Homer's Travels: Hiking Ventura County #28: La Jolla Canyon - Ray Miller Trails

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Hiking Ventura County #28: La Jolla Canyon - Ray Miller Trails

On Sunday I got up early to do the La Jolla Canyon and Ray Miller trails. I wasn't sure about getting up early since we didn't get back from the concert until 1:00 AM. My alarm went off, I fed the Homer, ate some breakfast, and headed out to the trailhead. I was worried that it was going to be socked in with marine layer but I had nothing to worry about. The skies were unexpectedly clear. Perfect day for the hike. There were quite a few hikers, runners, and bikers on the trail.

I had twenty-two geocaches printed out. Unfortunately I only loaded twenty into my GPS (oops). Didn't realize my error until it was too late.

Off I went up La Jolla Canyon trail. As I was walking along I heard a first for me - the yipping howl of a coyote. It was probably up on the ridge line and I didn't get a chance to see it. The trail follows a creek bed that was dry this time of year. The trail crosses the creak at a waterfall that would have been impressive if there had been water. There were some stagnant pools but they were only good for mosquito breeding. The mosquitoes were having me for brunch as I walked the canyon. The trail was shaded and totally enclosed on some parts. In this canyon I looked for five caches but only found two. My geocaching instincts were a little spotty this morning.

The trail climbs out of the canyon and enters a meadow. The mosquitoes were replaced by flies which was fine as the flies didn't try to suck my blood. Swallows were flying low over the grass. They looked like they were chasing each other and racing. I tried to take some pictures but they were too fast. Across the valley you could see communication and radar antenna that service Point Mugu Naval Air Station. The trail then connects up with the La Jolla Fire Road climbing up a hill until it intersects the Overlook Fire Road. I found my third geocache near the intersection.

As I followed the Overlook Fire Road I got a great view of Boney Mountain and Sycamore Canyon. I rounded a curve and I saw a beautiful sight - the Pacific Ocean. A cool breeze was coming in off the ocean which kept me cool even with in the strong noon sun. I snacked and grabbed three more geocaches along this road.

I left the Overlook Fire Road and started down the Ray Miller trail. From this trail you have great views of the Pacific coast from the great sand dune to Mugu Rock. The section of Pacific Coast Highway that goes past Mugu Rock is often used as a backdrop for car commercials. People were camping on the beach trying to get away from civilization only to be targeted by advertising.

I took a short spur to catch two more caches and picked up the chaosmanor's Mt. Rainier Red Cross - gold geocoin. I made it back to the Ray Miller Trail and headed down finding four more geocaches. After one, a couple approached me and the man introduced himself as Darb. I have read many of Darb's geocaching logs and I have done a few of his caches. It was like meeting a geocaching celebrity. I'm sure the geocaching ball cap gave me away. Further down the trail a couple on horseback asked me what I was doing in the bushes. I said "I'm just looking around." LAME. How do you explain why you are squatting in the bushes? They probably think I was taking a dump or something.

I made it back to the car and I was feeling great. What a difference from last week when I thought I was going to pass out. I still felt fresh. I think the temperature difference and the cool breeze helped a lot. The slow elevation increase also contributed. I ended up doing fifteen geocaches on this hike. There were four caches that I looked for but could not find. Even with these misses, this is a personal daily geocaching record.

The total hike was 8.94 miles with an elevation gain of about 1,090 feet. 

Pictures are here.


  1. La Jolla Valley is one of my absolute favorite hikes. I often do a loop starting at the Ray Miller Trailhead, up through the valley, across the top of Mugu Peak and back to the trailhead.

    Try to go in the spring if you can. La Jolla valley is one of the few areas left in California with native California grasses, and after a good rain it's green and beautiful.

  2. I did enjoy this hike. I went up o Mugu Peak a few years ago. Will probably do it again in a few months. It's a little unfortunate that I started hiking in earnest during a drought year. Everything is so dry.