Nordhoff Ridge Road

Los Padres National Forest, California

Elevation Gain13,158ft
Trailhead Elevation1,487ft
Elevation Min/Max1487/5288ft
Elevation Start/End1487/1487ft

Nordhoff Ridge Road

Nordhoff Ridge Road is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Ventura County, California. It is within Los Padres National Forest. It is 17.1 miles long and begins at 1,487 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 35.0 miles with a total elevation gain of 13,158 feet. The Lookout tower and Nordhoff Peak (elevation 4,426 feet) can be seen along the trail. This trail connects with the following: Gridley Canyon Road, Chief Peak Road, Pratt Trail, Lion Canyon Trail, Sisar Canyon Road and Horn Canyon Trail.

Nordhoff Ridge Road Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Backcountry Adventures: Southern California (Adler Publishing )
Peter Massey & Jeanne Wilson
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"This lightly traveled trail sees a maximum of 20 vehicles a day, often fewer. Your chances of meeting anyone, especially if you travel outside the hunting season, are remote. The trail leaves Rose Valley Road opposite Lower Rose Lake. It travels a short distance to the Rose Valley Campground and then leaves through the locked gate. From the campground, a valid permit is essential. A short, marked foot trail also leads off through the campground to the fern-covered Rose Valley Falls. It is a 10-minute walk to the base of the falls. Once you’re through the gate, the trail starts to climb steeply. The road was once paved, but has fallen into disrepair and is now a mix of paved patches and loose, scrabbly dirt. The forest service requires 4WD to be engaged for the surfaced parts of this climb, and for this reason will issue permits only to 4WD vehicles. The trail climbs up the steep spur to Nordhoff Ridge, where it forks along the top. Both trails are well worth the trip. Special Attractions: Lightly traveled, permit-only trail within Los Padres National Forest; Excellent ocean views as well as views over Lion Canyon and the Sespe Wilderness; Lookout tower on Nordhoff Peak; Rose Valley Falls; Popular mountain bike route that can be combined with the Gridley Trail. High-clearance 4WDs are recommended, though most stock SUVs are acceptable. Expect a rough road surface with rocks larger than 6 inches, but there will be a reasonable driving line available. Patches of mud are possible but can be readily negotiated; sand may be deep and require lower tire pressures. There may be stream crossings up to 12 inches deep, substantial sections of single-lane shelf road, moderate grades, and sections of moderately loose road surface." Read more

Nordhoff Ridge Road Reviews

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This has been my favorite trail out of all my trips. We spent 4of July weekend camped up on the Nordhoff Ridge and drove out to the lookout tower in time for the fireworks. From the lookout tower you could see the fireworks from Ventura, Oxnard, Santa Paula and Ojai all at the same time. At night the stars are amazing it makes you appreciate life. Plan to spend the whole day and drive around the whole trail that splits off in may different directions. Make sure that you have GOOD breaks for the trip back down the ridge!! Its a long way down FAST!

Nordhoff Ridge Road Photos

Trail Information

Los Padres National Forest
Nearby City
Los Padres National Forest
Los Padres National Forest
Local Contacts
USGS Lion Canyon, Ojai, Santa Paula Peak, Cuyama, Santa Barbara
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Dec 2018