Treadmill Rating (out of 10):
Distance: 7.5 Miles out and back
Elevation Gain: 2,500 ft.
I have wanted to get up to Figueroa Mountain for some time now as I heard it was a nice place to beat the crowds any time of year. Looking for some alone time on the trails, I drove up Figueroa Mountain Road from the town of Los Olivos, California. About 14 miles along a thin and winding road I found the trail head off to the left side of the road for the Davy Brown Trail. Parked a few feet away from the sign announcing the trail head, I headed down the 3 mile steep path.
HOW TECHNICAL IS THE HIKE?
The Davy Brown trail was steep in places and some loose dry soil allowed for some slips and slides, but it was not uncomfortable…till I started hiking back up from the dry river bed. I took this hike in July 2010 and the temperature was well over 100 degrees, so while it was pleasant but hot going down, it was pretty exhausting coming back up. There is shade, but that heat, it didn’t help much. Another thing to note was that although I did not see any snakes, I could hear their rattles off to the side as I hiked by several times. At first I thought it might be crickets, but as I continued, it was unmistakable. (My hike the next day, about 30 miles away, confirmed high rattle snake activity in the area with two sightings on the trail…which is not common.)
WHO CAN DO THIS HIKE?
Well, I’m in pretty good shape and I did not complete the hike, but that is because of extremely high temperatures that day…over 100 degrees. I’d say I went about 1.5 miles down the trail and back up, and I was pretty tired. I would imagine that the hike is much better in the more reasonable California winter. There is some steepness to this hike, so I would think that an adult in fairly good physical condition should be able to complete the hike. If you are a beginning hiker or have health conditions, are out of shape, etc., you should check with your doctor first and train a bit to build some endurance level for the return ascending hike. 3 miles up hill is not easy.
WHEN SHOULD I GO?
As mentioned above, I went in July 2010. It was well over 100 degrees and I was unable to continue the whole hike. The heat just made it too uncomfortable to continue. I am planning to return in the fall and spring. It will be so much better at cooler temps, perhaps in the 65 degree range. Also, due to the heat, I did not see any other hikers and perhaps passed 3 cars on the way back down the mountain, so while it was nice to have some privacy…it was a little too remote for me. I actually like to see a couple of hikers on a trail. I would imagine there are more hikers around during the more comfortable spring and fall.
With a few miles of sometimes steep upward hiking trail, you will want to be in decent hiking shape for this trail. Using the treadmill or even better hiking for 2-3 miles at an incline would be good training. Bring plenty of water if you go in the summer and keep hydrated. I would not recommend this hike for anyone in less than good cardio shape. The reason is that, unlike most hikes, you start off at the top of the trail and hike down the first half. You then must turn around and hike back up….