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Nature Lovers: Hike Ojai Valley

A day hike is a wonderful way to experience the colorful Ojai Valley. (Photo by Perry Van Houten, as first appeared in the Ojai Valley News)

The Ojai Valley is rich with blue skies, colorful mountains, and lush wildflowers, native plants and brush. Located just one hour north of Los Angeles and 12 miles inland from the gorgeous Ventura coastline, Ojai is famous for its ‘pink moments,’ the time of day just before sunset when a pink light is cast upon the valley, washing over the Topa Topas and other hills and mountains.

Being in Ojai is like stepping in a Technicolor dream or movie, your senses will come alive as you absorb the vibrant colors in nature.

Hiking or walking in nature is a great way to experience Ojai up close.  Ojai local Perry Van Houten, an avid hiker and mountain biker, writes about hiking trails for the Ojai Valley News. His  “Perry’s Picks: Best Ojai Valley Hiking Trails” was featured in the Ojai Valley Visitors Guide (Fall 2011).

Perry offers insider information on the best of Ojai nature including:

  • Nordoff Lookout with its breathtaking views of the lush OjaiValley.
  • Gridley Trail, where a steep stone staircase leads toward a mini spring feeding water to ferns, maples and other trees uncommon in the area.
  • Sulphur Mountain Road trail offers views of Lake Casitas and, on a clear day, the Channel Islands.
  • Horn Canyon offers a restful retreat under a canopy of pine trees and a cool ocean breeze.

For details on all of these hikes click this link to download the Ojai Visitors Guide and see page 76-79 (.pdf might download slowly, so be patient).

Distance from LAX: 86 miles

Traffic411 Insider Tip: Experiencing Ojai in person is much more rich and glorious than the photos depict (photos in the gallery below by Ojai local Smitty West)

Ojai Valley, CA Nature at its Finest

Ojai, CA is only a 20 minute drive from the beaches of Ventura, yet you'll feel like you're a world away. The climate is sunny and warmer than the cool coastline, and the sights are pure technicolor. Whether you're a hiker or hippie, avid golfer or spiritual seeker, there's plenty to do and see in Ojai. Even if you do nothing but R&R, the energy here will recharge your batteries and can offer new insights on life.

[img src=]2830Blue Sky Over Ojai
The Ojai Valley, located in Ventura County, CA, offers some of the most breathtaking nature scenery in the world. Source: Smitty West
[img src=]570Ojai Pink Moments
Ojai is famous for its 'pink moments.' Just before the sun goes down the valley and mountains are washed in a beautiful shade of pink.
[img src=]9940Topa Topa Mountains
View of Ojai's Topa Topa mountain range from Nordoff Ridge. Source: Smitty West
[img src=]760Ojai Rainbow over Windmill
A rainbow adds magic to this beautiful shot of the windmill at Euterope Farms on a sunny Ojai day. Source: Smitty West
[img src=]490Ojai Windmill at Sunset
This is the windmill at Euterope Farms at sunset. Ojai sunsets are among the most beautiful in the world. Source: Smitty West
[img src=]360Ojai to the Pacific Ocean
Located in the mountains of Ventura County, This shot of the Ojai Valley includes Lake Casitas, and the Pacific Ocean. Source: Smitty West<br />
[img src=]280Golden Ojai Valley
The golden valley of Ojai. Taken from Nordoff Ridge. Smitty West
[img src=]260Ojai Sky at Sunset
Sunrise & sunset in Ojai are beautiful. Source: Smitty West
[img src=]320Sunset over Chief Peak
Sunset over chief’s nose, Chief Peak, Ojai. Source: Smitty West
[img src=]390Ojai New Moon & Venus
Two-day old crescent moon and Venus in Taurus (May, 2012). Source: Smitty West
[img src=]320Photographer Smitty West
Musician and amateur photographer Smitty West shares these beautiful pictures of the Ojai Valley, an artist enclave 90 miles north of Los Angeles.
[img src=]270

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Whale Watching

Marina del Rey is one place in So Cal to take a whale watching tour.

Marina del Rey is one place in So Cal to take a whale watching tour.

It’s whale watching season in Southern California. This time of year, hundreds of pacific gray whales are migrating from the icy Alaskan sea to the warm waters of Baja California to give birth to their calves. From now until mid-April, you’ll have a good chance of seeing whales and dolphins up close when you embark on a whale watching tour in Orange County, Los Angeles or Ventura County.

The pristine waters off the Channel Islands in Ventura County (one hour north of Los Angeles), is a beautiful place to go whale watching. Public access to the Channel Islands is limited, so the natural beauty and ecosystem is largely untouched.  Island Packers and Channel Islands Whale Watching offer whale watching tours in Ventura County.

In Los Angeles, you can catch whale watching tours at several ports, including Marina del Rey, Redondo Beach and Long Beach. In Orange County, tours originate from Dana Point and Newport Beach.

Seeing these giant sea creatures up close can be a powerful and life changing experience. In March and April, mother whales can be seen migrating north with their recently-born calves. With hundreds of pacific gray whales moving along the California coast between December and April, it’s an ideal time to take a whale watching adventure.

My KFWB colleague, Phil Hulett, didn’t see any whales during his February outing in Ventura County, but there were plenty of dolphins!

Traffic411 Insider Tip:  Whale Watch in Ventura,  you’ll enjoy the added bonus of seeing the beautiful Channel Islands

Distance from LAX: various.  Ventura is 70 miles away