California's Ojai Valley Trail travels 10 paved miles from Foster Park in Oak View to Ojai, the smallest city in Ventura County, which is surrounded by the peaks of Los Padres National Forest. Ojai has long been known as a haven for artists, musicians and outdoor enthusiasts. The Chumash Indians were the first known residents of Ojai, and the town's name derives from their word for moon, "A'hwai." The Ojai Valley Trail follows the former Ventura and Ojai Valley rail line and runs along the Ventura River into the valley.
I began at Foster Park. If you want to avoid the $2 day use parking fee, you can park just outside the gate on the gravel under the freeway overpass. From the underpass you can go either direction -- to your left for the Ventura River Trail, or to the right for the Ojai Valley Trail. The trail has a gradual uphill as you head to Ojai, giving you a nice coast back downhill on your return.
Don't be fooled by description of the trail saying it follows the Ventura River, because here it is. According to a local resident I talked to at this valley overlook, even during the rainy season there isn't much water below due to irrigation farther upstream.
The only water I saw was this scenic stream that you cross just after you begin the uphill.
When you reach Ojai, the trail appears to end in a shopping center parking lot, but if you look to your right across Highway 33, you'll see a sign for Rotary Community Park and the continuation of the trail. You then go through the park, past the golf course, and begin crossing residential streets. When the trail again appears to end at a storage facility, look across the street to your right, and between the storage place and the Ventura County Humane Society grounds, you'll see the trail continues alongside the storage facility. Don't get too excited though, for the trail does end at the end of their building in a gravel alley.
To reach the Foster Park trailhead from downtown Ventura, take Highway 33 heading north. Exit Highway 33 at Casitas Vista Road. Turn right on North Ventura Avenue, and then right again on Casitas Vista Road. The entrance to Foster Park is on the north side of Casitas Vistas Road. Parking is available here.
You can also park in Rotary Community Park at Highway 33 and 150.