Diamond in the Rough: Ozena


“Ozena” is said to come from a Chumash term meaning “horse with distemper,” but I’m not sure I buy that. The current incarnation of the equine as we know it in North America arrived with the Spanish, and so the horse was already named when it was introduced to the indigenous Californians. Why invent a new name in Chumash when there was already one handy? (Anyway …)

Omega Mappage

Ozena, as those who frequent the Mt Pinos RD well know, was closed to use in 2009. It’s a ridiculously accessible site, just off the 33 and Lockwood Valley Road … and yet bears far less vandalism and general abuse than Thorn Meadows or other similar grounds of its generation.

Ozena 1964 Front

Ozena 1964 Back

On a recent exploratory of the area, the uber-hund and I picked around both units of the 11-site camp.

West Loop

This is the same restroom shown behind Miller in the photo above.


Though not a “magnificent” camp by any stretch of the imagination, this has always been a cool corner of the Los Padres, and one close to my heart since we camped here and Mr B taught me to fish over at Reyes Creek when I was six years old. (We camped at Ozena several times in my youth, but never at Reyes Creek.)

Portrait of the Artist as a Young Fisherman

The Mt Pinos RD — despite the OHV crowd, Monster energy drink cans tossed everywhere, and general demographic of indifferent Forest-goers — is still my overall favorite, despite the closures and general neglect. It’s the Montana of the southern Los Padres. Big. Empty. Beautiful.

Above Camp


4 responses to “Diamond in the Rough: Ozena”

  1. I had never before heard of that interpretation of the Chumash “Ozena.” What I heard upon moving into the valley some 30+ years ago is that Ozena is Chumash for “runny nose.” We figure that could refer either to the on-again-off-again trickle of Reyes Creek, or to the hay fever suffered by those who came into this valley during the fall to gather pine nuts and hunt deer, while the “rabbit sage” is in full bloom. Anyway, I agree with your skepticism about “horse with distemper,” and as a person obsessed with horses, I prefer not to entertain that interpretation. Thanks for sharing the historical photos 🙂

  2. Craig,
    Is there any sign of the trailhead for the old trail up to Boulder Creek? We’re still dreaming that one day we can reopen that trail and connect the CT to Scheideck.
    Nice article as always.

  3. Oh!! How I remember all of our trips to Ozena. We sure had some wonderful memories of that Camp! Close and wonderfully peaceful. Many happy hours. Thanks for th memories!

  4. Looks like a beautiful place to stay! Too bad it’s closed. It has some nice signage that looks fairly new.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *