In the Los Padres there always seems to be something new to uncover. Maybe it's a unexplored creek, or a mysterious cave that has eluded discovery. There's always a new adventure waiting for you. But there are also hikes that are enjoyable no matter how many times you do them. Matilija is one of those hikes. It's the comfort food of Ventura Los Padres hikes. Like a bowl of Mac n' Cheese Matilija is always simple, straight forward, satisfying, and it's good warm or cold.
In order to get to the trailhead early enough to be one of the first on the trail I decided I had to wake up at 4:30. I was out of the house at 5:30. And the drive from Thousand Oaks got me to the trailhead at 6:40.
Some things have changed since the last time I hiked Matilija. There’s been a lot of development to the area right next to the parking area. Walls have been put up and new buildings have been constructed.
The first crossing
Immediately after that area was the first water crossing. This proved to be the most challenging crossing of the day. I did not want to start out my hike with wet socks so I had to figure out a dry way across. Usually there’s a rock bridge or fallen tree branch to cross, but today there were none. I went up creek a few hundred feet but was rebuffed by even deeper water. So I went back to the trail and down creek maybe fifty feet and found a spot I could just barely leap across.
From there it was easy going. I didn't see anyone else on the trail. It was very pleasant. Somehow I missed the trail split that takes you down to the creek and past the big boulder camp. I ended up taking the trail that switchbacks up the side of the canyon. At just about two hours after leaving the trailhead I got to West Falls. It was flowing well and the high winds were blowing a fine mist all about.
Twenty or so minutes after West Falls, I came to the little spring that trickles out of the canyon wall right before you reach the main falls. I thought that would be good spot to sit down and make a cup of tea and eat some breakfast. While I was boiling up some water on my little wood burning stove a couple of people passed by. After two cups of tea and some Pop-Tarts I packed up and went over the main falls.
The Main Falls
There's a nice series of 13mm static ropes set up to assist the climb up the wedge to the second waterfall.On the hike back down the creek I of course saw more people. None of them had never been on the hike before. And they all asked me for directions. "Keep going up stream" was the best advice I could really give them.
Once I made it back to the car I checked my phone, 20,600 steps for the 9.0 mile round trip.
On the drive home a semi-truck had one of its tires delaminate right in front of me providing one last bit of excitement for the day.