Wills Canyon Trail
Wills Canyon Trail begins directly west of the private CMWD road. Orange Grove Trail and Wills Crossover offer direct access to Wills Canyon Trail, which is fairly wide with a gradual incline. If you take Wills Crossover towards Wills Canyon Trail there is a rerouted trail for horses, but hikers and bikers can use it too. This trail travels along the creek and joins the main trail at a grassy knolled intersection.
1) Proceeding from the paved CMWD road the trail crosses Wills Creek and continues through a valley oak forest. This portion of trail also features Wills Creek paralleling the trail to the north and a steep slope along the trail to the south. The remainder of Wills Canyon Trail includes ample shade. 2) 0.85 miles up Wills Canyon Trail, Fern Grotto Trail breaks south towards Chaparral Crest Trail. 3) After 1.23 miles on Wills Canyon Trail you have reached the Rice Canyon Trail and El Nido Meadows junction. You may notice a small bridge and a bench shaded by live oak trees. Your options at this point are to turn around and head back on Wills Canyon toward any of the three trailheads, head north on Rice Canyon Trail towards Oso Trailhead or continue west on Chaparral Crest Trail. 4) Continue west on Wills Canyon Trail, cross the little bridge to the north, and the trail picks back up directly west after the bridge. 5) Hike up Chaparral Crest Trail to the western portion, which is steep but flattens out at the top providing spectacular views.
6) The western portion of Chaparral Crest Trail also crosses USFS land, which is clearly marked but not gated. Once you’ve reached this part of the trail you’ll begin to see magnificent views of the Ojai Valley to the east, Lake Casitas to the southwest and rolling hills to the northwest. Wills Canyon Trail features a high point of 1,245 feet. 7) Eventually you’ll make it back onto OVLC land and reach a junction on the trail. The trail continues to merge into the circular ridge portion of Chaparral Crest Trail. Your options are turning around and going back down to Wills Canyon Trail, take Chaparral Crest Trail east or Oso Ridge Trail south. Chaparral Crest Trail and Oso Ridge Trail intersect at the bottom closer to the river and West River Trail offering different scenery. On Oso Ridge Trail you’ll see Lake Casitas and on Chaparral Crest Trail you’ll see views of the preserve. Taking Chaparral Crest Trail is another option that let’s you cross over to Fern Grotto Trail getting you back onto Wills Canyon Trail to complete a loop.