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This will always be one of my favorites! The trail is easygoing with only a few moderate hills. It’s perfect for a first back packing trip or if you’re testing new gear. Only do this trail when water is flowing (usually during CA winter months). It can get pretty chilly at night so if you go, make sure to bring warm clothes for night. The hot springs are well hidden at the end of the trail, but there is a good spot to sit and enjoy the warm water that can accommodate around 5 people. Definitely a CA hidden gem :)

hiking
20 days ago

Not really a trail, but a paved path. Great scenery and workout. Great for dogs. There are many trails the feel more like a real hike that branch off from Pipeline Road, however dogs are not allowed on those.

Awesome trail! 3 day backpacking trip. ***Easy to Moderate***
Dont be afraid to take the boots off and cross the river. We wasted a lot of time trying to not get our feet wet.
Willett hot spring was a bit difficult to find the trail leading up to it. We asked for advice and found the trail straight to it. Not to be a downer, but he hot spring was a big metal tub on the mountain side. Still pretty awesome tho.

Our journey into the Sespe Wilderness via the Sespe RIver Trail began at the Piedras Blancas trailhead at approximately 9:08 am on November 10. There were eight of us in our party all destined to go to Willet Hot Springs. With the help of some enlightening paper squares, we journeyed into, across, and within the magnificent rivers of our minds and the valley. Clarification: the river of the valley was dry, but the rivers of our minds ran bountifully. The trail profile is no lie, in both directions you ascend and descend a series of crests which we named in order: Robin's Cut Ridge (bring band aids), Lonely Oak Ridge, Rattlesnake Ridge (ps there are danger noodles), Creepy Creek Cliff Face, Helipad Landing, Up-side-down Spirit Rock, Limbo Cave, and finally Trip Stick Hot Springs (named after a spiritually significant agave stem plucked by Macro the wizard). All jeans will be jorts. Mandatory knifing of jeans is hereby instituted. It was hot, so it happened. There is minimal shade on the trail so while I think we could have made it all the way to Sespe Hot Springs if we had more daylight, I do not think we could have tackled the trail with the same fervor if we had gone in the summer. The hot spring is a bit hard to find, in fact we got a bit lost and did a 25-mile round-trip, but if you follow the cairns/elves you will be successful (also maybe ask some people if you see them, the trail is moderately trafficked). The hot spring is actually up, not down as we had thought. All together a truly awakening and rejuvenating experience. This trail was exactly what was needed to reignite the bonds of our friendship and our spirits. 10/10. Will be returning in 10 years. Here is a list of the wildlife we bore witness to: a family of zards, two rattlesnakes, one coyote, a hawk, lots of sheep scat yet no sheep, a graceful deer, a troop of boyscouts (identified by the size 3 Converse footprints), lichen, blue jays, sparrows, quail, a prospective Cal Poly student, and our deepest true selves. *Bonus: There is one camp uphill from the giant rock stack right adjacent to the spring. Bring your packs up there with you and you shall be rewarded as we were with privacy and easy access to a sunrise soak*

amazing trail!

I went with a meet up group first time. Leader was super knowledgeable of the off trails which ultimately let back to the loop. beautiful trees, loads of ferns, just awesomest trail for the day. loved it.

Good for a walk with your furry friend.

3 months ago

Took Pipeline road trail to Ridge Fire trail to get to observatory point. Hiking through the redwoods on the pipeline trail is so beautiful! Ridge trail is so interesting. It goes up the mountain but the path is covered in white beach sand. Beach sand on top of a mountain is unheard of. This is because the top of the mountain used to be under the ocean 10 million years ago!!! Entire hike (round trip) is about 6.5km and it took 2 hours - from the beginning of pipeline to observation deck and back.

hiking
3 months ago

Great place to take the dog. I enjoyed seeing friendly people along the way.

Great hike if you have your dog with you!

hiking
3 months ago

Lots of poison oak, but if you stay on the path, you’re fine. A few spots where you can take dogs down to the river.

Yes can confirm the graham hill trail is not recommended due to poison oak over growth..powder hill is open and in great condition.. i would recommend parking about a mile down the road toward sc from the spot the directions take u to because it is free rather than ten bucks!

Do not attempt the drive to trail head unless you at least have a high clearance vehicle. And if it rains, you had better have four wheel drive. I drove in my Ford Edge and barely made it. Spun my wheels and scraped car under carriage a few times. But the destination was well worth the worrisome journey. Absolutely beautiful. There really are no mosquitoes at this time of year and no bear activity which really adds to the enjoyment. Very high altitudes though. Take it slow especially if you are a sea level dweller like me!

I will be back, but in a truck!!

BTW I have a tried and true formula for mosquito repellent. Mix vapor rub (menthol) with coconut oil. Three weeks in Fiji with hummingbird size mosquitoes and I didn’t get bitten once!

5 stars for the birds, so many kinds!
And 4 stars for part of the trail so close with drive way, I don’t like to breathe cars;)

backpacking
4 months ago

Gorgeous hike, beautiful lakes. Mosquitos are out of control. It was hard to enjoy anything while being swarmed constantly. First night at stayed at first dinkey lake, with an amazing view of the lake and meadows. We hiked up to higher elevation and stayed at rainbow lake the second night, which was significantly better, mosquito - wise. We were all covered in DEET, and used citronella incense, as well as natural repellant, to no avail. I'd love to come back some day when the mosquito population isn't as crazy. Great trail for beginners and kids, otherwise.

Hiked this yesterday with Sierra Club group. There was fog in the morning, which burned off, in the afternoon. There were a few nice vistas, the overlook at the top the most impressive, with 2 benches. Lots of poison oak but I had gaitors. One guy got stung by a wasp, which we were informed are active, this time of year. It was a strenuous hike, with gradual inclines. Bring at least 2 quarts of water, as there is none there. Many steep dropoffs along path make it somewhat dangerous. Moist, cool sea breezes made it comfortable. No good stopping points, other than at the top.

Like others have mentioned the hike borders on moderate and hard. There are parts where it’s straight up. Enjoyed it either way nice hike among the trees. It took about 3 hours. Bring water!

A few friends of mine and myself made this trek in late August. Definitely a beautiful trail but the heat and lack of shade made it pretty rough. Coupled with the large amount of rattlesnakes and low amount of water it would definitely be better in a cooler month.

When we arrived at the trail, the parking attendant told us that the graham hill trail was actually 1.1 miles and overrun with poison oak (ok for people but not so much for dogs).

She recommended going down a mile south towards treetop drive to pipeline trail, which was a in and out trail that totaled 6.6 miles. That was beautiful, on a paved path, featured amazing redwoods, some views, and a river. Also free parking!

hiking
4 months ago

What a rewarding hike. The look out point is breathtaking.

This trail is awesome. I went yesterday and had a great time. A few notes of caution though - it is very hot in the middle of summer. I went during August and the heat paired with the full exposure from the sun made it a pretty grueling task to even be out there. However, once I turned a bend and was able to dip down toward the river, I was amazed at how full the river was and how shaded some campsites were. Additionally the fishing was great. Every cast I would pull back some bluegill (catch and release of course). I also saw steelhead in the water but couldn't get them on the fly. That's probably for the best though because I'm pretty sure they're endangered. All in all, I recommend this trail for anyone who loves wide canyon views and hiking near streams. I'll add the caveat that it's probably only good to go in the cooler months.

I walked the West Ridge trail yesterday. It gets so much traffic from hikers and bicyclers that the plants on either side are covered with a fine, brown dust. Kinda depressing. There are many better trails in the area.

Amazing views. We did the loop passing by 4 lakes. 15km. Easy hike. Cristal bleue sky, no mugs thanks to the wind. The way to get there was actually also an adventure as we are not used to drive a 4x4 (a must for the last part of the dirt road). We took the Tamarack road following the advice bellow.

backpacking
5 months ago

We took Tamarack road in as the road from Dinkey Creek is closed. We were warned about abundant mosquitos but it wasn’t bad at all. There were some at Dinkey 1, but we stayed at Island lake and had no problems with mosquitos at all. We took 4 kids on their first backpacking trip and it was fantastic!

Actually didn’t get to hike it but wanted to post this in case others are headed down soon. Got to the road leading to the trail (Dinkey Road) and it was closed due to construction. Drove 2 hours and was bummed about that. Perhaps call restaurants/businesses in the area to inquire if the road has opened back up.

backpacking
6 months ago

Amazing traill and beautiful but the mosquitoes were relentless. Even spraying up every fifteen minutes they would bite you. It was constant which explains why we had the lake we were at to ourselves which was breathtaking. The road there should be driven by an SUV. I appreciated being in a four wheel drive even though I didn’t use it. Had to drive around the long way from Dinky Creek Campground since road and bridge still out on the short route. We did get a bit lost but it was mostly user error and it was marked ok. The trails are also poorly marked so plan on doing some extra hiking to find your way but it is also why you get solatude and wake up to a lake all to yourself. Fly fishing seemed like it would have been successful since the trout were jumping all over the lake eating the plethora of mosquitos.

6 months ago

Pipeline trail is all paved and kind of an easier end of a moderate rating. We ended up with switching to river trail to eagle creek trail and make a loop and come back out. Those trails are primarily for mountain biking. Don’t forget the bug spray when you reached the higher elevation part of eagle creek trails.

Absolutely beautiful! Lots of rich lush foliage. Stays cool in the summer and plenty of shade for pleasant hiking. The array of birds and babbling creak provides a very peaceful atmosphere. Make sure to keep an eye out for poison oak.

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