Matilija Creek S24O

This past weekend I was able to coax a couple of buddies out for a quick s24o camping trip up in the mountains behind Ojai.  Not an easy feat for most of us to pull off as life gets too busy, but a few emails, a month of lead time and I had two out of 6 invites along for the ride, thanks Mike and Mike.  We headed out Saturday afternoon towards the Murietta Camp near the end of Matilija Creek Rd.

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Weather down on the coast was foggy all day, and I was looking forward to getting some time in the sun.  About 6 miles in we could see the end of the clouds, and then it was clear all the way to camp.

6.9 MC T WP-2 6.9 MC T WP-3 6.9 MC T WP-4 6.9 MC T WP-5 6.9 MC T WP-6Up around Lake Casitas and through Miner’s Oaks we stopped in at the Farmer and the Cook to pick up some last-minute energy snacks (peanut butter cookies) and then it was out of town an up HWY 33 into the Santa Ynez mountains

6.9 MC T WP-9The turn off for Matilija Canyon Rd comes up quickly.  Mostly uphill to get past the most useless damn in the region, and then down into the canyon.  This is some of the most beautiful countryside I have ever been through.

6.9 MC T WP-11 6.9 MC T WP-14Just over 5 miles of empty rolling hills heading back to some dirt and creek crossings.  The sun would be giving us light until 7:30 or 8, so we were taking our time getting to the trail head

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I theory we were almost there.  The campground should be less than a mile up and easy to spot.  Twenty minutes of single track, and a creek crossing and it was becoming painfully evident that Plan A was not going to be as easy as we thought

6.9 MC T WP-17The trail was well marked, and a heck of a lot of fun, but the campsite was a bit elusive.  Plan B was to head back towards Matilija camp, and or the first workable flat spot before it got too dark.  Two miles back the other direction, one dry riverbed, 3 creek crossings and a whole lot of hike a bike and we found our home for the night

6.9 MC T WP-18Tired, hungry and needing a rinse in the creek the camera went away until morning.  While the Matilija camp sees a fair amount of traffic, it was fairly quiet this summer Saturday, there were a couple of other camps to the south, but by no means crowded.  The night was clear with bright stars and no moon.  Sleep came easy.  Fog had rolled into the valleys by morning, bringing some chill with it.

6.9 MC T WP-19Dinner Had made it evident that I had left my spoon at home.  There is a good bit of humor to be found in that in consideration of all the camera gear and other stuff I had dragged along.  It was not that big of a deal, by morning I had thought of a work around for my oatmeal.  Have I mentioned how much I like my Soma tire levers?

6.9 MC T WP-21The sun was starting to break through, it was time to break camp and enjoy the ride out.  A mix of single track, and hike a bike, with creek crossings, plenty of poison oak, and did I mention poison oak?

6.9 MC T WP-266.9 MC T WP-246.9 MC T WP-25 6.9 MC T WP-316.9 MC T WP-226.9 MC T WP-32The time in the sun was short lived and we were flirting with the edge of the fog the rest of the way back towards home and the ocean.

6.9 MC T WP-33 6.9 MC T WP-35After a look back we crested out of the valley and back out on the HWY 33, tempting us to head north for a bit.

6.9 MC T WP-37At least it was tempting me.  The rest of the afternoon committed for all three of us though, it was back to town.  Trips further North will have to wait for another time.

6.9 MC T WP-406.9 MC T WP-39The trip was a success, even had a little adventure thrown in.  Total time away was under 19 hours with about 60 miles of riding.  All of this is just to the North of the comforts of home.  Everybody wants to do it again.  Time to start planning the next round.




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7 Responses to Matilija Creek S24O

  1. Michael_S says:

    I’ve been wanting to go up there myself too. Even thinking about going over Gibraltar, past Jameson Lake and over Matilija Divide. But maybe it looks like I will need some BG Rock n’ road tires for the dirt section.

    • Michael_S says:

      oops! I meant Murietta divide. Anyway great trip Rob.

      • Rob says:

        I have heard mixed reports from people who have made the connection from Matilija to Upper Santa Ynez. There is a very steep and rough section in Matilija Canyon. Only having seen the first part myself I am not sure how bad it really is. Consensus though is that you will either be hiking or have really mad skills. If I head up into the SB back country this fall, it will most likely be up Romero Canyon above Carpinteria.

        • Michael_S says:

          sounds like I’ll need to run bigger knobbies for the trip. I’ve wanted to go over Romero as well. Maybe over and down to Jameson? Let me know if you schedule something.

    • Rob says:

      I ran into a guy who has done the steep part on his MTB, and claims it is indeed underbikeable if you can get your spin on with a granny gear. He also has a friend with cabins near Jameson? I will keep working on the details, but see a very cool fall overnight trip in the works

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