Explore the most popular nature trips 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.

hiking
8 hours ago

Trail is SPILLING over with wildflowers! Also even though the Thomas Fire came through this area there is so much new growth in the understory - it’s beautiful! Nice bench to eat a snack at at 2 miles, and another one at 3. You will not be disappointed, don’t skip this one!

Did this as a 3 day back pack trip on 5/21- 5/23 2018 with my friend Linda. Both of us early 60’s. Started at Nira, hiked to White Ledge camp (12 miles), hiked via hurricane deck to Manzana Schoolhouse camp (20+ miles), then back to Nira (10 miles). Hikes to and from White Ledge and Manzana schoolhouse were pleasant, easy, beautiful with plenty of wildflowers and water along the way. Hurricane deck is a different animal. The San Rafael wilderness map tells you it’s about a 15 mile hike, the sign at White Ledge says 23 miles, the one at Manzana Schoolhouse says 22 miles. Whatever the distance, it is a long hike, but spectacular. With the various times you spend backtracking to find the trail you might as well call it a 20+ mile day. There are patches of well maintained trail (thank you so much for those doing the work) and areas where it is easy to get lost due to overgrown areas combined with lack of cairns or marker flags. It does become obvious when you are off trail and I advise you to backtrack right away to find it. Getting off trail can quickly become scary with the very rough terrain and dramatic drop offs. Once we did not backtrack - as it seemed more work then trying to reconnect with it going onward - it was our biggest mistake of the day, that fortunately only cost us time and a bit of a scare. The hike is epic and spectacular, with drop offs on both sides of the long long ridge, with views into eternity. It was a brilliant sunny day, but a nice breeze kept the hike comfortable. Start early so you don’t run out of daylight. Make sure you are in good shape since besides Lost Valley Trail (8 miles) and Potrero trail (3 miles) there is no way off the mountain unless you carry a hang glider or love rides on rescue helicopter. Look for condors and the Sisquoc Sasquatch - no proof of existence of either one this trip, but a trip to remember for sure!
Leesbeth

you went up today May 24th 2018 I was unaware that the trail was closed we did see a security guard on the way up and down he did not say anything. The trail is intact although if you aren't very familiar easy to go off of Trail. there was hardly any traffic on the trail probably due to the fact that it's States it's closed. There are many wildflowers that are blooming still a great hike.

off road driving
4 days ago

Went up after heavy rain and was surprised it was open. Awesome views, blue difficulty, most stock 4x4s can get through when it's dry.

off road driving
9 days ago

first time I did this trail I had a blast. second time I did this was a 10pm night run. it's long, it will take you a solid 2-3 hours depending how your rig is and how confident you are. 95% of it is easy, but the 5% will put any Toyota to its test if you choose the hard lines. I took it all with ease in my jeep wrangler. any stock jeep can do this trail easily, no lockers needed. towards the end of trail into camp ground, it looks intimidating for a first time experience, but all the rocks are solid in place and make for easy crawling through. none lifted Toyotas will have a bit of challenge but hey, get out and lay down a rock to make some stepping stones.. but try to kick them out after so the jeep guys can still enjoy the technical fun stuff :)

healthy hike, beautiful views overlooking Pine Mountain Club and the valley. beautiful view of mountains.

hiking
13 days ago

Great hike. The trail gets a little hard to follow at times.

I went last Sunday and the gate leading to the trail was closed and it was 9 miles from the gate to where the hike started. Does anyone know if it is open yet?

Just hiked here yesterday. It’s starting to get HOT but it was still an awe inspiring experience to turn the corner and be at the base of these majestic rock formations! Definitely will be back, hope to backpack into Sespe.

off road driving
24 days ago

We have a 2000 Jeep Wrangler with a 3” lift and 33” tires. No lockers. We entered from Lockwood valley and popped out at the top of hungry valley. The trail was challenging at the beginning and at the end with large rocks and steep terrain. The last 2 miles are very challenging and slow going. Tight trails with some scratches from bushes. After this trail we added lockers and will be heading back out again. Plan on a full day of wheeling and don’t do it alone.

on Potrero John Trail

hiking
28 days ago

Beautiful hike that was a moderate challenge. We ended up scrambling up the river to the waterfall which was slightly more challenging but beautiful. Met some friendly hikers along the way but most of the time was quiet and serene.

Nice trail, but overrun with poison oak almost the entire way. Shaded, which is nice in the heat, but unfortunately there is almost no view of any mountains, landscape, etc because the entire hike follows a creek down between two large mountains. Only saw two other people the whole way so it was quite peaceful. The only animals I saw were birds. The lower part of the trail, near the Davy Brown Campground, is very lush and green. A bit late for wildflowers seemed like (late April) but still lots of tall green grass. The drive up Fig Mountain to the actual trail head is stunning, a windy, one lane road, with lush green meadows and oak trees the entire way. (PS) Don't park your car in the loose gravel at the trail head, stay as close to the metal fence as you can. It can and will get stuck.

Hike is definitely advanced as far as fitness is concerned. Lots of loose footing on the way down, steep, and uphill the whole way back. (I'm not kidding. I trail run several miles everyday and I found this difficult) I used Strava to track myself: 2,244 feet of climbing, took me just under 3 hours to make it down to the Campground and back up to my car.

If you start from the Figueroa Mountain Road trail head (which the app gives great directions to) the trail goes through a grassy meadow and then down into a ravine. When you reach a river crossing, the trail forks into three. Be sure to stay AWAY from the left trail, this is Willow Pond trail, which I took by accident on the way down and it is nearly impassable. I am covered in ticks. Keep to the center trail at the fork to stay on the Davy Brown Trail. Not sure where the right trail goes. Once you take the center trail, you will almost immediately come to another crossing, this time again, KEEP RIGHT. Don't go up the left trail, this is Willow Pond. Keep right and follow Davy Brown Trail downhill. (SEE PHOTO WITH GREEN ARROW) On the way back up, remember these crossings. Take pictures if it helps. Can get confusing. Stay away from Willow Pond Trail it is overgrown and infested with ticks.

Easy hike and family friendly. Like the cave!

1 month ago

Good moderate hike. Some sun exposure so depending on your comfort pick an early time!

Beautiful views but it’s not a hike

l would recommend to go all the way to reyes peak for the amazing view.Take enough water and go very early in the morning it may take you almost a whole day round trip. It gets hard at times because of the uphill, but it is very walkable don't get discouraged. battery on my phone died very quickly up there.But it was worth it.

Beautiful especially when you get into the big trees with interspersed boulders. Hike is about 10 miles round trip when you go all the way to Pine Mountain Ridge road.

4-21-18, Another CaCoHP for San Luis Obispo County, at 5,106 feet. Great spring day with flowers, but nowhere near as many in a super Bloom that can happen in the Carrizo Plain. After driving the narrow dirt road up from near Selby campground, I parked at the trailhead. I biked in about 5 miles and stashed the bike and hiked the rest of the way. Great views along the ridge of Carrizo, Soda lake, the San Andreas fault, all lead to a very interesting trip. Summitting was easy, and return trip was just as enjoyable. I was the only one on the trail, granting for reflection of solitude.

hiking
1 month ago

I started from Stevens park and the trail takes you all the way to the shooting range..it was a loooooong and grueling walk I wouldn’t recommend this trail for somebody that is going by themselves (like what I did) the first hour was fine then you start having to go uphill for the next hour or so and in some parts the trail cuts off into actually wooded areas where it feels like you are going off the trail but it is the actual trail...it feels like the trail just goes on and on then you get to a point where the trail is blocked by a bunch of bushes where you have to crawl through the bush to get past it...and from that point it took me about an hour to reach the shooting range...overall it took me about 4 hours to get through it but that’s because the trail side tracked me where I had to retrace my steps...but if everything would of went smoothly the hike would take about 3 1/2 hours to complete...my phone died when I was trying to record my journey through this trail but it captured most of it...I definitely recommend this to a group that’s avid hikers this is definitely an expert trail and DO NOT GO ALONE!!!!!

This trail has amazing views of the “9 sisters” or volcanic plugs of San Luis Obispo County and other coastal areas. On a clear day you can see the Five Cities area down south. The parking lot is at the top of the Cuesta Grade and can be easy to miss. When coming from Atascadero, it is on the right just after you reach the top of “the grade” (turn into the brake check area). We always park at the bottom and hike from there, but many people drive further up the road, which results in some light traffic. There is a system of other trails connected to the main trail/road that I have not tried yet, but that look intriguing.

We saw snow in the morning. How luck we are!

hiking
1 month ago

It was my first time hiking in the Santa Barbara area and I really liked this hike. I think it could have been a 5 star hike if I had hiked it on a clear day.

Parking- we easily found parking along the side of the road on the right side near the trailhead...which is on the left side of the road

Trail- the sign at the start states that the trail is 4.2 miles with 641 ft of elevation gain...not sure what that is based on, but if you are like me and wish to take this trail to Inspiration Point and back it was 7.1 miles for me with an elevation gain of 1,600 ft...so quite a bit of difference there; the trail is easy to follow and the first 1.5 goes north and sticks close to the creek and the water was running with some recent rain; the trail then leaves the trees and heads in a NE direction through a more open sort of grassland area and you will cross a road and some private property nearby and then the incline kicks in for the final mile or so with some switchbacks up to Inspiration Point...which I didn't see any signs but I had my app to verify we had made it there and there were some other hikers there already but sadly there was no view to enjoy since it was an extremely overcast and foggy morning (4/2/18) and visibility was maybe 200 yards so there was no view of the ocean or island sadly; the hike was green, with the sound of running water for most of the time, and great views of the mountains to the northeast...I just wished we could have seen the ocean...FYI dogs are allowed on this trail off leash which doesn't bother me but might bother some

*the second half of the hike we really worked up a sweat not only because it was steeper but it was very humid and there was a light mist/drizzle

Of course bring plenty of water and hiking shoes or shoes with good traction, trekking poles are not needed for this hike. Plan on this hike taking about 3-4 hours. I would rate this as moderately difficult.

Epic bucket list hike.... went out with a bang! Always wanted to do an overnight hiking trip before my big 5-0 .... trail was no easy task (for me) but with the help of my daughter it was a success..... Not so much for one of our team mates who fell about 30ft down a revine and had to be airlifted out after my daughter was able to rescue her enough to get her back on the trail. Hats off #calfire #chp and the medical team.
I will definitely be back.

Came back to see the Punch Bowls. We were unaware of a sign saying it was closed, but we were allowed in. Lots of groups and families were out on the trail. It was sad to see all the damages the Thomas Fire left on and in the surrounding areas of the Punch Bowls. Despite that the Punch Bowls was still there alive and beautiful as before. A lot of scrambling on the hike due to the fire. If you’re familiar with the trail then it shouldn’t be difficult to get to the falls. The green arrows on the rocks should lead you there. Otherwise, you can follow the creek.

hiking
1 month ago

I went on a very misty/foggy day so the views at the top of Inspiration point weren't that great, but the journey there and back made up for it! Lots of ravines, boulders, wooded streams, and then the winding turns making your way up the mountain made for a great walk. The last mile or two have very little shade so bring sun protection and plenty of water.

This is a great trail if you're looking for quick elevation gain across ~1.5 miles with beautiful views and little-to-no people. This dirt road segment of the trail is a wide path that only some trucks and ATVs can climb, making it perfect to hike up with large groups. HOWEVER, like others have said, the De Angulo Trail segment was very overgrown with Poison Oak, so I would recommend to be aware and avoid that area until it has been cleared out. We ended up hiking up just the dirt road segment and turning around just a little past the trailhead marker up the hill.

hiking
1 month ago

This is a great hike if you're looking for a moderately difficult hike, nothing fancy. Parts of it are challenging enough to make you sweat, it's easy to follow, and there's a rewarding view at the top. We hiked it midday on a Friday and the trail wasn't too busy. It's very well marked. The creeks were flowing and the foliage was lush, but this is early April so I expect it will be dry as a bone later in the summer. Speaking of foliage, there's a ton of poison oak so keep an eye out if you have little ones. My 4 little guys (ages 4-9) hiked it no problem, tho we had to constantly remind them to avoid the poison oak. Parking was really easy too, just along the road opposite the filtration plant. I'd recommend starting early and packing plenty of water.

Great views. Too many people and unleashed dogs for my liking though.

on Franklin Trail

1 month ago

Love this trail

hiking
1 month ago

I did the eastern portion of Hurricane Deck where Potrero Trail meets the ridge line. It was a blast and saw some incredible views while riding the ridge down to the Manzana Trail. Encountered some diverse little ecosystems along the way. Bring water as there’s little shade

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