Firefighters rescue injured hiker from trail near Shell Beach

March 15, 2021

Cal Fire personnel rescued an injured hiker, who possibly suffered a broken leg, from the Ontario Ridge Trail near Shell Beach on Sunday.

Shortly before noon, a person reported an injured hiker on the Ontario Ridge Trail. Rescue crews arrived at the scene and found the hiker had suffered a hand injury, in addition to the apparent leg injury.

Crews secured the hiker and wheeled the injured person down a slope along Shell Beach Road near Avila Beach Drive, photos show. An ambulance transported the hiker to a local hospital.

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Is this the trail that the landowner wants to close.

I believe he wants it rerouted to avoid these very steep sections for this very reason. He tried to get it closed a few years back, but was denied by the powers that be. I think the trail should stay open but with those steeper parts eliminated—of course, the problem with that is it may impact those houses just below it and those people don’t want that.

Hope the hiker is ok and maybe learned a good lesson.

Unless you are quite nimble and fit, I would advise against hiking the Ontario Ridge trail. I’ve done it many times, but there are a couple of areas where the trail gets very vertical and is difficult to maneuver when going down. If you really want to get to the top of the ridge overlooking Avila, the best way to do it is to park at the Bob Jones trailhead parking lot, walk about .75 miles of the BJ trail, turn into the Sycamore Springs bungalows, go over the bridge, through the parking lot and up the Sycamore Crest trail. Total hike is probably about 4 miles and you never encounter the dangerously steep points that are found on the south side of the Ontario Ridge trail. It’s best to park at the BJ lot because Sycamore Springs is running a business and they really don’t want hikers clogging their lot. And, by the way, that photo does not do justice to quite how vertical that section of the trail is.