The Ojai Guide
For decades, Ojai, a kind of West Coast Shangri-La, has been a draw for LA locals who wanted a quick wellness fix and an easy escape from the city’s bustle. Here, the air is perfumed with orange blossom, there’s a dreamy golden hour, affectionately referred to by locals as the “pink moment” (best experienced at Meditation Mount, a 32-acre hilltop spiritual center), as well as ample hiking trails, Spanish-style buildings wrapped in bougainvillea, and a few health-conscious cafés—making it perfect for a weekend retreat. Due to a ban on corporate chains, you won’t find a Starbucks for miles, but you’ll find plenty of locally run, mom-and-pop-style spots that are big on charm and have been around for years. Take a drive through the winding back roads, and be sure to stop at one of the many farm stands along the way, which still operate on the honor system.
Ecotopia Natural Hot Springs2566 Matilija Canyon Rd., Ojai | 805.727.4117
Worth the five-mile trip, Matilija Canyon’s Ecotopia natural hot-springs (important: swimsuits optional) occupy a particularly picturesque corner of sacred Ojai Valley land and are said to have healing powers. While you’re here, explore the community-supported sustainable gardens.
Last Chance TrailSanta Paula Canyon, Ojai
Hike Last Chance Trail for sweeping views of Santa Paula canyon and its several waterfalls. At a little over nine-miles long, it’s best suited for experienced hikers. In the summer months, some of the waterfalls empty into swimming holes that are perfect for cooling off on the long trek.
Meditation Mount10340 Reeves Rd., Ojai | 805.646.5508
Lauded by locals as one of the most spiritually sound spots in the valley, Meditation Mount is prime for catching a famous Ojai “pink moment”—or a guided, walking, and full-moon meditation, depending on the day. Time it so you're there around sunset, and bring your camera.
Ojai Meadows Preserve1601 Maricopa Hwy., Ojai | 805.649.6852
For wildlife spotting, Ojai Meadows Preserve is sprawled over 58-acres of lush wetlands and counts bobcats, rabbits, and over 40 bird species as residents. The project is actually a restoration led by a local conservation group, which runs environmental education programs and guided tours year-round. If you come on your own, there's an accessible trail that makes for a low-key, 30-minute hike.
Ojai Olive Oil Company1811 Ladera Rd., Ojai | 805.646.5964
A quick but winding drive outside town, the Ojai Olive Oil Company opens its groves to the public on Wednesdays and Saturdays; a guided walk through the history-rich property is a lesson in the virtues of sustainable farming. Exit through the gift shop for certified-organic olive oils of every variety to take home.
Shelf Road TrailShelf Rd., Ojai
On the gentler side (a 3.5-mile out-and-back), Shelf Road Trail passes through fragrant tangerine orchards and leaves you at a scenic lookout over Ojai Valley. Ask your concierge if someone from the hotel can drop you off at the trailhead near Shelf Road, as the street parking (while plentiful) can land you far from the trailhead on weekend days.
The Ojai Vineyard109 S. Montgomery St., Ojai | 805.798.3947
At the Ojai Vineyard tasting room (a firehouse in its past life), you can work your way through 300-plus wines on offer, though the deliciously elegant Ojai-vineyard grown Syrahs, Pinots, Chardonnays, and Sauvignon Blancs are the main draw—and a testament to owner Adam Tolmach’s purist approach to winemaking.