Earth Week Herb Walk in Matilija Canyon
April 19 @ 9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Upper North Fork Matilia Creek. Photo: Heidi Anderson
UPDATE (March 31): Still hoping that COVID-19 regulations will allow for this walk to take place. If you have visited this page before you will see that we are going to a different location with a wider trail more suitable for maintaining 6 feet of “social distancing.” I believe that being outdoors in Nature in a small group is still something we can safely do while adhering to current California Department of Health Guidelines for preventing the spread of the COVID-19 virus. If this event does go on we will be substituting a caravan for the usual carpool and urging anyone with flu-like symptoms to stay home. I will update this page as the situation unfolds so please check back. Thanks!
Celebrate the 50th anniversary of Earth Day by kicking off the week with a slow-paced herb walk on Sunday, April 19, in Matilija Canyon deep in the mountains of the Matilija Wilderness in Los Padres National Forest. The hike will take place northwest of Ojai on Matilija Creek. We will cover approximately 1 mile each way on a mostly level trail through chaparral and riparian settings, beginning at 1500 feet. The terrain includes two creek crossings. Otherwise, we will be on a wide, level, dirt road most of the time. This walk is suitable for physically fit beginning hikers with the proper footwear.
We’ll identify useful wild herbs and their plant families and explore the many ways native plants have been used by the indigenous Chumash, herbalists, campers and gardeners for food, medicine, wildcrafting, survival, landscaping and more. The canyon is home to White Sage, Coastal Sagebrush, Yerba Santa, Matilija Poppy, Manzanita, and many more wonderful and useful native plants.
We will also look for birds, butterflies and other wildlife and discuss the ecology of the Southern Los Padres National Forest. As always, but especially in honor of Earth Week, we’ll discuss traditional and modern methods of sustainable foraging, resource conservation, and mindful enjoyment of nature.
This walk is presented under a Special Use Permit from the Ojai Ranger District Office of the U.S. Forest Service designed for guides who provide recreational and interpretive services to the public.
The day will begin with a caravan from the Maricopa Plaza parking lot in Ojai at 9:00 am and return there by 3:00 pm. Along the way we’ll take a relaxing lunch break along the upper north fork of Matilija Creek. The cost is $30 for adults, $25 for seniors 62-and-older, and $15 for students 13-17. 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 adult guardian. Toddlers must be in a carrier. No dogs or smoking, please.
Register by clicking on the REGISTER link at the top and bottom of this page before using the PayPal button to secure your space. Registrants will receive a confirmation email with all necessary info. After the hike they will receive a detailed follow-up email including a list of all plants identified.
PLEASE NOTE: Light rain will not cancel. Heavy rain or thunderstorms will. Once you register you will receive weather updates.