Explore the most popular forest trails in Los Padres National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

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.

5 days ago

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


Great hike. Started around 7am with my group but it was just so hot already, we only made it to Arlington peak. You are pretty much exposed to the sun the whole time, definitely plan to do the hike on a cooler day.

on Mount Pinos Trail

14 days ago

Fantastic views for such an easy hike. What I really like is that you can add much more to the hike when you start below the Nordic base. A bit more challenging and beautiful shaded meadows with lots of flowers.

Worth the winding ascent to be flanked by the Pacific Ocean to the West and Lake Cachuma to the east. Saw many native lizard species and some insect species also. The switchbacks have some loose sand as it is currently quite dry in the area, but otherwise a very straightforward hike and I would say more "Moderate" than Hard. We were completely alone with only Mother Nature for company. Lovely! Highly recommend (but bring bug spray)

15 days ago

9-1-18: Nice walk anyone can do. There was an 89 year old gentleman by himself with COPD breathing hard that was taking lots of breaks and moving slowly so anyone that can walk up can do it. I think it's 2 miles from parking lot to the top. Great weather, temperature 73 deg at noon (not cold or hot), no wind... Perfect. It is over 8,000 feet so oxygen in the air is less... You'll be breathing a little harder.

16 days ago

If you want to be a human weed wacker, then this is the trail for you! I did not have the best attitude after climbing several thousand feet to battle extra thick brush and flies. I would suggest doing this hike late in the year. It does have expansive views and gives you some bragging rights. However, there are much more enjoyable hikes in Big Sur, in my opinion, with better views.

Super great trail a bit confusing at times really fun

Great place to go hike and spend time with friends and family. Highly recommended to those who love to hike and admire nature. Also great cliffs to jump off if you are into that!

Great Trail. A bit confusing at times. Looking for green or blue arrows to remind you your goin correct way. Apparently there are multiple ways to get to first punch bowl. Tiring but so worth the hike when you take that jump in pool. Planning to go back but explore the other bowls.

Super easy, beautiful hike❤️⛰

Trail can be a bit confusing at times but as long as you follow the arrows you will get there. And it’s true, you have to park on the highway and walk up a steep paved hill through the college and some dirt road next to some job sites just to get to the trail head but it is worth it! Wear sunscreen, comfortable shoes, and a bathing suit if you want to jump in! It can also be a cool hangout spot if you want to bring lunch, drinks and some music to reward yourself at the top.

wonderful views

Avoid going midday or during a hot day since the trail is very exposed, you will find very little shade.

Dominant vegetation on trail:
-CA Junipers
-Scrub Oak
-Golden bush
-CA buckwheat
-Dried out grasses and members of the Boraginaceae

Always a pretty hike no matter what the weather or season

expectacular hike. great sources of water for backpacking. beautiful views. trail is very clean with poison oak. a little narrow close to strella campsite but not too bad.

The road to Red Rocks trail head is open, check: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/lpnf/recarea/?recid=81860. Hiked the trail on Saturday; 8/18/2018 with two others. It was a pretty hot day with temps in upper 80s low 90s, with low winds and no cloud coverage with some tree shade coverage. Started at 8:30 am, we brought lots of water, about 6L-7L each and used it all. We hiked to the dam and continued to the mercury mine, time totaled about 7 hours, with lots of stops in shade, and food breaks.

The trail follows and criss-crosses the mostly dry bed, flat for the most part, with a hill leading up to the dam. most of the grass is golden and If you continue to the mercury mine, you walk along a fire road, which runs along the side of the reservoir. There are hardly any trail markers so, make sure you have a map or someone who knows where to go. We saw 2 people on the way there, and lots of people enjoying the water spots closer to the beginning of the trail as we came back.

Overall this is a good solid hike, just make sure to take into account heat, and bring plenty of water.

Good hike. The end of the trail was pretty steep and had a rope to help you get down. Not much of a view at the end, and there was no waterfall when I went in August.

great trail, but no clear end to it and trail gets harder to define the farther in you go. Still, a quiet hike that gives you some shade and tranquillity.

easy hike. great for quick trip to nature

Went in June, however much that shapes the experience, and had a difficult time with water. For anyone going, just know the last stream you'll run across is 2 miles before the schoolhouse and the school house is the final camping spot. We made the mistake of traveling on from the school house, thinking there might be water further along and another campsite and were forced to turn back. Cool hike though.

The trail is clean and well maintained. The view was worth the work. Trekking poles are strongly recommended for slick downhill portions.

1 month ago

There’s no marked parking area. You have to park on the highway and walk about 1.5 miles on a paved road before you even get to the trail. There is trash littered everywhere. Almost all the bigger rocks have been tagged-kids suck. The trails are marked with blue/green/red paint which is somewhat helpful if you ignore the colors and just follow the markings. I took my dogs with me and they played in the water a bit but they smelled like a sewer when we got home.

great trail but careful - I almost stepped on a rattlesnake (Southern Pacific Rattlesnake from doing some research) there today!! Was down by the river about 3 miles in. It was just under a fallen tree trunk about a foot off the ground that I was walking on - from the path to the river.

This could be really beautiful, but people ruined it by leaving trash everywhere and graffitiing the rocks. I don’t understand why people would want to trash something so beautiful!
Leave no trace!

This is a gorgeous hike but I was SO disappointed by how much trash was on the trail. Picked up 17 water/Gatorade bottles and three dog poop bags worth of garbage. I don’t understand how people can hike to enjoy nature and then trash it.

Good cliffs to jump off

Great hike and do-able with kids. Watch for snakes!

1 month ago

The Thomas Fire burnt most of the foliage but there are some large oaks still alive and water was flowing lightly in the creek. We saw lizards, frogs, many types of birds and no snakes, ticks or mosquitos so it was all good in my book. We didn’t make it to the pine grove and are unsure if they still stand.

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