This is a great ride if you like to start your rides with a climb and end it with a long fast descent. The climb to the top of Red Reef Trail
is about 10 -11 miles from the bottom gate (see picture).
You start the climb following the creek, with a couple of water crossing and lots of tree cover and shade. But, unfortunately, that does not help since the first three miles of the ride, at the bottom of the canyon, contain the steepest sections.
Around mile 3.5-4, you'll emerge out of the canyon and start climbing the mountains, crossing the contour lines. All of a sudden you'll be exposed to the sun, but the grade drops a few degrees which makes it easier. At some point around mile 7, the views of the Ojai Valley will start to appear, and you'll find yourself stopping and taking quick looks at the beautiful scenery!
All the fire roads in this loop are very well maintained; the singletrack on the other hand is a bit deserted. Parts of it are overgrown and other parts are washed out by water. But nothing that will make you unclip and walk. The fire roads are mostly wide and hard-packed dirt, making it very easy to ride on.
Even though its high in elevation, this area tends to be very hot in the summer. Ojai Valley can get to the triple digits sometimes, which means it can easily get into the 90's along this ride.
There is a parking lot at the bottom gate, but you'll need a high clearance vehicle to access it (sedans not recommended).
If you can't park at the gate there is some parking right after the pavement ends, near the residential neighborhoods. The ride up is simple, you just take the fire road up, up and up until you get to a "T" intersection with Nordhoff Ridge (around mile 8.5).
The left turn will take you to Chef's Peak and the top of Gridley Trail (22W05)
. You'll turn right, however, for this ride and continue with your climb for about two more miles until you get to the Red Reef trailhead.
Continue on to Red Reef Trail
until it ends at the Sisar Canyon fire road, which you can take back down to the parking lot (or climb back up for another round).