Ojai, CA is a great place to escape the typical crowded locations you find on Southern California. And when it comes to mountain biking, the less crowded the better. Plus Ojai has all kinds of outdoor activities you can take part in making it a nice place to go to "get away". If you don't like to drive long distances to get away then you are in luck because it's not that far of a drive... depending on where you are coming from of course. If you live in the Ventura County area then there is no excuse not to check it out.
The views are really nice as you go up the trail and on a clear day you can see the ocean as well as the islands. There are a few spots where you have the potential to see the bottom of the hill if you are not careful so be sure to pay attention on your way up. The trail consists of widespread switchbacks with various types of terrain such as loose rock, solid rock, smooth dirt and loose dirt.
Once you get to the top you will hit a fire road which you can take in a couple different directions. If you make a left you can make a semi-loop ride and end up on the Pratt Trail. But if you do this you will miss out on the fun ride back down Gridley so it's advised that you do the up and back method since there is a good chance you will be tired enough after the climb and will want to have some downhill relaxation.
Gridley Trail Video
Gridley Trail Review
Gridley Trail offers a good climb that is not too steep and will allow you to get a good workout on the way up. The first half mile is super rocky and you most likely will be pushing your bike up most of it. Make sure you plan out your lines for the way down so you know where you are going and don't end up getting in over your head. You should be able to do the 6 mile grinder in less than 2 hours counting taking some breaks on the way up. Just be sure to bring enough water and snacks because you will need them especially if it's a warm day. Be sure to keep your energy up so you don't fall off one of the few cliff drops you will encounter on the way up. There is nothing super difficult about the climb but there are a few sections where it gets a little steep but it's all manageable.
The ride down is where most people will have the most fun depending on how many hikers and bikers you encounter on the way. The trail is not super crowded but depending on things like the day of the week, time of day and the weather you may run into some hikers and other bikers so be sure to be using your bells. The ride down is not terribly difficult or technical but you will encounter some loose dirt and rocks near ledges that can cause some pain if you were to fall down one of them.
As you work your way towards the bottom it will get a little rougher which can be more fun or not so fun depending on how you look at it. The rocky sections are not too difficult and if you keep your speed up you can just blast right over them and it will actually be a smoother ride. A quick pace will get you from the very top to the trailhead at the bottom in 20-30 minutes if you are concerned about your Strava times.
The last half mile will be a lot slower since it's very rocky and if you aren't good at that type of stuff you may want to consider walking it. There is a way around the last section if you don't want to deal with the rocks. If you do then it's a great time making your way down this section since it's a nice challenge. Once you make it to the bottom you will feel like you got a workout and then you can plan for your next Gridley trip.
Gridley Trail Pictures
Directions to the Gridley Trail
View Gridley Trail in a larger map
To get to the Gridley Trail hop on the 101 freeway towards Ventura (from L.A.) or towards Oxnard (from Santa Barbara\Ventura) and take the 33 N exit towards Ojai. Then stay on the 33 and it will continue onto W Ojai Ave (150) and look for Oak Glen Ave and make a left. Oak Glen Ave will then turn into Gridley Rd and you will stay on that until it dead ends and the trailhead is right there.