Homer's Travels: Hiking Ventura County #39: Old Boney Trail

Monday, December 17, 2007

Hiking Ventura County #39: Old Boney Trail

Another weekend, another day on the trails. This Saturday I headed out to hike the Old Boney trail. This hike turned out to be a Down-Up-Down-Up trail that really gave me a workout.

I reached the parking lot of the Satwiwa Native American Indian Culture Center where I would start the hike. It was a chilly morning which suited me just fine. Along the road there were hints of frost on the plants. I left the parking lot and walked the quarter mile to the Culture Center. From there I turned down the paved Big Sycamore Canyon Trail.

Big Sycamore Canyon Trail heads down pretty quickly. When on this trail watch out for bicycles. This is a popular trail for bicycles and horses. The views the surrounding hills, ridges, bluffs, and mountains are pretty amazing. The trail bottoms out at a bridge and continues on until you reach the Danielson Multi-Use area at the 4 - 4.25 mile point. On this stretch I managed to find 10 geocaches. My GPS was really off on most of the caches and I had to do some extra searching to locate most of them. This slowed me down a bit. One interesting cache is "Belly of the Beast" that was a small container hidden in a rubber lizard. The lizard was just sitting on a rock under a bush. I think I jumped when I first saw it. A clever hide.

At the Danielson Multi-use area you have the choice of continuing straight for another 3 miles or so to the ocean. On Saturday I made a left here and headed up Blue Canyon Trail. The trail goes through a forested area where I ran into several deer. I missed a good picture when I startled a deer on the trail. I was so busy looking at my GPS that I didn't realize there was a deer no more then twenty feet away from me. It ran into the brush before I could get my camera out. Fortunately just a few yards down I came across a couple more near the trail and a got a picture or two. Very cool.

The trail starts going up at this point. In just under a mile you reach a junction where the Blue Canyon, Backbone, and Old Boney trails intersect. At this point I found a cache ("Dinosaur Egg!") and sat on a large boulder in the shade to eat some lunch. I was becoming a little concerned about time. I had quite a ways to go, and several caches to go, and I doubted I would have time to finish the hike before sundown.

At this junction I turned left and headed up Old Boney Trail. The trail was overgrown but easy to follow. Near the top of a ridge (Huff - Puff!) I took a side trail thinking there was a cache there. The side trail climb sharply up a hill but didn't get me close to the cache. At the top of the hill I was rewarded with a beautiful view of the Oxnard plain, Boney Mountain, and the surrounding hills. I could see the trail that I was on led across a saddle up a steep trail up to the tri-peaks area. I may have to do this trail someday - looks like a challenge (and there are four geocaches up there).

I went back to the main trail and followed it to the Danielson Fire road. The trails meet where the Old Cabin Trail starts. I followed the Danielson's fire road down the hill. I was tired but I was hauling butt as I needed to make up some time. I reached the bottom and took a spur trail to a waterfall area to look for a cache. I had tried to find "Fern Gully 2" once before without success. This time wasn't any better. I gave up in frustration and went back to the main trail.

At this point I had a choice to make. I could follow the more direct route up the Danielson Fire Road to the car or I could take the Upper Sycamore Canyon Trail back to Big Sycamore Canyon road. I looked at my watch, threw caution to the wind and headed down Upper Sycamore Trail. This way would end up adding some distance and several more geocaches. Since I was short on time I decided to limit my cache searches to only 5 minutes. I managed to find two more bringing the total to 16 caches which tied my previous record.

Upper Sycamore Canyon is a beautiful forested canyon. Many of the trees had changed into their fall colors which added to the appeal of the trail.

The trail connects up with big Sycamore Canyon Trail near the bridge. I turned right and started up the paved trail up the last hill. I was pooped but I managed to make it back to the car around 4:30. I'd been on the trail for nine and a half hours. I'm guessing the the caching added two to three hours on to the hike.

Now I like hiking and I like geocaching and these two activities often mesh together pretty well. On this hike though I discovered that too many geocaches can spoil the hike. In this case I had 34 geocaches loaded into my GPS (34!). I would say about 12 were not actually on the trails that I was taking so I will probably do them some other day. I was so preoccupied by finding the remaining 22 caches that I think I missed the relaxation that I usually get from hiking. I have learned a lesson on this hike. The Hike is priority one and geocaching is secondary. All the caches made me feel rushed and, while I enjoyed the hike quite a bit, I would have enjoyed it more if I had done it at a more leisurely pace.

The total distance hiked was around 13 miles with about 1,700 feet of vertical from trough to peak. Pictures are here. My next hike, if the weather cooperates, will be the Fishbowls deep in the Los Padres national Forest.


  1. Looks like a fun one, especially as I didn't make it out on the trail this weekend. And you're definitely right: the bikes on the Big Sycamore trail can be downright lethal!

  2. GH: The last trail with this many bicycles was the Snyder trail up to Knapp's Castle. On that trail all the bikers wore bells which helped a lot (Snyder trail is a narrow trail so a warning is a must). At least on Big Sycamore Trail you have a lot of room to get out of the way. I did enjoy the hike and for some reason I don't feel ajavascript:void(0)
    Publish Your Comments sore as I expected.