Difficulty PG13 Distance 2.1 to 5 miles General information: Dogs allowed General information: Hikes with free parking Rating: 7-8 Santa Barbara/Ventura Season: Fall/Early Winter Season: Late Winter/Spring

Cozy Dell Trail (Ojai)


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Looking west from the saddle on the Cozy Dell Trail
Looking west from the saddle on the Cozy Dell Trail
Oaks on the Cozy Dell Trail
Oaks on the Cozy Dell Trail

Cozy Dell Trail (Ojai)

    • Location: North of Ojai.  From Highway 101, take Highway 33 north for 11.2 miles.  Turn left on Baldwin Road and make a quick right on S. La Luna Avenue.  Go 2 miles to rejoin Highway 33 and turn left.  Go 1.8 miles and park in a dirt lot on the left side of the road just before the sign for the Cozy Dell Trail.  From the Santa Barbara area, take Highway 101 south to Highway 150.  Head northeast on Highway 150 for 16.3 miles and turn left on Rice Road.  Go 2 miles and turn right on Fairview.  Go 0.3 miles to Highway 33, turn left and follow the directions above.
    • Agency: Los Padres National Forest/Ojai Ranger District
    • Distance: 3.6 miles
    • Elevation gain: 1,150 feet
    • Difficulty Rating: PG-13 (Elevation gain, steepness, terrain)
    • Suggested time: 2 hours
    • Best season:  October – June
    • USGS topo map: Matilija
    • Recommended gear: hiking poles; sun hat; sunblock
    • Recommended guidebook: Day Hikes Around Santa Barbara
    • More information: Trip reports here, here and here; trail map here; Eveytrail report here
    • Rating: 8
0:00 - Parking area on Highway 33: trail starts just before the metal rail on the right side of the road (click thumbnails to see the full sized version)
0:00 – Parking area on Highway 33: trail starts just before the metal rail  (click thumbnails to see the full sized version)

With great mountain views, shaded canyons and interesting geology, it’s no surprise that the Cozy Dell Trail is one of the more popular hikes in the Ojai area. It’s challenging but provides a lot of scenic rewards.

From the turnout, cross Highway 33 and find the trail just before the metal fence on the side of the road. It wastes no time ascending through the canyon, occasionally requiring some big steps over and around rocks. The noise from the road quickly fades as you make your way uphill.

0:10 - Shade from oaks (times are approximate)
0:10 – Shade from oaks (times are approximate)

At about 0.3 miles, you enter the welcome shade of some oaks. The steady ascent continues, climbing in and out of shade, before reaching a saddle at 0.9 miles (and 700 vertical feet of climbing.) Here you can take a minute and enjoy the fruits of your labor: a panorama that includes the Ojai Valley to the south and west and the Topatopa ridge and Nordhoff Peak to the east and north.

0:27 - Looking south from the saddle
0:27 – Looking south from the saddle

From the saddle, you begin a gradual descent and another climb to a second saddle (1.3 miles), with similar views. You begin another descent, heading toward some hills that resemble the Goat Buttes of Malibu Creek State Park. Continuing downhill, you reach Cozy Dell Canyon Road (Cozy Ojai Road on some maps) at 1.8 miles, the end of the trail. Beneath the shade of some oaks, you can rest for a few minutes before retracing your steps to Highway 33, or you can extend your hike on the dirt road or the nearby Foothill Trail.

0:45 - View of the Nordhoff Ridge descending from the second saddle
0:45 – View of the Nordhoff Ridge descending from the second saddle

Text and photography copyright 2013 by David W. Lockeretz, all rights reserved. Information and opinions provided are kept current to the best of the author’s ability. All readers hike at their own risk, and should be aware of the possible dangers of hiking, walking and other outdoor activities. By reading this, you agree not to hold the author or publisher of the content on this web site responsible for any injuries or inconveniences that may result from hiking on this trail. Check the informational links provided for up to date trail condition information.

1:00 Turnaround point at Cozy Dell Canyon Road
1:00 Turnaround point at Cozy Dell Canyon Road
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One comment

  1. Hi David. We also did this hike a few weeks ago. We needed a 2 hour hike (running out of daylight), and this fit the bill. We logged the altitude at perhaps 1/3 less than you (counting in and back, etc.). We also (and this doesn’t affect my comment on the altitude) took a side trail – more like a fire break from the second saddle up and then around and down to the first saddle – in the middle of this very steep fire break (one really needs good lug soles and poles) was a delightful new “park” bench!

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