Sespe River Trail to Willett Hot Springs

MODERATE 25 reviews
#1 of 3 trails in

Sespe River Trail to Willett Hot Springs is a 20.1 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ojai, California that features hot springs and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

20.1 miles 2982 feet Out & Back

dogs on leash

backpacking

birding

camping

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

hot springs

river

wild flowers

wildlife

The best time to hike this trail is in the Spring or Fall. In the summer it is too hot and there may not be water in the river for parts of the year as well. Choose your timing wisely based on the time of year and weather and be aware of heat and flash flood potential. You need an Adventure Pass for overnight parking.

backpacking
13 days ago

Fun little hot spring nook. Lots of plant life surrounding Willet Spring. Make sure to hang a left about a half mile after you see the sign reading that Willet is a mile away. Went over Christmas 2016 and had plenty of water options between a couple rivers and ponds. Weather ranged from a day of rain and a day of small snow flurry to 70*F. Happy travels!

backpacking
20 days ago

don't underestimate the temperature drop when staying overnight because gets mighty cold especially in windy areas. be sure to bring enough water and to fill up when you can some spots offer water but bring some to be safe because it's quite a wall between sources depending on season.

backpacking
20 days ago

Nice shakeout hike. Super bowl weekend. Back in time Sunday for the game! Tons of water

2 months ago

Easy to follow trail except in a few places. Bring plenty of water, I found none until willlet. There is a spigot near the sheds in willet but the feed hose coming down from the spring box up the mountain disconnects from the water pressure.

backpacking
2 months ago

Went in at night, some difficult places to follow the trail the further you go. Some puddles from recent rain, but very little in Sespe River. Able to find water flowing from spring both at Willetts and Sespe camps.

backpacking
4 months ago

Pretty cool backpacking trip with some leg burners if you're not in shape. Make sure you go when there is water running, otherwise you're going to have a bad time.

backpacking
4 months ago

I've done this hike twice before and it's been a fun experience when there's been water. This isn't a review so much as a warning to any hikers that would want to do this trail at this time of year: THERE IS NO WATER (except for a small pond at bear creek).

backpacking
7 months ago

This is a beautiful trail that affords many opportunities for wildlife viewing. Beyond the varied animal tracks on trail, we saw several deer and a very healthy black bear. The water is still available in many places but beware the heat. The mid-day temperatures this weekend were staggering. Hike early in the day if you venture out Sespe Creek Trail in the summer. The only downside was viewing the trash left at one of the campsites at Bear Flats. If you pack it in then please pack it out.

hiking
7 months ago

Beautiful, easy trail with lots of great spots to take a dip.

8 months ago

Beautiful hike out to Sespe Hot Springs. I counted about 10 river crossings along the way. Beware while exploring near rock piles - I saw (and heard) the largest rattler I have seen in my life when I got too close to one. This place feels truly wild. Recommended reading for the trip is the book "The Sespe Wild."

8 months ago

I love this trail and hate it at the same time. Definitely a winter trail unless you like having your skin melt away in the summer.

hiking
8 months ago

What an amazing hike this time of year. Hiked out to Oak Flat campground the first night (approx. 8 mi) in about 3 hours and had time to setup camp before sundown. Lots of water in the creeks, and after talking with some locals, this is NOT the norm. Glad we've had some drought relief. Also, this time of year is exceptional. I was trying to count all the different species of wildflowers we encountered, and lost track after 25! Willett Hot Springs was crowded and overrated, but glad I went and sat in for a bit. Too many people yapping about their backpacking exploits to chill and enjoy the springs coming down the cliff outside the tub. The campgrounds are many and laid out along the trail in places where you won't see the other guy even though there was a TON of traffic on this trail. Traffic was definitely a downside.

hiking
9 months ago

For So cal, this is an awesome Hike, I did a Day hike went 7.5 miles in To oaks flat ate, waded relaxed and headed back.took 8 hours and 15 miles..... Lots Of People but everyone of the same mindset at least when you get in a Mile or two, close to the trail head is Kind of well....you know....Would love to go deeper in and will some day.

hiking
10 months ago

hiking
1 year ago

fishing
1 year ago

Bring a lot of water. And explore the side trails, there's so much beauty out here.

hiking
1 year ago

hiking
1 year ago

Great swimming holes in the spring time all along the trail. A nice brisk temp but the clear waters and natural beauty make it hard to resist. I love this are!

hiking
2 years ago

This was a day trip for us, my wife and i did a 8.6 mile round trip on the 4th of July. My wife did not like the heat or the bugs. There were a lot of big flies during the day and mosquito in the evening. They didn't bother me that much. There was very little water in the river so you need to bring your own.

I will definitely be going back and I plan on an overnight here when the weather cools down a bit.

hiking
3 years ago

This one if my favorite backpacking routes. U can really out away from people. There are plenty of places to camp along this trail, and several camp grounds to choose from. Try camping at Lady Bug and going up and over the mountains down into Ojai. It's a challenge but incredible.