Southern California Creeking
© 1996-2022 by Gary Valle' and Gary Gunder

Matilija Creek

1.1 Mile Upstream of Old Man Creek to Matilija Trailhead Parking Area



Los Padres National Forest, north of Ojai, California


1.1 Mile Upstream of Old Man Creek (2190')


1) 270'
1.1) Old Man Creek
2) 225'
2.6) Upper N.F. Matilija Creek RL
2.8) Murietta Creek RR
3) 135'
3.25) Take-out


Matilija Trailhead Parking Area (1520').


Update 6/22/10: There is an access issue to get to the put-in. Although used by hikers and others for many years, access to the creek using the road and trail is not being allowed. Apparently there is no easement.

The unique geology, stunning aqua color water, variety of rapids, and relatively easy access makes this segment one of my favorite creeks in Southern California.

Back in 1998 when we first did the Upper N.F. Matilija Creek, we took a quick look at upper Matilija Creek and made a mental note to take a closer look when there was more water.

In late February 2005 the Upper N.F. looked too high, so we continued hiking up the main stem. Wow! We were amazed to find high quality, river-like class III and IV rapids. We hiked as far as time and the combination of steepening gradient and flow would allow, putting in a little below Old Man Creek.

A week later the flow had dropped some, so we got an early start pushed our put-in further upstream to about a 1.1 mile above Old Man Creek. The first mile had a gradient of about 270 feet per mile -- the lower flow was ideal for the intricate drops, technical boulder gardens and a long slide.

Here's a slide show with some images from both trips.

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Southern California Creeking
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