Sulphur Mountain Road in Ojai is one of the most popular trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.
It’s almost entirely car-free (aside from the few people that live up on the ridge) and the mellow grade, incredible views, and remote feel make it a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of SoCal life.
During my housesit in Ojai, I rode the 29-mile Sulphur Mountain Loop on my gravel bike and really enjoyed it.
If you’re in Ojai and looking for a moderate gravel-grinding adventure, check it out!
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Where to Start
Sulphur Mountain Road is gated, but you can start the loop anywhere between the start of Sulphur Mountain Road and where it intersects with Ojai Santa Paula Road.
I recommend starting in the town of Ojai, though, so you can grab something to eat or a coffee post-ride.
Parking in Ojai is typically 2 hours or paid, but if you park a few blocks off the main street, you should be fine for a few hours.
What type of bike Should you bring?
Despite the name “Sulphur Mountain Trail”, this ride is on gravel roads and pavement. When I rode it, several sections had been pretty torn up by cow and horse traffic, but overall it’s a gravel/road ride.
I took my Otso Warakin gravel bike with wide 2.1 tires and it was great. You could get away with slightly skinnier tires, but don’t go too skinny, especially if there’s been a lot of rain.
I don’t recommend a road bike.
How much time do you need?
I rode the full 29-mile loop in about 2.5 hours, but I took my time and stopped for lots of photos.
I recommend giving yourself at least 2-3 hours for the full loop.
Which way to ride it?
I climbed up Sulphur Mountain Road, but you could certainly do the loop in the opposite direction and descend down it.
However, on a gravel bike, I think it’s more fun to climb the gravel section and descend the pavement. If you’re on a mountain bike, you may want to do it in the other direction and descend the gravel.
What to expect
If you’ve never been to Ojai, let me just say that it’s beautiful! Once you get out of town, the rugged mountains and canyons make you feel like you’re a tiny speck in a vast wilderness.
I was very pleasantly surprised at how remote the Sulphur Mountain Trail felt, especially after leaving the first few miles of the gravel road behind.
Here are a few things to expect on your ride:
How to ride the Sulphur Mountain Trail
Sulphur Mountain Rd Loop
Sulphur Mountain Road can be made into a loop by connecting the Ojai Valley Trail from town to Sulphur Mountain Road and then returning to Ojai via Ojai Santa Paula Road.
Even though the route looks pretty straightforward, I do recommend having a map or GPS on your phone or bike computer because several turns are easy to miss.
Ride it for:
- Beautiful views, remote feel
Need to know:
- Several sections are quite rough and damaged by cow and horse traffic
Route directions: Ojai (many parking options) > Ojai Valley Trail > North Ventura Avenue / Route 33 for a very short bit > Sulphur Mountain Road > Ojai Santa Barbara Road
Make longer: For a longer ride, you can do a 54-mile route that starts in Santa Paula and goes through Ventura.
What to bring
Riding the Sulphur Mountain Trail as a loop is pretty straightforward, so you don’t need to bring or pack anything special.
Here are a few tips for what to bring if you’re new to gravel riding:
I really enjoyed my day out exploring the Sulphur Mountain Trail loop in Ojai. If you’re in the area and looking for a great gravel grinder, definitely put it on your list!
Want to dive deeper into where I’ve traveled and what I’ve done over the years? Check out my past years in review:
What are your favorite gravel rides in SoCal? Have you ridden the Sulphur Mountain Rd loop? Leave a comment below!