OverviewReyes Peak is the highest summit of Pine Mountain, a massif located in central Ventura County north of the city of Ojai. As one of the many "Coastal Range" peaks along the California coast, Reyes Peak/Pine Mountain straddles the fine line between the moister, more heavily-forested peaks closer to the ocean, and the stark, desert-like terrain further inland. A very narrow paved road leaves the highway and snakes up along the mountain's range crest, ending at a trailhead very close to Reyes Peak itself (Haddock Peak is the other main summit on Pine Mountain, about four miles east of Reyes). A hike of Reyes can be done in a matter of a few hours, but it can be combined with a lovely scenic drive, superb camping and some other hiking for a full weekend - there is much to do while you're here. For list chasers, Reyes Peak is one of California's many peaks with 2,000 feet of prominence, eking in at 2,074 feet.
Getting ThereFrom Ojai in Ventura County, take highway CA-33 north into the mountains. Note the following: Between mileposts 19 & 20 is the Wheeler Gorge Campground. Between mileposts 36 & 37 is the Chorro Grande Trailhead, and between mileposts 42 & 43 is the Pine Mountain Summit (highpoint of the road) and the turnoff onto the Pine Mountain Road (Los Padres NF Road 6N06). For reference, Ojai is at mile 12 on CA-33.
For the shortest hike, take the Pine Mountain Road (6N06) east into the range. It's paved but very narrow, and the pavement isn't very good, so you'll go slow regardless. Be aware of oncoming cars. The road ends 7 miles later at a parking area at the Reyes Peak Trailhead.
If you want to take the long hiking route, you'll want the Chorro Grande trailhead along CA-33. You'll see the sign, and the parking area to the left (south) side of the road near a small hill).
Sierra Club thumbnail directions for the Chorro Grande route
Ojai is the last place for food and fuel. You can get to Ojai from Ventura along the US-101 Freeway, following the signs. If coming from the north (Gorman area), take Lockwood Valley Road from Lake of the Woods south about 30 miles to the intersection with CA-33, then on to the Pine Mountain Road.
The whole drive from Ojai to past Reyes Peak/Pine Mountain is very scenic and very lovely. You'd be surprised how sheer the coast-facing cliffs are, and how desert-like the interior is, just 20-30 air-miles from the coast.
Red TapeYou'll need the Adventure Pass, which is $5/day or $30/year (as of 2007). These can be bought at any of the Ranger Stations anbd most Sporting Goods outlets in Southern California.
Adventure Pass Information
CampingThere are two very limited campgrounds located along the Pine Mountain Road. The first is called Pine Mountain and has 6 spaces and is located 4.8 miles up the road. It's basically a big cleared area in a small valley. There is not much privacy between you and your neighbor. The second is called Reyes Peak and is another mile up the road. There are 6 spaces, spaced out along the road itself, but a couple near some very neat rock formations; if you can get one of these, go for it!
On weekends these fill up very fast, first come, first serve.
The Wheeler Gorge Campground is 20 miles south of the peak along CA-33 but has 70+ spaces and will probably be open if you need a space. There are other campgrounds in the area. I checked out a few others while in the area.
External LinksLos Padres National Forest Page
Reyes Peak Trip Report (5/14/07) www.surgent.net