May 18, 2012

Rose Valley Falls, Ojai California

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Ojai California Campground
Rose Valley Falls
Rose Valley Falls is less than an hour North of Los Angeles, but it may as well be on a different planet for all they have in common. The falls are just a short 1 mile hike from the campground, but there are a couple of smaller cascades and waterfalls to explore on the way. You actually get a great view of the top tier of Rose Valley Falls from the campground. The total combined height of the upper and lower tiers is probably somewhere in the 250 foot range. I also saw a few spots on the creek that looked like good swimming holes, but the creek was way too cold and shaded for my taste. If you decide to stay at Rose Valley, you probably want to see both tiers of the falls. The lower tier is a simple 1 mile hike with almost no elevation gain. You could take your dog, your baby, and text on your iPhone at the same time with no trouble at all. The top tier is a lot trickier. The trail turns into a 75 degree dirt scramble straight up the side of a mountain. You have to use the shrubs and trees to keep from slipping back down. There is definitely a danger of kicking loose rocks down on the hikers below you. There were hand lines set up, but they were old and frayed and I didn't dare use them. The view from the top of Rose Valley Falls is definitely worth the extra effort. You can actually walk to the ledge and see out over the entire valley below. We nearly had the entire place to ourselves. Once you get into the Los Padres National forest just north of Ojai, you are definitely in the wilderness. The campground at Rose Valley is quiet, secluded, primitive, and beautiful. Even in the middle of summer, you probably won’t have any trouble finding a good campsite. And best of all, campsites are free for Forest Adventure Pass holders. And even if you don’t have a pass, there are no rangers in the campground to check you anyway. The night I camped at Rose Valley, I saw the Milky Way galaxy for the first time in Southern California. I got up to pee at 3 in the morning and I must have stood there for an hour just staring up at the sky before I remembered why I had gotten up in the first place. From the 101 in Ventura, Take route 33 North (Ojai Freeway) towards Ojai. Drive 28 miles to the turnoff for the Rose Valley Campground (Sespe River Road). The campground is located 2 miles east at the end of Sespe River Road. Follow the signs. *If you're looking to make a weekend trip out of Rose Valley, there is another great waterfall trail 20 minutes North just off route 33 called Potrero John Falls.
Potrero John Falls

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