For those of you who missed the riveting part 1, click here to go back and enjoy the river bottom trails. We will be leaving the valley floor behind for these next couple of trails so strap on your boots and grab your walking poles.
The Kennedy trail is relatively new, built by Rick and crew about 5 years ago (I helped for about 20 feet!). It is on the north end of the preserve, so we’re going to park at the Oso trailhead, watch those speedbumps.
Cross the dry rocky bed formerly known as the Ventura River. As you hike in the orange grove, bear right as if you were heading to Rice Canyon. Pass the nursery (used mostly for storage, for you nosy Nellies) and just up a not-so-grassy knoll and you will see a sharp right turn heading to Kennedy.
A short forest jaunt, left at the wide road
and finally, we arrive at the trailhead (less than half a mile from the Oso parking lot). You’ll see the trail heading up through a wide swath of purple sage.
It starts out steep.. and well… it pretty much stays steep for a mile. The ascent to the ridge is a somewhat advanced climb with occasionally steep gradients.
The first half is nicely shaded with tons of green bark ceanothus.
Wild cucumber crawling through everything.
The sides of the trails carpeted with the outrageous pink and white filigree of wishbone bush and popcorn flowers.
About halfway up the ceanothus thin out and we get more traditional chaparral species. Plenty of chamise, sage and buckwheat, as well as a number of species I have not seen anywhere else:
As you near the top you may find another rare beauty:
And while not uncommon, always nice to see (but not touch) stinging lupine
Not too many care about native grasses, but it is so infrequent that I get to find a new one:
Finally we reached the top and were greeted thusly:
And of course
All told it’s just over a mile and a half from the parking lot. Not far, but a good workout. Best plan is to take your time and enjoy the sights.