12 January 2012

Piedra Blanca

Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail goes for two miles across a beautiful high mountain regions of Southern California. This trail is located up in the hills above Ojai, CA. The trail head is about 3 hours away from Los Angeles by car and provides a welcomed retreat to an afternoon of peace and quiet without being too far from home.

Rock Formations at Piedra Blanca

The rock formations are nestled in a valley in the shadow of the great Pine Mountain Ridge. I found it fairly easy to hike up these formations, and the view from the top was outstanding!

The hike itself was quite easy; the trail is relatively flat until the very end. There are three river crossings, but they are early on in the hike and quite manageable.

At times the trail would be hard to follow if not for the Nation Park Service's Signs!
Here is an overview of our hike, showing the Parking lot and trail head (A), Stream Crossings (B) and Top of the Second Tallest Rock in the Piedra Formation. Rose Valley Road is nicely paved inbetween the trail head and the highway, and the trail head offers plenty of parking, restrooms, and picnic tables!

My hike: Started and Ended at A!

Once I crossed the triple river crossing, the landscape opened up into a wide plane which showed extensive scarring from previous glaciation. The result were rocks and hills with geometric patterns carved neatly into them. The picture below shows the view from the river towards the rock formations, with Pine Mountain Ridge looming in the background. We climbed to the 'C' at the top of the peak.
Hiking up the glacier-scarred plane towards the rock formations.

StateParks.com describes Piedra Blanca Trail as follows:
A 17.7 mile trail in the Sespe Wilderness through impressive white rocks to a number of wilderness campsites. Designated a National Recreation Trail in the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act. Named for Gene Marshall, a leading advocate of wilderness designation for the Sespe who played a key role in the development of the Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act. In the Ojai Ranger District the Gene Marshall-Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail offers Wilderness access along an eight and seven tenth mile trail. First half easy, then very steep climb. Drive to Lion Campground at the end of Rose Valley Road. Cross the wide stream bed and take the trail to the left. After about half a mile turn right at the junction. This will bring you through the impressive white rocks and to Piedra Blanca Camp after 2.7 miles. Twin Fork Camp is a half mile further and has water most of the year. Trail to Pine Mountain Lodge Camp is another 3 miles, very steep in places, but well worth the visit. This camp is nestled in the conifers and has water close by. From the junction at Pine Mountain Lodge, the Piedra Blanca Trail continues northwest to Haddock and Reyes Creek Camps. The trail which goes east takes you to Fishbowls or Cedar Creek Camps on the Mt. Pinos Ranger District.
Use the viewer below to look at my path - you can zoom, tilt, and pan to get a look from any angle you wish! Also, adjust the slider in the top left corner to see where I was exactly at any time!

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  1. I highly recommend this hike for any and all adventurous skill levels. The car ride out is a little daunting but worth the feeling of being far from everything and everyone.

    The subtle yet massive remnants of countless years of geological evolution is stunning, simply adding to the timeless feeling of solitude one can't help but absorb while standing on a 10-story boulder.


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