Fall Equinox Nature Hike on Pine Mountain

Contact Details:

Phone: 8056466281

Email: register@herbwalks.com

Website: View Website

Social Media:

**Events may have been canceled or postponed. Please contact the venue to confirm the event.

Date & Time

Sun, Sep 18 9:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Address (map)

1207 Maricopa Highway, Ojai CA 93023

On Sunday, September 18, 2022, Ojai author and native plant educator Lanny Kaufer will lead his 10th annual Fall Equinox Nature Hike in the peaceful mixed conifer forest on the “sky island” known as Pine Mountain (elevation: 7000 feet). Kaufer promises that first time visitors to this area will be surprised and delighted to find a thick forest of pines, white fir and incense-cedar so close to the Ventura coast. If they’re lucky, pine nuts will be falling as they hike.

According to Craig Carey, author of Hiking and Backpacking Santa Barbara and Ventura, the Reyes Peak Trail along the northern slope of the peak is “quite simply one of the most beautiful stretches in the southern Los Padres.”

Biogeographers include Pine Mountain in a select group of “sky islands,” defined as isolated mountains surrounded by radically different lowland environments. Hikers can expect to see several high-altitude plants and trees like White Fir and Sugar Pine more commonly found in the Southern Sierra Nevada mountains. Weather and marine layer permitting, they will have panoramic views of the Cuyama Valley to the north and the Channel Islands to the south.

The outing will start at 9:00 a.m. with a car caravan (or carpool for those open to it) of about 36 miles up Highway 33 from the Maricopa Plaza, (1207 Maricopa Highway, Ojai, CA 93023) to the Reyes Peak trailhead. The last 6.5 miles include 5.5 miles on a narrow, winding, paved road and the very last mile on a dirt road. Trucks or SUV’s are preferred for the last stretch but most passenger cars with reasonable front axle clearance can make the drive.

Kaufer and the group will start walking into the Sespe Wilderness from the trailhead (where there is a restroom) at about 10:30 a.m., stopping for lunch (not provided) in the forest, and returning to the trailhead at 3:30 p.m., arriving back at the Maricopa Plaza by 4:00 p.m. The group will hike on a well-used trail through Mixed Conifer Forest habitat, stopping often to identify and discuss native plants, birds and wildlife. There will be some elevation gain and loss skirting the north side of Reyes Peak, sometimes traversing hillsides on a narrow trail. The total hiking distance will be about 3 miles.

This intermediate level hike is suitable for fit, moderately experienced hikers or physically fit beginners. There will be some elevation gain and loss skirting the north side of Reyes Peak, sometimes traversing steep hillsides on a narrow trail. The total hiking distance will be about 3 miles. Those with respiratory or circulatory issues possibly affected by altitude of 7000 feet should consult with a physician before attempting the hike.

This hike is another in a series of backcountry walks and hikes under an Operating Permit from the Ojai Ranger District Office of the U.S. Forest Service designed for guides who provide recreational and interpretive services to the public. After the hike, participants will receive a detailed follow-up email including a list of all plants and wildlife identified.

Kaufer will have copies of his new book, Medicinal Herbs of California, with him for sale and signing before and after the hike. No dogs or smoking, please. Light rain will not cancel. Heavy rain or chance of thunderstorms will.

The cost for the hike is $45/person. Senior, student and child discounts are available by request. Paid registrants will receive a confirmation email a few days prior to the event with all necessary info, including what to bring, weather forecast, and directions to the trailhead. Register now at HerbWalks.com or by calling 805-646-6281.


Lanny Kaufer has been leading Herb Walks and Nature Hikes in Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties since 1976, educating hundreds of locals and visitors on the flora of the area with a focus on herbs that can be used for food and medicine. As an herbal educator, Lanny also hosts workshops and presentations throughout the Ojai-Ventura–Santa Barbara area on the uses of California plants. He operates his outdoor adventures under Special Use Permits from the U.S. Forest Service and the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, among others.

Lanny’s science background comes from earning a Biology degree at the University of California, Santa Cruz, where he completed independent studies in naturopathic medicine under physiology professor Dr. Henry Hilgard in the early 1970s. During those years and since then he also studied and collaborated with Chumash plant expert Juanita Centeno and renowned herbalists William LeSassier, Michael Tierra, and Michael Moore, among others.

Lanny served as chief consultant on medicinal plants for the redesign of the Swimmer Medicinal Garden in Playa Vista and continues to work with the Garden Committee and the Garden’s founder, Michael Swimmer. He actively shares his events and knowledge online through his website HerbWalks.com, his free monthly newsletter, and on social media. Lanny lives in Ojai with his wife Rondia.

Lanny is the author of Medicinal Herbs of California: A Field Guide to Common Healing Plants (Falcon Guides, 2021).

Photo of mixed conifer forest on Pine Mountain by Bryant Baker.



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