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Howard Creek Trail - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 2.85 Miles

The creek is named for Jeff Howard who came to the area in 1875 and established a mountain cattle ranch in 1877. Jeff shot and killed a Basque sheep herder who had run his sheep on Jeff's pasture on Rock Creek. Sentenced to prison, he escaped and fled to Arizona. He was returned to Ojai and then once again escaped and never was captured again. He died near Prescott Arizona in 1910 at the age of 92 years.
This steep trail starts on the south side of the road from Highway 33 to Rose Valley just west on private property named Rancho Grande on upper Howard Creek. The trail climbs up to join the Rose Valley Road to Nordhoff Ridge Road. It is a northern route to reach Nordhoff Peak. A part of the trail was constructed by a U. S. Navy Construction Battalion commonly known as Seabees who had a training base located at Rose Valley. As part of their training they built numerous roads, trails and the Rose Valley Iakes.

Turn right on Rose Valley Road and drive .4 miles and park on the right. The trail starts on a dirt road behind a locked gate. This is one of the shortest hikes to Nordhoff Ridge where there are fantastic views of the coastline and the Ojai Valley.

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 22W26
  • Wilderness Area: Non Wilderness Area
  • County: Ventura County
  • Ranger District: Ojai Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 34.53463
  • Trail-head Longitude: -119.23183
  • Water Sources: No Water Available
  • Trail Condition: Good - Trail is easy to follow and is in good shape
  • Topo Maps:
  • Activities & Features:
    • Backpacking
    • Biking
    • Day Hiking
    • Horseback Riding
    • Mountain Biking
    • Panoramic Views
    • Wildlife Viewing

Trail Stats

  • Total Elevation Gain: + 646 feet.
  • Total Elevation Loss: - 1637 feet.
  • Overall Average Slope Gain: + 10 %.
  • Overall Average Slope Loss: - 14 %.
  • Kilometers: (km)
  • Meters: (m)
  • Miles: (mi)
  • Feet: (ft)
  • Average Slope: (%)
Upload Images Aerial Overview Image Login to Download GPS File
Survey This Trail

Survey Photos:

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 12-12-2015

  • Katie - 10-08-2016

  • Katie - 10-08-2016

  • bardley - 04-06-2017

  • bardley - 04-06-2017

  • bardley - 04-06-2017

Submitted Trail Reports

Howard Creek Trail Survey - 11-10-2017 - by Valerie Norton
Link: Howard Creek Trail
Date: 11-10-2017
Surveyor Name:Valerie Norton
Trail description:Ventura Sierra Club was out to climb from Rose Valley to the ridge then back down along the trail and I tagged along.

Minor sluff from above getting onto the trail and blush is very close, but off on the side. It will probably need brushing and that sluff removed in a year or two, but for now very comfortable coming down.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Howard Creek Trail Survey - 04-06-2017 - by bardley
Link: Howard Creek Trail
Date: 04-06-2017
Surveyor Name:bardley
Trail description:

Several trail-blocking limbs were discovered on the trail during the survey and were removed.  Overall the tread is in good condition and minimal brushing is needed.  There is an approximate 100 yard long section where recent storms and inadequate water diversions created a one-foot (1') to three-foot (3') deep trench in the middle of the trail.  This section presents a hazard to passage of foot, stock and wheeled travelers.  There is also sloughing and some topping of the crib walls from up-slope soil further along the trail.

Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:needs tread work



northern trailhead
Howard Creek Trail Survey - 10-08-2016 - by Katie
Link: Howard Creek Trail
Date: 10-08-2016
Surveyor Name:Katie
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow

Howard Creek Trail Survey - 02-16-2016 - by Geoff
Link: Howard Creek Trail
Date: 02-16-2016
Surveyor Name:Geoff
Trail description:Great trial wonderful views from the ridge
Mostly shaded but no water
Ensure  you look for trial on the left about .5 miles from parking on the road fire road.  We  missed it initially 
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Howard Creek Trail Survey - 12-12-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Howard Creek Trail
Date: 12-12-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:The Ojai Ranger District led a trail project along the Howard Creek trail on December 12, 2015.  They worked starting from 1/2 mile up the trail towards the top.  There are plans to complete the first 1/2 mile at a later date.
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow

Photo Ranger Heidi
Howard Creek Trail Survey - 05-23-2015 - by Dan Whelan
Link: Howard Creek Trail
Date: 05-23-2015
Surveyor Name:Dan Whelan
Trail description:Trail is in great shape. There are some spots where the annual grasses and plant have closed the trail in but still very easy to follow and pass.
No water on trail 
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow

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Questions or Comments

Last Updated: Monday, February 22, 2016

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L.P.N.F. Contacts »

  • Forest Headquarters
    Phone: (805) 968-6640
  • Mt. Pinos District
    Phone: (661) 245-3731
  • Ojai Ranger District
    Phone: (805) 646-4348
  • Santa Barbara District
    Phone: (805) 967-3481
  • Santa Lucia District
    Phone: (805) 925-9538
  • Monterey District
    Phone: (831) 385-5434
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