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Ojai By Foot, Bike And Trolley: LA's Great Escape
Just a short skip from Los Angeles awaits a getaway free of worries, stress and bumper-to-bumper traffic. Nestled in a scenic valley surrounded by orange groves and natural beauty, Ojai is a foot-friendly destination, easy to explore while taking in the many sights along the way.



Walk it!
Once in Ojai, put the car keys away. There are so many opportunities to walk and see the sights. Ojai’s main street, Ojai Avenue, is filled with distinctive shops and restaurants, many located in the Spanish-style Arcade right in the heart of town. Browse through stores filled with original art, boutique clothing, home furnishings, metaphysical gifts, and made in Ojai specialty products. The landmark Rains Department Store has been an Ojai anchor for more than 100 years and is a must-see on any Ojai outing. At nearby Vesta Home and Hearth, you can grab a bite to eat and browse the collection of home furnishings, gifts and fun treasures. Do some people watching at Ojai Ice Cream or get your caffeine fix at Java & Joe’s, both popular local hangouts. Stop by the Ojai Valley Museum for a glimpse into Ojai’s past; while there, be sure to pick up an Ojai Village Walking Guide, a listing of Ojai shops, cafes, art galleries and points of interest.



For a more vigorous walk, head to the popular Ojai Valley Trail, a converted rail line where trains once hauled oranges down from Ojai Valley to the coast. The Trail is a haven for walkers, cyclists and joggers. A post-and-rail wood fence separates the paved path from a dirt bridle path for horseback riders, with sections that wind through wooded areas and past the Ventura River. The Trail begins in town at Fox Street, one block east of the Arcade, and runs approximately 16.5 miles to Surfer’s Point in Ventura. But don’t worry – you don’t need to go the whole distance to enjoy wonderful views and interesting sights.

On the way back, browse at Bart’s Books, an inviting and shaded shop at the corner of Matilijia and Canada Streets. Just two short blocks from Bart’s, venture to Janis’ Art Garden Gallery and Ojai Art Workshop. The gallery is situated in a picturesque garden setting filled with sculptures, fountains and all kinds of creations from local artists. Refuel at Rainbow Bridge Natural Foods or picnic under the majestic oaks at Libbey Park. At the end of the day, sip some wine and relax at the Casa Barranca Tasting Room, featuring handcrafted wines from organic grapes, a first for the region.



Bike it!
Cycling Ojai is one of the best ways to take in all that scenic Ojai Valley has to offer. Whether it’s simply riding the Ojai Valley Trail, or opting for a more adventurous ride on and off-road, there are so many ways to explore on wheels all year round. Peddle under your own power, or rent an electric bike, and take off through town, into the mountains, or down orchard-lined side streets. In addition to bike rentals, Project Ride also offers several guided tours to choose from including the Descent of Sulphur Mountain, Spirit of Ojai, Ventura River Preserve and even a Beach Tour. Bicycle rentals are also available from Bicycles of Ojai, which carries both mountain and street bikes for comfort and long distances.

Nearby Lake Casitas makes for a wonderful bicycle course. It’s just a few miles from downtown Ojai along Highway 150, and once you get there, you can follow the trail along the northern shoreline for stunning lake views and a glimpse of some wildlife. Climb to the Casitas Fire Station for views of the entire lake as well as incredible photo opportunities.  For a more challenging terrain, ride up steep Dennison Grade into upper Ojai Valley. Make a stop at the Beatrice Wood Center for the Arts (open on the weekends) and learn about the amazing work of famed artist Beatrice Wood. Take a leisurely stroll around the Besant Hill School campus for spectacular panoramic views of the nearby hills and mountains. Afterwards, stay the course and stop for a bite at the Summit Café. Serious-minded riders might even consider taking the road into Santa Paula.

Ride it!

Hop aboard the Ojai Trolley to see the sights of Ojai for just 50 cents (25 cents for seniors 65+ and children 5 and under). With a fixed route through Ojai, Meiners Oaks and Mira Monte, the Trolley runs seven days a week, with stops at the downtown Arcade, City Hall, area schools, art studios, and restaurants. Take in some incredible views as the Trolley passes by one of the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy areas, off of Rice Road. When the Trolley arrives in Mira Monte, you might want to hop off for a coffee break at Full of Beans Coffee House & Bakery. The eclectic coffee spot, painted a bright orange color and hard to miss, has a large outdoor garden patio area, perfect to relax and unwind. Weekday Trolley service begins at 6:40 a.m. and runs until 6:10 p.m. Weekend service starts at 8:40 a.m. and runs until 5:10 p.m.

 

Explore by Horseback!

Seeing Ojai on horseback is an adventure in itself! It can be as simple as taking a leisurely jaunt along the Ojai Valley Trail near town or a more exhilarating journey along Sisar Canyon or Pratt Trail. Tours are offered along the Ventura River Preserve, which crosses two rivers and filled with an abundance of nature. Accessed through Rice and Wells Canyon, the Ventura River Preserve is a spot where beautiful wildflowers flourish and cows and deer roam. Stunning views of the Ojai Valley can be found along Shelf Road, which also serves as a popular and easy trail on horseback. You can even ride down to the beach along Bridle Path departing from Soule Park. There are several horseback riding companies to choose from in the Ojai Valley. Both Ojai on Horseback Company and Western Trail Rides offer a wide range of guided tours and options to fit the skill level and needs of the individual. Ojai Valley Trail Riding Company provides scenic tours, pony rides for small children and special event packages.

Spend the Night!
Several charming inns and properties – each with different personalities and amenities – are located in downtown, making it very easy to leave the car parked while you explore all that Ojai has to offer.
For more information visit www.ojaivisitors.com or call (888) OJAI NOW.
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