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See the Retired Peak Guides in the Archives for Microsoft Word and other versions of this peak guide.


Topatopa Bluff

(UTM 067194)

Location: Ventura County, about 11 miles east-northeast of Ojai, 82 miles from Los Angeles


Auto ClubVentura County
Forest ServiceLos Padres National Forest: Mt Pinos, Ojai and Santa Barbara Ranger Districts
USGS ToposSanta Paula Peak 7½, Topatopa Mountians 7½, Ojai 7½, Lion Canyon 7½
Official HPS Maps TPO file - Save to your computer then open with National Geographic TOPO!
 Viewable PDF file - Approximately 2.8 megs
 GPX file or Google Earth KML file to download to GPS units and other map software (How to use GPX and KML files)
 Routes as shown on CalTopo using the above files (How to use CalTopo)

Nearby Peaks: Chief Peak, Hines Peak

Printable version of this route


(Special Permit and USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: 2.0 miles round trip on trail
Gain: 1000'
Time: 1-1 1/2 hours round trip
Rating: Class 1, easy
Navigation: Easy

Original: Frank Dobos, December 1993


  • Take US 101 and SR 33 to the town of Ojai.
  • From the intersection of SR 150 and SR 33 in Ojai, go north on SR 33 for 14.7 miles to a road on the right signed "Rose Valley - 4". Turn right.
  • Go 3.1 miles to a fork on the right. Turn right.
  • Drive into the campground. There is a road with a locked gate on the west side of the campground. Use the combination supplied with your permit to unlock the gate and lock it behind you. Note your odometer and go as follows:
  • At 2.2 miles, junction with the Nordhoff Ridge Road (22W15). Turn left (east).
  • At 3.9 miles a saddle with a duck on the south side. This is the parking spot for Chief Peak.
  • At 7.2 miles, fork with a sign "Road Ends 3 Miles". Keep left.
  • At 8.4 miles, a sign "Trail 22W08" and road forks. Stay on the main road (right fork).
  • At 10.3 miles, a permanent barrier and a sign "Trail 21W08". Park at a large area 0.1 mile back on bump 5479'


  • From the parking area, cross the road and hike east up Topatopa Bluff's west ridge, following a steep but marked and maintained Forest Service trail.


The Nordhoff Ridge Road is open for driving (4WD vehicles only) under permit from the Forest Service. Contact the Forest Service Office in Ojai Monday through Friday for the permit and the combination for the locked gate. (805) 448-4710

Hikers have had trouble with obtaining the correct gate combination. Below are some suggestions made by Sandy Sperling, Byron Prinzmetal and the District Ranger:

  • First of all you need to call ahead of time or visit the Ojai Ranger Station ahead of your planned hike date to obtain your permit and the gate combination. You can not, as of this writing, obtain the permit and gate combination by visiting the ranger station the day you want the permit.
  • Call or visit the ranger station in Ojai Monday-Friday during business hours as close to your hiking date as possible to verify and re-verify the lock combinations.
  • Make sure the combination(s) you are given are for the gate you intend to go through and not some other gate.
  • Be aware that rain closes the gate entirely, and that the lock combinations will change more frequently in the case of rain.
  • Ask for the previous and next combinations as the combination changes regularly.
  • You may be fortunate if given the wrong combination to have someone let you in, but you will need to find someone with the correct combination who is willing to give it to you so you can get out.
  • When you pick up your permit, check all the other permits and permit copies in the pickup box for other combinations. Write these down in case yours doesn't work.

Printable version of this route


(USFS Adventure Pass may be required)
Distance: 15 miles round trip on road, trail, and use trail
Gain: 4500'
Time: 8-9 hours round trip
Rating: Class 1, strenuous
Navigation: Moderate

Original: Frank Dobos, December 1993


  • Take SR 126 to Santa Paula. Turn north on SR 150. Note your odometer here.
  • At 8.8 miles the Summit School (unsigned) is on the right. Just before the school, turn right on Sisar Avenue. This is a very narrow and worn paved road. Note your odometer here.
  • Go past some houses to where the road turns to dirt, keeping right at two forks.
  • At 0.8 mile a water tank. Low clearance cars should park here.
  • At 1.0 mile a locked gate. All cars park here.


  • From the parking area (1850'), pass the gate and hike up the road which goes up Sisar Canyon. Continue for about 3 miles to where the road makes its second major switchback to the left.
  • Look for a trail sign straight in front of you, indicating 2.5 miles to the Nordhoff Ridge Road. Take this trail (21W08) up Sisar Canyon as it passes through the overgrown White Ledge Campsite and on to its junction with the Nordhoff Ridge Road (4N15). That junction is depicted in the extreme southwest corner of the Topatopa Mountains topo.
  • Turn right on Nordhoff Ridge Road and follow it 0.5 mile to where it crosses over to the left side of the ridge. Here a ridge comes down from the peak on the right side of the road.
  • Leave the road here and go up this ridge to the summit following a use trail and firebreak. There is a large cairn on the summit.


If Topatopa Bluff is combined with Hines Peak, the peak can be climbed on the return from Hines Peak. On the return from Hines Peak at a prominent saddle between bumps 6363' and 6445', a road leads off to the left to the summit of Topatopa Bluff. Follow the Route 1 hiking instructions for the return to the vehicles from the summit of Topatopa Bluff.

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