Great hike to Divide Peak
Went for a great hike to Divide Peak. It's not described on this site, but you can find the way with a map that includes the Matillija wilderness area. You start at the end of Matillija Rd. just outside Ojai on Highway 33. Hike up the road, turn left at the trail to Murrietta camp and continue past the camp until you are on the road again. Continue upward up the road. At the top of the saddle, climb up to your left and find a faint trail. This is the Monte Arrido trail. It's more like a firebreak. Continue to the top where there is another dirt road. There are interesting rocky basins and outcroppings all around that are worthy of exploration and make a great desination of their own. If you want to climb a peak, turn right on the road and as a pointy peak with horrible motorcycle errosion on the side appears, that's the peak we call Divide Peak. You can climb it easier if you continue on the road and climb up from the other side.
We did this hike on Jan 14. I fully expected the Monte Arrido trail to have snow and be slippery. But it was completely snow-free. The Reyes Peak area and the Topa-topas had a dusting of snow. Much of it was melted by the middle of the afternoon. Many of us brought long-underwear and ski hats but had to peel off all our layers as it was much warmer than expected. It felt like Hawaii.
The view at the top was great. We could see 8 of the Channel Islands. We could see faintly the snowy San Gabriels and Mt. Baldy. Just gorgeous.
Great beer at the Deer Lodge afterward, too!