Gene Marshall-Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail is a 15.4 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ojai, California that features beautiful wild flowers and is rated as difficult. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and birding and is accessible year-round.
Directions from Ventura: Travel north on Highway 33 for about 25 miles. The highway is under restrictive use once it enters the forest. Located 7 miles off Highway 33 on Forest Road 6N31.3. Cross the wide stream bed and take the trail to the left.
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.
views were great and you go through a lot of different terrains. But the trail itself is not the best maintained trail. A lot of spots were eroding away and the trail was super steep. if you go from the trailhead towards pine mtn lodge you gain roughly 3000 feet in under 2 hrs.
Water, waterfalls, fish, LOTS of Sun, LOTS of shade, if you do the entire distance the elevation gain is tough, definitely going back
Great trail through beautiful country. Took a group of scouts overnight from Reyes Creek trailhead to Haddock campsite on Day 1, then to Piedra Blanca trailhead on Day 2. The trail was in excellent condition generally, except for the mile or so before the summit, where it was very narrow with steep side slope. The Haddock campsite was large and beautiful, with good water and shelter from winds. Saw bear prints in sand too, plus other animals. The trail map listed the distance as 18.5 miles, but a GPS tracker had distance at 22 miles, and it felt long. The hike would have been too strenuous in the opposite direction due to elevation gain and lack of shade.
I can't review the entire trail but I did do an overnight from Reyes Creek up to Haddock campsite. This was a great solo hike, but it certainly felt a lot further than the actual mileage was. The campsites were great, even Beartrap looked like an awesome spot and the trail was in great condition! The pools in creek down near Beartrap had salmon swimming and there were bear prints in the mud - so keep your eyes out. Tons of reptiles all over. Overall - great hike!
One of the greatest trails in the Los Padres National Forest.