Heidi Anderson between Lower and Middle Matilja Camps

Earth Day Herb Hike to Matilija Campground

April 23, 2017 @ 9:00 am – 3:00 pm
Maricopa Plaza parking lot in front of Ben Franklin for carpool
1201 Maricopa Highway
Ojai, CA 93023
$25/adults, $20/seniors 62-up. $15/students 13-18. Kids 5-12 free, one per adult.
Lanny Kaufer
Between Lower and Middle Matilja Camps. Photo: Heidi Anderson

Parents, please note: Heather King-Grant of Ventura Wild is offering a companion hike for kids during this outing. Check it out at the Ventura Wild website.

Celebrate Earth Day with an educational Herb Hike to Matilija Campground. The trail will take us into the Matilija Wilderness, one of my favorite locations in the Los Padres National Forest. The views of the surrounding mountains are stunning and there is a great diversity of riparian and chaparral plant life to identify, sample and discuss.

Swallowtail on Yerba Santa
Swallowtail on Yerba Santa. Photo: Lanny Kaufer

As usual, we’ll stop along the way to discuss and demonstrate the many uses of native plants and explore their relationships with birds, insects, and other organisms in their environment. Once at the campground, we’ll practice cracking open and eating sweet Southern California Black Walnuts, one of the foods that foragers covet.

Matilija Campground. Photo: Rich Kot
Matilija Campground. Photo: Rich Kot

This hike is another in a series of backcountry hikes under my Special Use Permit from the Los Padres National Forest for guides offering interpretive services to the public. It is an easy-to-moderate hike on a well-used trail with little to no elevator gain, suitable for anyone physically fit enough to walk a total of 4 miles and stand for periods of time.

The day will begin at 9:00 a.m. with a carpool to the trailhead from the Maricopa Plaza, 1201 Maricopa Highway, Ojai, CA 93023. There is no obligation to participate in the carpool but there is limited parking at the trailhead and I am always interested in cutting down on my group’s exhaust emissions as much as possible, especially on Earth Day. Participants who wish to join in the carpool should be prepared to either take a few passengers or share in the gas cost.

We will start walking from the trailhead at 9:30, walk about 2 miles to the campground for a lunch stop, and return to the trailhead at approximately 2:30. That should put us back at the Maricopa Plaza by about 3:00 p.m.

RAIN: Light rain will not cancel the hike but heavy rain will. Status will be updated for those registered as the day gets closer.

Raindrops in the creek. Photo: Lanny Kaufer

You can register right now at the link below or return later to this event page or to the “Register for an Event” link in the left sidebar menu. There is no prepayment required, just your promise to notify me in a timely fashion if your plans change. You will receive a confirmation email several days before with all necessary info.

The cost is $25 for adults, $20 for seniors 62-and-older, and $15 for students 13-18. Kids 5-12 can go free, one per adult, by prior arrangement. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. No dogs or smoking, please.


10 thoughts on “Earth Day Herb Hike to Matilija Campground

  1. Hi Lanny, would love to return to Matilija with you on this trip. I also have three other friends (two have not been on an Herb walk yet) would love to join if there is still room. All friends of Ben and Lisa.


  2. I think I would like to sign up for tomorrow’s hike if it is not too late. It would be me and my 8 year old son.

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