Jacinto Reyes National Scenic Byway


Area Status: Open
Matilija Popppies along Hwy 33, Ojai Ranger District

The Jacinto Reyes Scenic Byway traverses the Ojai Ranger District and part of Mt. Pinos Ranger District of the Los Padres NF and is entirely within Ventura County. The byway is bordered by 30 miles of national forest and 7 miles of private land within the forest boundary. About .75 mile of byway is outside the national forest.

The byway travels through some of the most picturesque and diverse terrain in southern California. Spectacular vistas greet you along the entire route, and yet you are also treated to "close encounters" with beautiful cliffs, rock formations, and lush riparian areas. The unique geology, geomorphology, plant, and animal life of the area captures the interest and imagination of the casual recreationist and scientist alike. The corridor provides access to four Congressional designated wildernesses.

  • Highway 33 is a state highway, maintained by the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans).
  • Highway 33 is both a National Forest Scenic Byway, and a State Scenic Highway. This means that it traverses a scenic corridor of outstanding aesthetic, cultural, historic, and interpretive values.

More Byway Information.........

Activities

Viewing Scenery

The Jacinto Reyes Scenic Byway is a 38-mile segment of State Highway 33, extending from the edge of the Ojai Valley to the junction of Lockwood Valley Road in Ventura County. The route is known as the Maricopa Highway, and it is the connector for commerce and tourism between the San Joaquin Valley and southern California. Although today it is a popular scenic drive, the route maintains its feeling of solitude and isolation.

The byway travels through some of the most picturesque and diverse terrain in southern California. Spectacular vistas greet you along the entire route, and yet you are also treated to "close encounters" with beautiful cliffs, rock formations, and lush riparian areas. The unique geology, geomorphology, plant and animal life of the area capture the interest of the casual recreationists and the scientist alike.

Looking to the south from the byway, one can glimpse the Pacific Ocean; to the east lie the Cuyama Badlands. Highlights along the route include (starting from Ojai):

  • Wheeler Gorge - Here, the route passes through three tunnels and a narrow canyon, snaking along the foot of sharp cliffs and a boulder-strewn creek. Water seeping from the cliff faces sustains beautiful maidenhair fern, mosses and orchids.
  • Wheeler GorgeBellyache Springs - Legend has it that the springs here received this name because early travelers were so thirsty by the time they got there that they over drank and got bellyaches. One Forest Service legend is that early rangers met here on horse back to discuss, or belly-ache about Forest Service issues.
  • Peidra Blanca - Dramatic white sandstone outcroppings come into view as the highway drops into the Sespe Creek watershed. Motorists are treated to sweeping vistas of the Sespe Wilderness.
  • Sespe Gorge - At these impressive vertical escarpments, rock climbers can often be found practicing their bouldering and rappelling skills.
  • Pine Mountain Ridge - As you climb in elevation to 5,020 feet, the landscape changes from chaparral to large old-growth Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine in this popular recreation area.

Scenic Driving

The Jacinto Reyes Scenic Byway is a 38-mile segment of State Highway 33, extending from the edge of the Ojai Valley to the junction of Lockwood Valley Road in Ventura County. The route is known as the Maricopa Highway, and it is the connector for commerce and tourism between the San Joaquin Valley and southern California. Although today it is a popular scenic drive, the route maintains its feeling of solitude and isolation.

The byway travels through some of the most picturesque and diverse terrain in southern California. Spectacular vistas greet you along the entire route, and yet you are also treated to "close encounters" with beautiful cliffs, rock formations, and lush riparian areas. The unique geology, geomorphology, plant and animal life of the area capture the interest of the casual recreationists and the scientist alike.

Looking to the south from the byway, one can glimpse the Pacific Ocean; to the east lie the Cuyama Badlands. Highlights along the route include (starting from Ojai):

  • Wheeler Gorge - Here, the route passes through three tunnels and a narrow canyon, snaking along the foot of sharp cliffs and a boulder-strewn creek. Water seeping from the cliff faces sustains beautiful maidenhair fern, mosses and orchids.
  • Piedra BlancaBellyache Springs - Legend has it that the springs here received this name because early travelers were so thirsty by the time they got there that they over drank and got bellyaches. One Forest Service legend is that early rangers met here on horse back to discuss, or belly-ache about Forest Service issues.
  • Peidra Blanca - Dramatic white sandstone outcroppings come into view as the highway drops into the Sespe Creek watershed. Motorists are treated to sweeping vistas of the Sespe Wilderness.
  • Sespe Gorge - At these impressive vertical escarpments, rock climbers can often be found practicing their bouldering and rappelling skills.
  • Pine Mountain Ridge - As you climb in elevation to 5,020 feet, the landscape changes from chaparral to large old-growth Douglas fir and Ponderosa pine in this popular recreation area.

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities