Distance: 11 miles round trip on trail and dirt road
Summit Elevation: 4485'
Elevation Gain: 2700'
Elevation Gain (in Empire State Buildings): 2.16
Round trip time: 4 hours
Recommended water: 64 oz.
Parking/Fees: Adventure Pass
Nordhoff Peak is north of Ojai in the Los Padres National Forest. It ranks #18 on the Sierra Club Lower Peaks List. I hiked Nordhoff from the north on the Howard Creek Trail. To get to the trailhead, take highway 33 north from Ojai and go about 15 miles, then take a right on Rose Valley Road. In about 0.2 miles, you reach the trailhead at the first dirt road on the right. Park there and head up the road about 100 yards to find the signed single track trail on the left.
The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. Since it is on the north side of Nordhoff ridge, much of the trail is shaded. The shade and a slight, but steady breeze, kept things on the chilly side. In about 2.5 miles, you reach the junction with Nordhoff Ridge Road. Nordhoff Peak and the tower are in view from here and it's just a matter of following the road to the top. You can chop some distance off by using firebreaks to shortcut the road in a few places. There were great views along the way of Chief Peak, Pine Mountain, and the Ojai Valley. The views were even better from the Nordhoff tower. The tower is only one story and not a fancy live-in affair like Slide Mountain, but it wasn't locked. I clambered up for the 360 view and attempted to create a photosphere. However, it rendered with a jagged polygon missing ruining the whole thing. At least I got some decent photos. I made it to the top a little faster than expected and I kept looking over at Chief along the ridge. I guessed it was maybe 2 miles from the junction with trail, but when I got there, the GPS said 2.95 miles. I didn't have enough slack in my schedule to tack on another 6 miles so Chief would have to wait. This was my third hike in Los Padres but it still felt like an away game.
Other Trip Reports:
Nordhoff Peak the Easy Way