nature trips



dogs on leash

wild flowers


trail running

mountain biking


dog friendly


kid friendly



off road driving


horseback riding

no dogs

rock climbing

Los Padres National Forest is a beautiful place in central and Southern California. Administered by the United States Forest Service, Los Padres includes most of the mountainous land along the California coast from Ventura to Monterey, extending inland. Elevations range from sea level to 8,800 feet. Many threatened and endangered species live in this beautiful place. Probably the most famous among them is the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus), for whom the United States Forest Service established the Sespe Condor Sanctuary. Hot springs, hiking trails, rivers, and desert views about in this recreation area. An Adventure Pass is required within many areas of the park. Wilderness areas in Los Padres include: San Rafael Wilderness (194,380 acres (787 km2)) Ventana Wilderness (240,026 acres (971 km2)) Garcia Wilderness (14,100 acres (57 km2) in the Lucia District) Santa Lucia Wilderness (20,412 acres (83 km2) in the Lucia District, in the Santa Lucia Mountains) Machesna Mountain Wilderness (19,880 acres (80 km2), in the La Panza Range in San Luis Obispo County) Silver Peak Wilderness (31,555 acres (128 km2), in the Monterey District) Dick Smith Wilderness (64,800 acres (262 km2) in the Santa Barbara Ranger District) Chumash Wilderness (38,150 acres (154 km2) in the Mt. Pinos Ranger District, just west of Mount Pinos) Sespe Wilderness (219,700 acres (889 km2), in both the Ojai and Mt. Pinos Ranger Districts) Matilija Wilderness (29,600 acres (120 km2) in the Ojai Ranger District)

Just did this trail Oct 14 and really enjoyed it! I loved the scenery, there's some creek side walking, which to still have some water this time of year is great. The elevation gain in minimal, so taking kids is no problem and plenty for them to explore. At the first camp, the creek is right there with a nice little waterhole. I'm sure in the late Spring/ early Summer the water is really great to dip into, even now it reached the knees, just enough to cool off. There are certain spots where the trail gets washed out, but as long as you keep walking parallel to the creek you're good, it would actually be hard to get lost. Of course the Thomas Fire came through the area, but it's regrowth is amazing to see and you can imagine what it once looked like. Towards the 2+ mile area, there is less shaded area, so plan accordingly.

Love that Jesusita connects you to other trails giving you a choice to seek more or turn right back and seek more maybe another day.

Best views are at the very beginning then it’s not very exciting after that.

well kept up trail..great to bring your best friend..very enjoyable

Nice hike with beautiful views

Great hike! Not sure why this is rated moderate. It's definitely easy. It's flat the whole way. The trail gets a little messy sometimes and you have to go over rocks and cross the river but nothing crazy. This was absolutely lovely.

5 days ago

We'll definitely go again because I have a CA State Park Pass. It is a great and somewhat difficult trail. My advice would be to bring cash because there is a $10 parking fee if you don't have a pass.

This trail was not well kept. Eroding hillsides and so much growth blocking the trail. Two of the three of us were cut up all over our legs and the third gal got hives from one of the plants we had to move just to pass through the trail. We stopped about a mile up the mountainside and turned back.

Completed the hike today with my dog. The first portion of the hike is very easy, almost flat. Once the trail splits, stay to the right. If you go to the left, you'll end up at Haddock Peak.
After the trail split, it leads you up several switchbacks that are relatively steep. The soft ground coupled with fallen pine needles could make it easy to slip. Next time I will bring a hiking stick for extra footing.
Once you get to the peak, you'll see large boulders that you can climb on and get an amazing 360* view. It is absolutely worth the hike. You can see the US Geology markings, and there is a red can with lots of paper in it where people sign and date when they completed the hike, as well as share thoughts, poetry, etc. Make sure you plan this hike with some time to relax on the rocks and soak in the scenic views.
The only other thing I would mention is that there's several paths. If you're a novice, pay attention and make sure you go back the way you came up.

This was my first ever backpacking trip. Although backpacking way out of my league I couldn’t have asked for a more beautiful trail. Taking the Santa Cruz trail just off a service road from Upper Oso Campground you follow a stunning shaded river bed through the canyon. After that the trail gets pretty scary, 90% of the trail you hike right on the edge of the mountain, zig-zagging on soft dirt (one wrong step leads to potential 800 ft fall). The trail was washed out in places, making for an even more adrenaline rushed hike. Incredibly stunning views, just make sure you’re up to the task!

off road driving
11 days ago

No challenge here, but the scenery is great

12 days ago

A good time. The first .5 miles is along a road. You then turn onto the trail and head up the canyon following the creek. The next mile the path is very clear as you meander along the creek to camp one. Beyond camp one the trail is a bit washed out and there are a few sections where you lose the trail a bit. As long as you follow the creek you should be able to head the right direction and find the trail again. There is a STUNNING camp site about three miles in. Chirping birds and crickets, the sound of the flowing creek, a lovely breeze, a big oak tree and a nice flat camp spot. THERE IS A LOT OF POISON OAK ON THIS HIKE. SO MUCH POISON OAK. IT IS EVERYWHERE. But minus the poison oak it is a really good time and super beautiful.

Delightful but more challenging than anticipated with some steeper inclines. But we were rewarded with fantastic views and the length was perfect for us (took 2 hours with a couple of short breaks).

16 days ago

This was no joke, by far the hardest trail I’ve ever done. Very difficult to find as well, but the views are so worth it. Bring lots of water and fuel to replenish your energy. It was only about 80 the day I did it, but it’s like you’re baking between all the rocks.

16 days ago

Easy trail with gorgeous views

Beautiful trail, 2 miles gradual uphill then back down. Chilly this time of year, should have brought a light sweater. Some lovely birds in the meadow near the top.

17 days ago

This was harder then I expected. It’s really uphill and pretty bumpy/rocky. Some beautiful views along the way. It’s 2.8 miles to the top. Would recommend when it’s not too hot out or cloudy day because there’s no shade.

19 days ago

On an overcast weekend morning, starting out at 9:15am, it was not crowded on the trail though parking was pretty full. A beautiful hike even with some clouds. The trail forks about halfway up. Stay to the left.

So, it ended up not being clear the day I was able to check this out. I can tell the views would be beautiful. I drove much of the way and while I salute the general badassery of the bicyclists who climb the steep hills, they tend to barrel down after their harrowing ascent with reckless abandon...haha.

Loved this trail arrows are everywhere make side to make it to the back pool where there is a waterfall and rope to climb

I have done this trail twice! Both times it was pretty hot out so make sure you bring plenty of water with you. You can hike two main ways through santa Paula canyon, or along the water to the punch bowls. I preferred going along the water the second time because there was more shade and I enjoy an occasion splash when I get hot but that’s just me! However stunning views overlooking the canyon if you follow the main trailhead/orange and green markers! There is trash unfortunately so be a handy earth lover and bring a trash bag with you, it made me feel better cleaning up as I went. But the Punchbowl was awesome! Fun area to have a picnic and say hello to fellow travelers!

Be prepared for a tough hike and take plenty of water! The route is VERY steep over the last few kms with little to no shade to shelter from the sun. If you’re after a challenge then this is an ideal trail with great views on the way up - you really feel like you’re walking to the top of the world! Not for beginners.

Easy (quick) escape to nature. Beautiful hike and drive

26 days ago

Great views but it's a shame that the trail is not well maintained, it is overgrown at many places, be prepared to brush against a ton of bushes along the way.

We hiked from the southern trailhead. Trail is good to a short distance beyond Matilija Camp. However, after the canyon turns sharply right, the trail effectively ends - all paths are blocked by large amounts of fallen tress, brush, etc. So total in and out hike is about 3.5 mi.

off road driving
26 days ago

I Ran this trail with some friends, one 2004 Jeep Grand Cherokee, another in a 2018 Wrangler Rubicon 4 door and yours truly in an 08 wrangler sport 2 door. I have a 2.5 inch lift on 35s. aired down to 18psi. and had a blast!
the last part before you get to Dutchmans Camp. is the scariest part. but take your time it's about skill not speed. bring plenty of water, food, snacks. theres no cell phone reception for most of the trail so DONT GO ALONE!

29 days ago

So much poison oak, but other than that it's a really nice little hike.

Trail is open.

Nice trail, bikers and hikers are friendly. I logged 16.4 miles round trip! Excellent views at the top. There are toilets available at the campgrounds you pass through, but no water.

1 month ago

Finally made it up today! Pretty steep trail at certain spots but the views from the top are breathtaking! Highly recommend it.

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