Explore the most popular birding trails in Sespe Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

By far my most favorite trail, very strenuous and a lot of water crossings, no shade but going through the water is a great cool down. This place is very untouched by people, I hope it stays this way so I can bring my kids here one day. Also bring a gun for rattle snakes

I randomly came across this trail while looking for places to hike after the Thomas Fire caused most of my favorite trails to close. When I arrived to the trail, it didn’t appear to be affected by the fire, so I went for it and hiked about 7miles round trip. I turned back around because it was late when I began the hike and I had about 1 hour left of sunlight; but it was so sad to have to turn around since the hike was super enjoyable. Most of the trail I experienced ran along the creek, so hearing the running water amidst all the nature was a beautiful experience. I can’t wait to go back and plan out the trip a little better.

Amazing hike been here a few times, make sure to carry extra socks; there will be river crossings. Along the way, there will be a few campings locations and recreational areas to jump in. There is a diversity of wildlife from rabbits to deer. Make sure to carry enough water and/or water filter. The only permit required is the fire permit for camp stove or camp fire. Make sure to check fire warning conditions before hand. Word of advice don't go during dry season.

This hike was beautiful this time of year (first weekend of December). The trees were in full fall bloom and the views were just endless. However, finding the spring was pretty challenging and took some audibles. When in doubt, follow the stacked rocks. I would definitely hike this trail again. The grade was steady and not bad at all for a 20 mile round trip trek. NOTE: there is not water along this trail until a faucet and tiny creek near the hot springs (9 miles).

The hot spring is a beauty , loaded with lots of sulfur. Spring seems like it's running colder than other times I've been here ...measured at 106 at the source , 103 coming out of the pipe into the pool . Just position yourself below the pipe , and you should be able to get your core temperature up . A Beautiful November hike and soak . Pick up trash if you see it and keep it pristine!

This is an awesome hike. Beautiful scenery. I think this hike is best on an overcast day, not a lot of shade on a hot day. This hike will not disappoint.

trail running
7 months ago

This trail gave me a workout! I read reviews before coming and they were pretty spot on except how to identify the entrance because I didn't see any. As previously mentioned parking is limited. I thankfully found a spot when I got there today. As we haven't seen much rain, the trail is dry and had a lot of flies at some spots along the trail.

Wonderful trail and plenty of water at the pond 5 miles in.

My favorite trail. Super hot in august, and dry. Water is scarce and so is the shade. Bear camp is an oasis. Can't wait to return when it cools down a bit 113 in the shade is no fun. Well it is but it hurts.

Still closed :( The previous poster, Cas Barbier, must have illegally hiked the trail. When I was there though, I saw Rangers at the trailhead.

Easy to follow not very difficult to find the hot springs and definitely so worth it.

This hike is best done in April

My boyfriend and I did this hike at the wrong time. We're both athletic and still had a very difficult time getting to Willet. Heat was in the high 90's to low 100's and the trail has no shade whatsoever! Be wary of summertime here, in the later months I could see the watering holes possibly drying up which would make the hike lethal. We camped out at Bear Creek (4 miles in) and had it all to ourselves. Then the next day hiked to Willet and back to camp. I was extremely disappointed in the amount of trash we saw along the trail. I tried to pick up as much as I could but couldn't carry much for weight purposes. PLEASE PACK IT IN PACK IT OUT!

This was my first time out at Willet Springs. We took off at around 10:30am and arrived at Willett Springs around 2pm. On our way we passed a couple of cool spots along Sespe Creek. There is one campground about 7 miles in that looked like it would have been a cool spot to camp. We went all the way to Willett Springs and after setting up we hiked up to check out the hot spring. I don't know if we were at the right spot or if there are other hot springs near by but the hot spring is routed into a big metal tub. We tried it out but wasn't what I expected. We took off early the next morning and the hike back wasn't as bad. I definitely recommend going early in the day to avoid the heat.

Nice hike. Went over Memorial Weekend. Only reason I'm giving this 2-stars is to bring attention to the numerous people we witnessed carrying rolls of TP to do their business and not packing it out (or even attempting to bury it) as clearly evidenced by the amount of TP littering the grounds behind Bear Creek Campground.

Such a nice weekend getaway from LA! A group of 7 of us went up last weekend for Memorial Weekend. It was hot and we were moving slow with overloaded packs so we stopped to camp at Bear Creek camp near the water. The next day we Day hiked up the river and spent a second night at Bear Creek.

The campsite itself is clean, sandy, and perfect for swimming. We landed a sweet spot next to a huge rock for star watching at night. Next time we will have to make it all the way to the springs!

Can't wait to go back 
Emily

We had a very pleasant weekend hiking out on the Sespe River Trail. I'd agree with the difficulty rating as "moderate," and it was still enjoyable despite rainy weather.

Early May was a great time to go: weather was in the mid-60s to upper-40s, and the creek was still relatively full. (I can see this trail being very hot in Summer months, as there isn't much tree coverage or shade.) As other reviewers noted, there are a few snakes along the path; we ran into a juvenile Rattlesnake and a Gopher Snake.

We stopped a bit after Willett Hot Springs, as we heard from many people along the way that it was pretty crowded. We enjoyed privacy throughout the night, just a few hundred feet away from the river crossing.

Went for a one night backpacking trip (see Recording for pictures/ waypoints where twin forks is/ other camping options). Went past twin forks and up to around 6000 feet elevation. Very steep and hard climb, but completely worth it for the seclusion and views of the park. Excellent hard and fast one night trip.

Heres an honest in depth review. We hiked from piedra blanca to sespe hot springs. It was very hot, in the 90s in the middle of the day, water was available as long as you had at least a 2 liter camelbak, I seemed to just run out as we hit the next watering spot, used a katadyn filter, worked great. The hike was very difficult in the heat and I am an avid biker/surfer etc. We camped out 2 nights, hiked to oak flat and slept, then hiked to sespe the next day, the third day we hiked all the way out, this was very long and grueling. The wildlife is very active, frogs were noisy. mountain Lions and Bighorn Sheep could be heard at night as well as an occasional coyote. BEWARE OF RATTLESNAKES, we saw three, I was almost bit gathering wood, they don't always rattle sometimes they attempt top evade and you can sneak on them accidentally. This is one hell of an adventure if your gonna backpack out, plenty of great swimming holes and fun places to camp. Make sure you are prepared, its more challenging then you think if you are not an avid backpacker. (look for rock piles left by hikers, they are trail markers) Past willet it gets a little hairy as far as where the trail is and there is way more switchbacks. All camps were basically empty, saw a few other hikers but avoiding the weekend warriors was beneficial.

Beautiful! When we left there were about 40+ people at the hot springs.

Long endurance hike if you choose to do it in 1 day, as I did. Def. will be back to go past Willett to the Sespe Hot Springs.

backpacking
Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Beautiful trail. 5 small creek crossings in the first half mile. Well maintained. Trailhead parking fills up quickly.

Took my bf here for his shakedown and we had a blast. Be careful with the river crossings shortly after Bear Creek as they are easy to miss and we ended up off trial along the river.

Did a short hike here up to Twin Forks campsite from the Piedra Blanca Trailhead. Nice to see good water flow here. Both the Sespe River and Piedra Blanca Creek have a good amount of water in them.
In order to reach the Gene Marshall Trail from Piedra Blanca Trailhead you need to cross the Sespe River 3 times. First cross you can leave the shoes on without soaking them. Second crossing is a bit deeper, third crossing is just above knee height.
The Twin Forks camp was a bit tricky to find. There is a sign off the main trail indicating that the camp is to the right. If you walk to the right though you don't see the camp right away. You have to actually cross the stream again to reach the camp site. Camp was nice, had 2 fire pits and a decent amount of shade. This site is hammock friendly.
While we were down near the Sespe we saw quite a few fresh bear tracks, so they are definitely in the area.

Beautiful wilderness, lots of birds. Be aware that there are five pretty serious river crossings - I went just after a storm, and the fords were chest deep at times. Probably best to attempt the hike in the spring, when there's less water. trail can be quite exposed in places.

hiking
Monday, February 06, 2017

Great views if it's clear. For half of the trail there will be no shade if sunny and there is a steady incline the whole way. I went when it was overcast and hiked through the clouds and ended up with a view of blue skies above and clouds below. Plan to go again on a clear day or night. Trail is in great shape.

Friday, February 03, 2017

closed!

backpacking
Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Fun little hot spring nook. Lots of plant life surrounding Willet Spring. Make sure to hang a left about a half mile after you see the sign reading that Willet is a mile away. Went over Christmas 2016 and had plenty of water options between a couple rivers and ponds. Weather ranged from a day of rain and a day of small snow flurry to 70*F. Happy travels!

backpacking
Wednesday, December 28, 2016

don't underestimate the temperature drop when staying overnight because gets mighty cold especially in windy areas. be sure to bring enough water and to fill up when you can some spots offer water but bring some to be safe because it's quite a wall between sources depending on season.

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