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Kennedy Ridge or Bust

By on April 29, 2015 in Press, Ventura River Preserve

The Kennedy Ridge Trail and OVLC Stewardship Director were featured in a great article by Ray Ford in the Santa Barbara Independent this week:


As you ascend the switchbacks leading to the top of Kennedy Ridge the whole Ojai Valley comes into view. The Topatopa Mountain escarpment provides a similar backdrop to what we in Santa Barbara consider so special and the views out to the Pacific Ocean add a distant charm to a very enjoyable mountain hike.

On the Trail

We’ve been hiking a bit over a half hour when we reached the Kiosk marking the start of the Kennedy Ridge Trail. My hiking partner for the day is Rick Bisaccia, the Stewardship Director for the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (OVLC). “Now for the tough part,” Rick tells me. “The route up to the top of the ridge isn’t as good a trail as we wanted to make but the views will blow your socks off.”


Rick is a jack-of-all trades kind of guy, overseeing the various properties owned by the Conservancy, such as the Ventura River Preserve, where we are hiking today. The Preserve has over 17 miles of trails that allow extended hikes up and down the river as well as across and up a number of beautiful oak canyons. The Preserve is open to hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians alike, with dogs required to be on leash.

To this point the hiking has been easy. From the Oso parking lot the trail cuts down and across the Ventura River — dry most of the time — and then follows a short part of the Orange Grove Trail before turning right on the Rice Canyon Trail to a point where the trail crosses a private road. The turns are a bit tricky getting to the point where the Kennedy Ridge Trail takes off but thanks to Rick, each of the trailheads is stocked with free color maps that will keep you on track.

Though it is still mid-winter, it’s a warm day in Ojai. The sky is clear and the wind perfectly still. Rick is in the lead with his dog, Betty, who is not far behind furiously pumping her small legs to keep up with us. We contour the side of a small drainage covered with oaks, the grade beginning to get a bit steeper, enough to warm up our legs without breaking a sweat. {continued…} Read the full article on the Independent »


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