Ventura River Preserve Trail Guide Part 2-Kennedy Ascent

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.

Right after the hill, before entering Rice Canyon

Right after the hill, before entering Rice Canyon

A short forest jaunt, left at the wide road

Left at the road

Left at the 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.

Locoweed near the trailhead

Locoweed near the trailhead

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.

Green bark ceanothus

Green bark ceanothus

Wild cucumber crawling through everything.

Wild cucumber

Wild cucumber

The sides of the trails carpeted with the outrageous pink and white filigree of wishbone bush and popcorn flowers.

Wishbone bush

Wishbone bush

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:

Small evening primrose (I think)

Small evening primrose (I think)

Twining snapdragon

Twining snapdragon

Common skullcap

Common skullcap

As you near the top you may find another rare beauty:

Wooly lomatium

Wooly lomatium

And while not uncommon, always nice to see (but not touch) stinging lupine

Stinging lupine

Stinging lupine

Not too many care about native grasses, but it is so infrequent that I get to find a new one:

Little muhly

Little muhly

Finally we reached the top and were greeted thusly:

First owl's clover of the year

First owl’s clover of the year

And of course

How green is our valley?

How green is our valley?

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.

 

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2 Responses to Ventura River Preserve Trail Guide Part 2-Kennedy Ascent

  1. JJ says:

    I’m always pleased to see the difficulty and detail for a trail, but the native flora remain the main attraction. Thanks, Rambler.

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