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David R

Santa Ynez HP and Divide Peak

With the weather cooling, the Los Padres NF is back in play again and it was time to visit an area that I've only been to once, the Matilija Canyon area. The goal of the hike was to reach the ridge separating the coast from the inland areas. I have hiked the other side of this ridge from the Ventura River Preserve and along the old over grown Camino Cielo road. The grand plan is to eventually reopen this route across the old Ocean View trail which will be a substantial achievement especially due to sheer distances to work on the route. We shall see if this ever comes to fruition.  

This hike starts from the place that time forgot in the canyon which looks like a period piece from the 60s. The beginning section is accessed along a paved drive through private property that has an easement to allow hikers through. There are numerous trails that can be accessed in the canyon to hike various branches of Matilija. After about a half mile you come to the first branch to the right. The option for this hike is to take the next fork and follow a footpath directly through Murrieta Canyon for 1.8 milles or alternatively go another 1/4 mile further to access the fireroad that takes you up to the Divide.

On the way up we took the footpath that fortunately had most of the poison oak without leaves otherwise this route would be challenging. About 3/4 mile up is an overnight camping spot. The canyon is delightful and the path while overgrown in spots is easy to follow. Too soon you access the fireroad and begin a 2.5 mile trek up to the divide. This route is popular for ambitious mountain bikers as it is well graded but quite steep.

Once you reach the divide, you can descend to Jamison Reservoir, make a right turn and go for Monte Arido and Old Man, or climb a berm and access the old trail that takes you up to the ridge. There is no obvious trail from the divide so you need to simply go for it and then it will readily appear. This old trail has been reworked especially toward the bottom to make it an easy passage. The top section has the most iffy part of trail where there has been some landslide and erosion of the trail but all easily passable. This section is steep but not overly so and within another 3/4 mile you reach the ridge.

The views are some of the best that I have seen of the ocean and Channel Islands in SoCal. Simply to get here for the views is worth it. From here we made a left to hit the HP, make a note of the access point to this trail as it is not evident on the way back. I had made a careful calculation of which gully I needed to ascend to avoid the brush to get to the Santa Ynez HP. Unfortunately I did not anticipate that the gully would split and ended up taking the left hand smaller gully versus continuing on the right. The climb up to the apex wasn't too bad but then continuing along it was pretty miserable. The north side has minimal growth but is pretty sheer with 3rd class rock that we used when necessary. We hit the highpoint but could not find the sign-in can which was weird. I had my son with me so sent him over to the next brushy bump to see if it was there after some thrashing and cursing he didn't see it there so we settled for what we thought was the highpoint and a success.

From there the way down was much easier as we stuck to the right gully all the way down. From there it is a simple affair to go back the way you came and pass the trail you came up and climb a steep break to the top of Divide Peak and the best views of the day. The benchmark is on the lower western peak oddly enough but may be due to the vantage point.

From there we zipped back down the steep use trail to the divide. My son's youth showed itself as he rocked down the 5 miles back to the TH at a furious pace from my POV. I still shuffled jogged most of the way down which made a long fire road hike back bearable. The hike is about 14 miles with 5.5 hours taken to complete it all. If you get the right route to the highpoint you could easily shave off an additional half hour.
Uncle Rico

Your TR reminded me that I hadn't been up that canyon for years so today I followed in your footsteps--mostly--I skipped the Santa Ynez HP. Found the register on Divide but not the benchmark. I'll post some pics...sometime. As you mentioned, the views are quite good from Divide even though the summit itself is a bit underwhelming.
scottawr

my parents just moved up there recently. i'll have to check this area out when i go visit.
Uncle Rico

Here's some pics of my trip up to Divide Peak.

http://wildsouthland.blogspot.com...eak-from-infinity-and-beyond.html
David R

Nice write-up I missed the register on Divide too, didn't even think there would be one up there. The benchmark is on the slightly lower peak near the water tank.
Uncle Rico

Quote:
The benchmark is on the slightly lower peak near the water tank.


Well that makes sense. LOL.  Confused
AW

Oceanview trail is almost restored.....a heck of a lot of the real work deal done on this one.  The crew should get a plaque (for all the backbreak)at 'White Ledge camp'....speaking of which theres starting to be a lack of LNT. I say if its going to be a full-on camp, then lets start thinking about water...and not be leaving toilet paper and plastic plates partially burned. Maybe develop it further with some bins to catch rainwater/snowmelt.

I used the 'from the west' Murietta Divide approach. It'll get you super-close to the White Ledge ridge departure as of now, which is on the east side of peak 4675. I had a little time left from lopping, so I attempted the peak 4675 from the west side, which is not reasonable.

My advice for this route from the west: MtWilson toll road-ish fireroad all the way baby to the Murietta Divide. I came down that long one in the night and it was smooth with just the moonlight.

Camp stove


Dont know what pine tree this is, but its pretty. 2 of em in the spot of the picture, so I was thinking non-native, but saw one more on the OceanView trail.
Uncle Rico

Very nice Canyon Man. So you went in and out the same way (from the west)? If you didn't spend the night at White Ledge, that's a long day.

I think bsmith and his boys know something about the restoration work on that trail thus far.
AW

Uncle Rico wrote:
Very nice Canyon Man. So you went in and out the same way (from the west)? If you didn't spend the night at White Ledge, that's a long day.

I think bsmith and his boys know something about the restoration work on that trail thus far.


Yup...
https://www.facebook.com/El-Camin...Oceanview-Trails-166653320134344/

I liked the view of the Channel Islands the best, but Im biased towards them hahaha.
David R

I have two peaks in SoCal that I dream of incessantly about being on top of and one of them is White Ledge. The question of the hour, is it doable yet based on how far in they've gotten?
AW

David R wrote:
I have two peaks in SoCal that I dream of incessantly about being on top of and one of them is White Ledge. The question of the hour, is it doable yet based on how far in they've gotten?


From the west, you'll have trail until the turnoff for White Ledge. After that its unknown....was there ever a trail to White Ledge? Anyways I marked the end of Oceanview at the time with red on this picture...its going to be straight forward to leave the trail as you can see the dirt terrain all the way to a ridge of pk 4675...4675 aint gonna happen....and it needs a new trail out there that is easiest to maintain. Bring tall loopers.


Heres the attempt I propose. Lose 300ft and then trailblaze back up to the ridge to White Ledge


I wouldnt wait for a trail out to the peak....they have to finish the eastern side(they are kind of close), and then maintain the long trail plus they plan on extending the western edge to Santa Barbara. Oceanview is a developer minded trail and is under constant threat from overgrowth. The dedication to get anyone this far is a high level of volunteer commitment.
As far as the question if its doable, it certainly is and I would expect it to fall within 2 years max.
dima

The big challenge is the brush? If somebody wants to team up on this one, PM me.
Uncle Rico

Quote:
As far as the question if its doable, it certainly is and I would expect it to fall within 2 years max.


It's been done. Not from the Murietta Divide side mind you, but Stillman and Jack Elliot climbed White Ledge on New Years Day 2013. Nobody has probably been up there since.

http://davidstillman.blogspot.com...edge-peak-via-trespass-gully.html
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