Looking for a great trail in Los Padres National Forest, California? AllTrails has 179 great hiking trails, running trails, mountain biking trails and more, with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers, and nature lovers like you. Ready for some activity? There are 79 moderate trails in Los Padres National Forest ranging from 0.6 to 37.3 miles and from 308 to 8,815 feet above sea level. Start checking them out and you'll be out on the trail in no time!

views

hiking

wild flowers

nature trips

wildlife

bird watching

dogs on leash

forest

running

mountain biking

walking

dog friendly

camping

river

kid friendly

backpacking

ohv / off road driving

waterfall

horseback riding

lake

no dogs

rock climbing

partially paved

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)

hiking
no shade
over grown
2 days ago

For those who want to hike cathedral to la cumbre... I just did inspiration point TH to la cumbre. Very fun getting to cathedral. Dropping down from cathedral the trail started being hard to follow and then plunged into thick brambles. The trail disappeared out from under me and I had to hulk through 1/4 mile of terribly thick bramble bushes. Was extremely relieved to get back to on the trail. Maybe I missed the trail turn. Point is, its a challenge. Just wanted to give people a heads up.

hiking
4 days ago

Easy path at top. Well kept. Double path from base to the top. Minor trash scattered. Please keep the trails clean!

hiking
rocky
5 days ago

Cool short hike! Be careful on your way down as the rocks can be slippery.

hiking
5 days ago

There’s a beautiful view up top. The castle itself is so so. Not worth the drive up to the trail if you ask me.

hiking
5 days ago

Love this area but it is unclear how to get to 7 Falls!!! Didn’t make it but researching a bit and will make another attempt!

hiking
bugs
no shade
rocky
5 days ago

Great hike today! Lots of dogs running around. Not too hard but definitely up hill. Lots of flies.

hiking
no shade
over grown
private property
5 days ago

Great for training very exposed.

hiking
no shade
5 days ago

I thought this trail was great. Very well maintained until mile 5 and then the elevation really gets going, plus it’s much less trafficked. Recommend getting on the trail before 8am bc the lack of shade becomes a concern after 10am. Loved that there were dog bowls every mile or so on the trail in case you hike with a buddy! The one caveat is that the trail is inaccurately marked in AllTrails database. To the lake and back is 20 miles total. I made it to the top of franklin trail and it is both marked as 8miles one way//my recording in app reflected an 8mile journey. Therefore I was a bit underprepared and disappointed I couldn’t do the full hike but intend to return!

hiking
rocky
scramble
5 days ago

hiking
5 days ago

The first part is pretty lame, you’re pretty much in people’s backyards. But once you pass the water tower and start getting into the hill it’s nice. It’s a steady incline the whole way up but never bad enough that I had to stop to catch my breath, but I did it in the early morning so maybe with the sun beating down on me, it would’ve been a different story. I kept going to nordhoff tower which is just another mile of the same incline. I took a rest there for about 20 minutes, had a snack and then headed back down. I forgot to start recording again for a little bit after I started down again but my total mileage was about 12.2. I saw some deer and heard running water about 3/4 of the way up. The was path down off to the right but I didn’t investigate.

hiking
6 days ago

Interesting trail. I didn’t mind most of it, and the view from the top was nice. But there were a couple of really narrow turns that were basically 2 feet wide, and then a sheer drop to your left that were quite uncomfortable to cross. I have a fear of heights so one of these turns (on the way back down) made me so uncomfortable i couldn’t cross it. And since there’s only one path to go on for the entire trail, I ended up going off-trail down the mountain with my hiking poles for an hour and a half just to get down. It was not fun, but felt safer than trying to cross the narrow hairpin turn. Anyways, if you’re not afraid of heights it’s probably a fine trail, but just a heads up for anyone that’s in the same boat as me.

I would definitely rate this hike much harder than moderate. you're pretty much scaling a mountain side...so for those who aren't very comfortable with heights without a wide path (like myself) I wouldn't recommend. the view from 2 miles up to Buckeye Camp was beautiful but that's where we turned around. not a hike for taking children.

hiking
over grown
6 days ago

Overgrown and tons of poison oak. Turned around

hiking
bugs
private property
6 days ago

I really enjoyed this trail. The area is still recovering from fire and slide damage. There is a considerable amount of construction going on leading up to the trailhead, but if you are persistent, willing to add a bit of road hiking and ignore signs advising the road is closed the reward is worthwhile. The trail itself is well traveled judging by the trail wear and trampled dirt so many hikers are ignoring the signs. As I hiked into the trail I noticed about a half dozen brass plates embedded into the boulders along the trail path which stated, “Private property right to pass by permission only.” As I continued on the trail I then came across wooden trail advisory signs like you would see in a state park. So the different signs create a bit of confusion. The trail is uphill and got my heart pumping so I got good cardio. Most of the trail runs next to a trickling creek. There is a lot of shade on this hike. Once at the top I could see a beautiful view of the Montecito Valley all the way to Santa Barbara. The only nuisance on this hike were the bugs that kept buzzing my face. This was an enjoyable hike worth the effort to locate and hike. Have fun!

hiking
6 days ago

The trail to the waterfall is in excellent condition (really appreciate all the work MTF and others have put in recently). However from the waterfall to Camino Cielo, it’s pretty sketchy, loose, unmaintained and unpleasant.

hiking
scramble
7 days ago

Nice trail! It takes the whole day to get to the falls. Make sure you pack enough water and a light lunch. Also dogs can go on the trail but be prepared to carry out the bag of dog poo no trash cans on the trail nor at the entrance. Also make sure your dog likes to climb, there are a lot of rocks just before you arrive at the water fall. We also saw a rattle snake so keep an eye out.

hiking
off trail
rocky
10 days ago

great hike. as previous reviews have said there are no signs but the trail is fairly easy to follow. I recommend downloading the map on all Trails to follow it. that helped me. overall really pretty. the rocks were so fun to climb!

hiking
11 days ago

Haven’t hiked in the North and finally made it to Santa Barbara to do Inspiration Point!! A hike I really enjoyed and plan to visit to explore the rest of the trail connected. Decent elevation gain and overall a great work out. A creek does run through this area but since it was still summer time, it was pretty much dried up. Nice vistas, definitely a nice hike!

hiking
12 days ago

Was my first small peek with my kids we enjoyed it really nice lots of shade

hiking
12 days ago

This was a really pleasant hike! We did about 6 miles. It’s all up hill on the front end, but a nice steady grade with expanding, beautiful views as you go. Partly shade. TIP!!! You have to climb through or hop the fence at the entrance. We spent a while trying to locate the actual entrance because it seemed weird to hop a fence but we asked a local who pointed us in that direction. Agree that getting to the trailhead is a bit dangerous if you are traveling on 101 south because you have to basically make a U-turn on the highway.

Load More