Orange Grove Trail
1) At the Oso Trail hike west then take a quick right before crossing the Ventura River. The river bottom is rocky but the trail evens out afterward. 2) After you cross you may notice a sign indicating that you are hiking on the Orange Grove Trail. The trail runs south along the Ventura River, but makes a short diversion around a hazardous bridge before continuing onward. During most of the 1900s ranchers developed the entire river bottom agriculturally and sometime in the 1920s an orange grove was planted west of the trail. The orange grove has slowly died off and is now being replaced with native plants.
3) At about 0.3 mile on Orange Grove you’ll see a giant rock bed covering the trail, which is part of the Rice Creek Restoration Project. In the 1920s Rice Creek was diverted from its native route to make room for the forty-nine acre orange grove. The diversion left the creek confined in a straightened ditch from which it shot through a culvert to the Ventura River flood plain 30-feet below. The importance of tributary streams to natural ecology and hydrology cannot be understated. When hydrologic connections are severed they affect all related systems in the drainage area. Hydrologists describe that one of the purposes of a stream is to transport sediment. The distribution of sediment is what creates aquatic habitats as certain plants and creatures are adapted to specific sediment sizes and types. As of March 2014, Rice Creek flowed along its native route for the first time in roughly 85 years. 4) A short detour is provided slightly south of the restoration project. Once you reach a paved road you have reached the end of Orange Grove Trail. The paved road belongs to CMWD and is okay to cross. Now you’re at Wills Canyon Trailhead. The Orange Grove Trail is about 0.6 mile each way. At the end you can turn around, head back to Oso Trailhead and hike toward the Wills Crossover. The crossroad provides access to all three trails.