Once you pass the gate you will soon come to the first of two stream crossings. In the Summer and Fall, the water is bikeable, but in the Winter and Spring you'll probably have to cross over on logs which are placed strategically across the streambed. Once over the first crossing, the trail climbs at a moderate angle above the stream through a beautifully wooded canyon. There's another stream crossing a ways up which is usually in similar shape to the first one. Once you climb out of the woods, you turn back toward the Ojai Vally and onto a well-groomed fire road. This is the climb you will have for the next 6 miles, or so. Usually the fire road is in excellent shape. Even after moderate rain, it drains well. The climb is about 3,300-3,400 feet from the road to the saddle of the ridge. 9.4 miles. Once at the ridge, you can go right and continue cimbing south, or you can go left to Chief Peak, a dormant volcanic peak. Whatever you choose to do, the ride back down is well worth the long climb up. On the descent, watch for hikers and equestrians, this place is fairly popular with both.
Get to Hwy 150 from either 33 or 126. take 150 about 5 miles out of Ojai past Gridley (see Gridley review). Park by the wooden fence adjacent to the firehouse. Take the narrow paved avenue about half a mile to the trailhead where a gate bars the progress of autos.
Summary: Sisar is probably the best fireroad in Ventura County. Nothing technically difficult but a great ride down with roundy rocks all the way for the jumping. I give it a 4 rating because it's really good for a fireroad and has the potential to connect with other trails to make an epic ride possible. It's not a perfect ride but it's long and pretty fun.
Really nice wooded lower section. This is where most of the hikers will be (seems like they always have dogs) so keep your eyes open and bell is recomended.
Great views most of the way, especially of the stratified rock along Nordhoff Ridge that is so emblematic of the Ojai landscape. Hot in the sun, flies are fun, so go in the morning any time except winter. It was foggy in Ventura today and 70 degrees on the trail- a bit cooler higher up.
Recommended Route: Park on Hwy 150 at the Sisar Road intersection. I do this because the speed bumps up Sisar really slow things down and sometimes it can be hard to find a spot to park at the trailhead. This adds half a mile to the trail- not a big deal- it's a warmup.
There is a grocery store at Sisar Road so you can get water or snacks.
It's about 8.5 miles to Nordhoff Ridge Road intersection and going to the right will get you to the radio towers 2 more miles up. This adds a real grind at the end that let's you know you've done a real ride. The view is huge from the top.
There are other trails available from this upper trail including Horn Canyon (trail 22W08) that is Single track down into Ojai- Haven't done it but it looks promising.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Gridley for fun, Sulphur Mountain for fitness
Review Date April 26, 2001
Overall Rating 5 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a week
Visitors rate this review 5.00 of 5,
Reviewed by: Catfish
, from Ventura
Summary: The trail is in excellent condition, but will be getting dusty as the season wears on (but that will be true anywhere around here). The lower 2 miles or so have been worked on by some volunteers and is as good as you'll find, I think. The trail is steep, but all ridable with a few sections to keep you on your toes (rock gardens to dance through, extra-steep climbs, an intersting rock drop-off that's doable if you're on your stuff). The Camp at White Ledge is a good place to take a break, it's in the trees, lots of shade, and the creek is always flowing. The next leg out of camp to the ridge is almost entirely in the sun, and much steeper than the lower leg into camp. Once on the ridge you have access to Rose Valley, Topa Topa, Gridley. The ride down is sweet singletrack. There are a few poppers along the way, if you have the nerve. It's very steep so there's no problem going too fast. Pay attention and you'll be fine, the trail is in really great shape, the brush is trimmed and the tread is groomed. A loop of Sisar Road to the ridge and down Red Reef Trail is fun and makes the climbing less strenuous (but a longer ride). Ride to Sisar Saddle, make a right, go a couple miles and you'll find the upper end of Red Reef. The fireroad may be one of the best fireroad rides around for downhill. Very fast and open, and graded recently with rain since, it is really nice. Jumps if you want them. Bring plenty of water as there is a majority of sun exposure, and the temperatures can get downright rude up there if you plan to ride in the Summer. Summer riding is more comfortable in the early mornng, it can be over 90 before 10am. I give it a 5-star rating because it is one of my favorite trails, and because there's something here for everyone. I've taken beginners on the trail and they have had a good time (walk through the more difficult sections). Experts will have no problem making the most of this trail.
Recommended Route: Take Sisar Road about 3.5 miles to get to a shot-up sign that marks the trailhead to Red Reef Trail, about 1/2 mile above the second gate. The trail is about 2.5 miles to the fireroad on the ridge, 1.5 mile up the trail is White Ledge Camp.
Other recommended trails in the same area: Gridley, Howard, Lion.
Review Date February 14, 2001
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a month
Reviewed by: Jim
, from oxnard
Summary: I tried to ride the loop from sisar to gridley but was stopped by snow on the north side of the mountain,shady side on top,about a foot and that was before the storms of 2/13/01 so I'm sure there is more now!
Recommended Route: sisar to gridley
Review Date July 7, 2000
Overall Rating 4 of 5
Ridden Trail: Every few months
Reviewed by: gbogh
, from ojai
Summary: The best way to do this ride is with 2 cars. Climb up sisar to the top and go around chief's peak, then ride along the ridge to nordoff peak and come down gridley trial, 6 miles of single track. OR take one car and climb up gridley over the ridge and down sisar! that will give you 35 minutes of fireroad downhill. From there you will be able to ride back to gridley on the road and pick up the car. The easy way is from Sisar to Gridley, the Gridley climb is more demanding. Intermediate riders no problem, bring lots of water, food and a camera.
Recommended Route: Start in upper Ojai at the Sisar trailhead. Bring 2 cars!! Leave one on gridely road and take the bikes up to Sisar
Review Date March 28, 1999
Overall Rating 3 of 5
Ridden Trail: Once a year
Reviewed by: mojodoggy
, from Simi Valley, Calif.
Summary: This is a great workout/climb for getting ready for Big Bear. Similar climb
Recommended Route: Same as above
Other recommended trails in the same area: Nordoff ridge