Volunteers and trail crews rolled up their sleeves and got to work on the restoration of the Murietta Trail this summer. Thanks to public support and funding through the Thomas Fire Trail Fund, the fire-damaged and overgrown route near Ojai, Calif. is now in the final stages of clearing before it’s reopened to hikers, cyclists, and equestrians.
Community support sought for a final push in important trail link between
Santa Barbara and Ventura counties
“Nothing is better than the feeling you get when the community comes together to restore our backcountry trails for public use,” said Ellie Mora, a crew leader with the Los Padres Forest Association. “The Murietta Trail was almost impassible before volunteers started their efforts last spring. Currently, it is in the best shape it has been post Thomas Fire, but it still needs a little more work.”
Murietta Trail begins about 12 miles northwest of Ojai, where Murietta Canyon and Matilija Canyon watersheds meet. From the trailhead, it meanders 1.67 miles southwest through the Los Padres National Forest, toward Santa Barbara County. The trail passes through Murietta Camp, a tranquil backpacking destination that hasn’t been accessible for several years.
The Murietta Trail restoration project offers benefits beyond its 1.67 miles. The trail is a critical link in the backcountry connection between Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. Trails groups from both counties have teamed up in this restoration effort in hopes that hikers, runners, cyclists, and equestrians will soon be connecting popular trails in Ojai to those in Santa Barbara, Montecito, and Carpinteria.
The trails group responsible for the Murietta Trail restoration consists of Los Padres Forest Association, The C.R.E.W., Sage Trail Alliance, and the Santa Barbara County Trails Council. The project was launched with a grant from the Thomas Fire Trail Fund at https://thomasfiretrailfund.org/.
“Despite the hot summer weather, we made some fantastic progress on the Murietta Trail,” said Bryan Conant of the Los Padres Forest Association. “With some additional donations and volunteer days, we’re really looking forward to picking it back up soon and riding this momentum to the finish line.”
Work on Murietta Trail has involved cutting a rough preliminary line, reworking creek crossings, brush clearing, and downed tree removal. Volunteers maintain 6-foot distancing and take additional health and safety precautions in their effort to meet U.S. Forest Service Trail Standards.
Additional community funding will allow trail crews to complete the final ½-mile of the restoration project. To support the project financially or by volunteering, please donate.
A Murietta Trail map designed by Santa Barbara County Trails Council is available online at https://thomasfiretrailfund.org/docs/Murietta-Trail-Map.png
The Thomas Fire Trail Fund provides financial support for the restoration of Ventura and Santa Barbara County trails affected by natural disasters such as the Thomas Fire. The collaboration is supported by REI Co-Op, Ventura County Community Fund, and donations from Patagonia and community members.
Learn more about the trail focused coalition: