to1000 ft. elevation gain

4 – 5+ mile hike w/up to1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increases at times)

5 – 7+ mile hike w/over 1500 ft. elevation gain (heart rate increasing even more at times)

6 – 7+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be trying to remember how to perform CPR)

7 – 5+ mile hike w/over 2000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be muttering expletives to yourself)

8 – 10+ mile hike w/over 3500 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be angry with the hike leader)

9 – 10+ mile hike w/over 5000 ft. elevation gain (at times you might be thinking of reporting the hike leader to the authorities)

10 – Use your imagination

Class 3 Scrambling: Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands at times to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of boulders, steepness and extreme terrain. Some Class 3 routes have ropes in place for assistance.



I am a volunteer (i.e. not liable for the group). Safety is a priority for everyone in the group. Think of this as hiking with a group of friends.

Outdoor sports and other events we plan can be inherently dangerous and accidents may happen. By participating in any posted event, you’re taking responsibility for your own safety and well-being. The VHC Meetup Group and its organizers are not trained leaders and we do not confirm the qualifications of any of its members to lead or participate in trips. All participants take full responsibility for their own actions. If you choose to sign up for any VHC Meetup events, you are releasing the VHC Meetup Group and it’s organizers from all liability in case of possible injuries as stated in paragraph 6.2 of the Meetup “Terms of Service” located on the bottom of the Meetup website. Your personal safety depends on your own judgment and experience.

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August 24, 2019
8:30 am - 2:30 pm
Event Category:


Thomas Aquinas College
10000 N. Ojai Road
Santa Paula, CA 93060 US
+ Google Map


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Trail statistics are approximate.  For safety purposes always assume they are underestimated. But don’t be disappointed if they are overestimated. Bring more water and snacks than you think you’ll need.

Trail descriptions are based on previous hikes. Current conditions are unknown until arrival. Expect the unexpected and plan accordingly.

The Organizers and members in this group are not professional leaders, guides, or mountaineers. The function of the member or organizer is only to organize the trip. Each person who shows up for a trip/meetup (and their guest or guests) is responsible for his or her own safety. By attending a hike, or any other event organized by this group, you are acknowledging that you and any guests that you bring are aware of the risks, dangers and hazards associated with the activity and freely accept and fully assume all such risks, dangers and hazards, and further agree to release and discharge the Organizers, Members of the Hiking With Dean Meetup Group from and against any and all liability arising from your participation in the group activities per the ASSUMPTION OF RISK AND LIABILITY WAIVER.

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