Less than a two-hour drive from Los Angeles, the Jacinto Reyes Scenic Byway links California's Gold Coast with the arid interior lands of the Cuyama and San Joaquin Valleys. Even with the proximity to the Los Angeles metropolis, you will notice a feeling of solitude as you wind through the mostly undeveloped open space of the valley.
Magnificent views of the geology and natural plant life unfold around you along the drive. Dry Lakes Ridge Botanical Area and the Piedra Blanca Rock Formations are two notable and fascinating places to visit on this byway. Make the trip an educational one by stopping at the interpretive signs along the way that discuss natural resources, history of the "urban forests," the role of National Forest watersheds, the history and culture of the Chumash Indians, and the story of early settlers.
But there's more to this journey than the views. Rose Valley Recreation Area North of Ojai is the perfect place to act like a kid again. The nearby trails are the ultimate playground for hikers, mountain bikers, or horseback riders. Spend the night in the Rose Valley Campground roasting marshmallows, telling ghost stories, and sleeping under the stars.