Ventura, CA: Dry Lakes Ridge

High in the Matilija Wilderness is a narrow ridge that only widens where four dry lakes are located. They catch winter rains and freeze, permafrost laying icing over scrubby chaparral. The views along this hike are incredible.
Avatar:
Author:
Publish date:
Social count:
0
High in the Matilija Wilderness is a narrow ridge that only widens where four dry lakes are located. They catch winter rains and freeze, permafrost laying icing over scrubby chaparral. The views along this hike are incredible.

95- Driving on Highway 33, you'll pass Rose Valley Road and bear west for about 1.5 miles and park at the turnout on your left after passing Rose Valley. Park and walk to the west for about 20 paces. On your left is the trailhead. Duck under a small oak tree and immediately ascend a steep ridge for about a half mile to the west.

96- Follow the rolling ridge, the Sespe Wilderness on your right and the city of Ojai and the Channel Islands National Park on your left. The ridge will descend into the first dry lake. Watch for black bears, mule deer, mountain lions, coyotes. Lots of fresh tracks and scat along this track.

97- Arrive at second dry lake that has several ponderosa pinetrees in one stand to the south of the second dry lake. The trail meanders around to the right of the pines.

98- You'll descend into the third dry lake which is also the largest of the four lakes. Another stand of ponderosa pines makes for the best stop for lunch. There's a large, dead ponderosa pine that makes for a good rest stop.

99- The fourth lake is the smallest of the dry lakes.

100- Head further west up a steep single track for about a half mile and get the best views from this hike. To the west is the Dick Smith Wilderness. To the south is Lake Casitas, the Pacific Ocean and the Channel Islands. To the east is the Sespe Wilderness. You can see the Sespe Creek deemed by Congress in 1968 as "Wild and Scenic", meaning it can't be manipulated in any way and all its inhabitants are protected.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 5.3

Waypoints

#5

Location: 35.680411, -83.46453

Along Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail

#5

Location: 35.598694, -83.809977

Cades Cove

#6

Location: 35.597577, -83.816414

Cades Cove

#7

Location: 35.474721, -83.724103

Hazel Creek

#10

Location: 35.628175, -83.102968

Cataloochee Valley

#13

Location: 35.62814, -83.105779

Cataloochee Valley

#11

Location: 35.610243, -83.82549

Rich Mountain Loop Trail

#12

Location: 35.600927, -83.829632

Cades Cove

#14

Location: 35.592552, -83.830748

Cades Cove

#15

Location: 35.521329, -83.305678

Oconaluftee area

#19, #24

Location: 35.54183, -83.492553

Andrews Bald

#20

Location: 35.629745, -83.450367

Alum Cave Trail

#21

Location: 35.590005, -83.469465

Fork Ridge Trail

#22

Location: 35.441722, -83.647285

Lakeshore Trail, Fontana Lake (belted kingfisher)

#23

Location: 35.680167, -83.529718

Old Sugarlands Trail (wild turkey)

#25

Location: 35.639197, -83.371832

Charlies Bunion

#26

Location: 35.669081, -83.661983

Meigs Creek Trail

#8

Location: 35.586201, -83.358572

Kephart Prong Trail (bobcat)

#9

Location: 35.607627, -83.935053

Rabbit Creek Trail (Eastern spotted skunk)

#18

Location: 35.554156, -83.308682

Smokemont (great horned owl)

#29

Location: 35.653391, -83.580637

Elkmont

#30

Location: 35.593948, -83.817701

Cades Cove

#33

Location: 35.627861, -83.099942

Cataloochee Valley

#34

Location: 35.520351, -83.308403

Mingus Creek Trail (lungless salamanders)

#35

Location: 35.551502, -83.502359

Forney Creek Trail

#38

Location: 35.685361, -83.533108

Sugarlands

#39

Location: 35.612232, -83.824525

Rich Mountain Loop Trail

#40

Location: 35.600509, -83.80178

Cades Cove

#41

Location: 35.513994, -83.302052

Oconaluftee area

#42

Location: 35.625838, -83.087904

Boogerman Trail

#43, #46

Location: 35.75003, -83.266121

Albright Grove Loop

#45

Location: 35.750291, -83.2664

Albright Grove Loop

#44

Location: 35.711291, -83.252957

AT

#47

Location: 35.562255, -83.517294

AT near Clingmans Dome

#48

Location: 35.573112, -83.180516

Flat Creek Falls Trail

#49

Location: 35.653809, -83.438158

Mt. LeConte

#50

Location: 35.763682, -83.16129

Mt. Cammerer

#51

Location: 35.679191, -83.527937

Old Sugarlands Trail

#54

Location: 35.565746, -83.309004

Bradley Fork Trail

#55

Location: 35.68435, -83.532271

Sugarlands (spicebush)

#56

Location: 35.630024, -83.448758

Alum Cave Trail

#57

Location: 35.522587, -83.870058

Gregory Bald

#58

Location: 35.542074, -83.493304

Andrews Bald

#59

Location: 35.759677, -83.215449

Gabes Mountain Trail

#60

Location: 35.652972, -83.438716

Mt. LeConte

#63

Location: 35.625105, -83.681595

West Prong Trail, near Tremont

#64

Location: 35.683723, -83.53255

Sugarlands

#65

Location: 35.684804, -83.532808

Sugarlands

#66, #67, #68

Location: 35.653461, -83.578534

Little River Trail

#69

Location: 35.617779, -83.669622

Middle Prong Trail

#70

Location: 35.587562, -83.363893

Kanati Fork Trail

#71

Location: 35.684002, -83.396208

Porters Creek Trail

#72

Location: 35.630861, -83.390543

The Boulevard Trail

#73, #74

Location: 35.573007, -83.18073

Flat Creek Falls Trail

#75

Location: 35.630652, -83.047457

Cataloochee Divide Trail

#76, #79

Location: 35.630582, -83.446956

Alum Cave Trail

#77, #78

Location: 35.562814, -83.497338

Clingmans Dome

#82

Location: 35.54588, -83.793862

AT (Mollies Ridge Shelter)

#84

Location: 35.620954, -83.678012

Tremont area

#83

Location: 35.519164, -83.304219

This is just a placeholder--you won't necessarily find morels here. They're a closely guarded secret!