La Jolla Canyon in Pt. Mugu State Park has some of the best ocean views in Southern CA. The backcountry normally has lush meadows, but the area was recently devasted by the Springs fire. There is a great loop with 12 miles and 2,000' gain.
1 I had been wanting to do a run at La Jolla Canyon at Pt. Mugu Park for a while. I had run races there multiple times but never had a chance to do a run for fun. Unfortnately, by the tme I had the chance to get out there, it was just a week after the huge Springs fire had completely wiped out the area and the state park was closed. So I had to wait a few weeks for the trails to re-open.
2 Three weeks later, roughly one month after the fire, the trails had been re-opened and I headed back to check them out. Here we see the end of the Ray Miller trail where the Xterra trail race ends. I would be following the race route today.
3 Heading up the narrow, rocky canyon.
4 The overhead chapparal is mostly gone or skeletal now, but the colors are oddly beautiful. Tons of oranges, yellows, dark browns and blacks that you usually don't see around here.
5 The end of the burned out La Jolla Canyon with one surviving Yucca plant already blooming.
6 The Pt. Mugu backcountry. Totally barren. It feels like a foreign planet. Some of the trees have partially survived in the creek beds, but that's about it.
7 Freshly groomed trail winding through the charcoal. Sad but fascinating.
8 Looking back down La Jolla Canyon towards the coastline.
9 Panoramic view of the coast from the Mugu Peak trail.
10 The Mugu Peak trail has some of the most amazing views in the area. 1,000' above the water, less than a half mile from the surf. Unfortuantely, it was a partially overcast day. On a clear day, this is probably the best ocean view in Southern CA.
11 Hills of blackened cacti.
12 Top of the Chumash Trail. 880' drop in 0.7 miles.
13 I took a quick detour off the Xterra course up to the top of Mugu Peak.
14 Flag and sign-in box on Mugu Peak at 1,266'.
15 A cool video of the marine layer blowing over the peak.
16 Down into the backcountry and what is left of the giant meadows. This area is normally waist to head high grasses. Now there's nothing.
17 All that's left of the meadows. But less than one month after the fire, green sprouts are already showing!
18 It looks like someone just trucked in millions of pounds of mulch.
19 Oddly picturesque.
20 Amazing colors.
21 Looking back down the valley.
22 Boney Mountain amidst the devastation. Google for "Pt. Mugu" or "Boney Mountain" to see what this area normally looks like.
23 Half of a hillside that the fire somehow missed.
24 Top of the Ray Miller trail ready to head back down.
25 More gorgeous ocean views.
26 Unfortunately, the picture doesn't quite capture the shades of blue and green in the water. On a clear day, before the fire, this area looked very Hawaii-esque.
27 Silimiar to the Mugu Peak trail, it feels like you're practically hanging over the water in places.
28 Panorama view of the coastline from the Ray Millier trail. Almost back to the trailhead and completion of a sad, but fascinating, day on the trails.