Sisar Canyon

First time hiking in the Upper Ojai Valley.  I asked a local if Sisar Road is in Santa Paula or Ojai and was told neither.  The road is actually the divider between the two.  Everybody that lives to the south has a Santa Paula phone number, to the north an Ojai phone number and the little town itself is called Summit.  I got a late start and had a bit of trouble parking my car but after that it was a fun 12 mile out and back.  I didn’t see a soul for the first 10 miles.

1     2     3   Highway 150 is a little two lane road that runs through the town of Santa Paula and then out to Summit.  The turnoff, Sisar Road, sits between a mom and pop grocery store and an elementary school.  It is a narrow one lane road that continues to vehicle traffic for about a mile, and then runs up into the mountains as a fire road and multi-use trail.  A half mile up Sisar Road, at the fork in the road, turn right and onto the dirt road.  I parked to the right of these water tanks.  There is very little parking at this point, enough for one car only.  I tried to drive further up the one lane dirt road but it was too rough for my car.  You need a 4X4 to make it this final 0.4 miles to the trailhead.

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9     The trail starts as a fire road, nice and wide and easy to follow.  Most of the time it runs on a ledge above Sisar Creek.  There are two creek crossings.


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Photo 1I remember this plant from my Westlake Vista hike almost a year ago to the day.  It smells strongly like the Sure deodorant spray I used when I was a teenager.  My initial reaction upon smelling it was the same as the last – that someone is close by and that they are wearing way too much deodorant.  Photo 2 – Unnerving find on Sisar Road.  Photo 3 – Some kind of animal fur on the trail.

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There is a fork in the road.  Sisar Road continues up to the left.  Photo 1 – The right fork heads on to private property.

14     15   After a couple of miles there is a sharp turn in the road and I hiked out into the sunshine.  The entire trail seems to climb at a gentle rate but the elevation gain is 3,600 feet (approx.).  Now out from under the canopy, the views improve tremendously.

16   From the overlook – that’s Sulpher Mountain straight ahead.



In the other direction, the fantastic Topatopa Bluff.

19     20     21   After 3 1/2 miles the fire road continues to the left.  There is a single track trail to the right, Red Reef Trail, which I took.

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Rock slide across the trail

24     25     26   I took a trail breaking right of the main trail and out to serene White Ledge Camp.  There are a couple of fire pits for campers.  It was deserted.  I sat down and ate lunch.  This spot was so quiet.  I didn’t hear a person, a motor vehicle, an airplane, industrial noise – nothing but a few birds chirping and the creek running a few yards away.  I tried to still my mind and enjoy this rare moment of silence.  The trail continues on to a road another 1.7 miles and 1,500 feet up.  I had just done that super long hike last week but decided to go for it anyway.


Climbing closer to the bluff.

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30   As I gained in elevation the clouds started to roll in.

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33   I make it to the top, Nordhoff Ridge Road – a 4X4 road with permits required for vehicles.

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38       39   Photo 1 – If you take this road to the right it will lead to a trail that takes you out on top of Topatopa Bluff.  I was thinking about it but had to consider it would add another three miles total on to the hike.  By the time I reached the top it was completely overcast and I wouldn’t be able to see anything anyway.  I took this as a sign and started back.  Photo 4 – Super shiny green plant. Almost looks like a green apple.  Photo 5 – The junction where the trail meets the fire road.


Playing around with the photo stitch feature on my camera on the way home – steep Sisar Road

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Goodbye Topatopa Bluff

45     46   Photo 2 – Almost to my car now, this Jeep passed me on the way to the trailhead.  This is the kind of vehicle you need to get up the road.


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