Explore the most popular hiking 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.

Second time on on this trail - really like being able to heat water while hiking. Shady (if you go early enough) for much of the out trip along the creek to a little grotto at 2.5 mi from the trail head (3 mi if you park at the store in Summit). About .24 mi up to the overlook with great view (we went another 1/2 mi but the overlook provides the best view). Trail - actually a fire road - is easy (or maybe low moderate because of the steady incline). Total elevation gain about 1100 ft.

Great views. Trail should show hike to top of topa Topa ridge.

A few friends of mine and myself made this trek in late August. Definitely a beautiful trail but the heat and lack of shade made it pretty rough. Coupled with the large amount of rattlesnakes and low amount of water it would definitely be better in a cooler month.

This trail is awesome. I went yesterday and had a great time. A few notes of caution though - it is very hot in the middle of summer. I went during August and the heat paired with the full exposure from the sun made it a pretty grueling task to even be out there. However, once I turned a bend and was able to dip down toward the river, I was amazed at how full the river was and how shaded some campsites were. Additionally the fishing was great. Every cast I would pull back some bluegill (catch and release of course). I also saw steelhead in the water but couldn't get them on the fly. That's probably for the best though because I'm pretty sure they're endangered. All in all, I recommend this trail for anyone who loves wide canyon views and hiking near streams. I'll add the caveat that it's probably only good to go in the cooler months.

very difficult drive to get to trailhead... I don't see how you could do it without 4 wheel drive. Very quiet and hot, but beautiful
I will try it again in the fall when it is cooler.

We started at the end of the trail near Camp Scheidack in the cuyama valley ...I'm a 62 year old male with congestive heart failure. The Climb going up the backside of Pine Mountain was brutal. Absolutely a beautiful Trail. There was still water in the creek at upper Reyes Camp although there wasn't a lot of water in the creek, there was plenty of water for drinking. The Jeffrey Pines were amazing and there was portions of the trail that look like you were in Vietnam. Just gorgeous.

This trail was gorgeous! I went on a Monday, a few other travelers on the trail. We went to the camp midway and spent time near the water. Make sure to take sunscreen, there is almost no shade! The water will help cool down, but won’t save you from burns. Take plenty of water and snacks!

water availability makes this possible even when its warm. be aware this area is like a little oven - hotter than anywhere around it and always hotter than the forecast. also after 5 miles or so the trail meanders away from the river and water is harder to get. it was super hot when I went so I swam and chilled in the water at every chance. the big swimming hole is deep enough to stay really cool and feels amazing on the way out.

4 months ago

It is a beautiful hike the terrain is complex. Sandy pine needles pine cone narrow trails. The over look is awesome

This trail is open again, at least for hiking! I believe the camps are also open, but I’m not sure. We went just for the day and hiked in only a few miles, and it was incredibly beautiful. Be careful if you go in the summer, it gets crazy hot and there’s very little/no shade - the river crossings help, but it’s still tough in 90+ weather. Parking at the Piedra Blanca trailhead requires a $5 recreation pass for the day, we picked ours up at the Wheeler Gorge visitors center on the way up. Everyone at the visitors center was super nice and helpful, so it was a useful stop. Overall, an awesome hike! We’re looking forward to going back in the fall.

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
Sunday, October 15, 2017

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.

backpacking
Tuesday, September 26, 2017

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

backpacking
Monday, August 28, 2017

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.

backpacking
Saturday, July 08, 2017

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!

backpacking
Tuesday, June 13, 2017

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.

backpacking
Monday, June 05, 2017

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.

backpacking
Friday, June 02, 2017

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.

backpacking
Sunday, May 07, 2017

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.

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