Tar Creek [CLOSED]

MODERATE 32 reviews
#3 of 6 trails in

Tar Creek [CLOSED] is a 7.9 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Ojai, California that features a waterfall and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from October until May. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

7.9 miles
1,788 feet
Out & Back

dogs on leash



nature trips

trail running







This trail is closed due to vandalism and trash. Violators have been ticked. One of the more spectacular destinations in the Los Padres. This great hike takes you deep into the remote Las Padres National Forest. Although the trail traverses mostly scrub brush, the mountain vistas are quite spectacular. For those who want a shorter hike, simply stop and explore the lovely seasonal Tar Creek, before turning back. For those with more energy, continue on to Sespe Creek. This is a wonderful setting, with sandy beaches, house size boulders, cascades, jumping fish, and everything else you could wish for in a stream side setting.

7 months ago

Friday, February 03, 2017


Saturday, September 17, 2016

went a long time ago...still think about this one from time to time. too bad its closed.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Secret gem. Waterfalls! Pools! Don't tell anyone.

Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Pretty great hike, haven't been in awhile. But once you hit the 70ft waterfall you have to keep going for that five star experience. Pretty challenging throughout the hike, but the way back is the toughest part.

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

It's too bad this beautiful area got trashed! This is one of my favorite trails ever, great hiking, rock scrambling, cliff jumping, natural rock waterslides, and swimming! Haven't been since I moved out of Ventura county, but came across three condors last time I was there: one at the top of the 70-foot waterfall, and two down by the infinity pool.

trail running
Monday, July 13, 2015

At this time (July 2015), trail is closed due to endangerment to the California Condor by litter left behind careless idiots. Creek is dry.

Monday, June 08, 2015

Intense, but worth the struggle!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

I hiked this trail for the first time in the late 1970's, then several times in the 80's and 90's while living and working very nearby. Before it was a wilderness area, it was common for me to be the only person on the trail. Hiked the trail into the West Fork Sespe Creek in 1984 and didn't see anyone for several days. I don't know how crowded it is now, but it sure was nice then.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

CLOSED I spoke with the Rangers and this whole area including the trails are totally closed permanently to help save the endangered California Condors. The fine for going in here is very expensive and every member of your party will get their own ticket. I Believe you can be arrested as well. Please help save the condors. They clean up dead animal corpses to keep the waterways clean and diseases down. We need them. let's give them some space to rebound. They are on the brink!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

New signs posted on the trail and parking area on 30 Jan 2015. My son and friends got individual tickets at $175 each. Be aware of enforcement.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Its winter 2014 im going this year early 2015. Lots of rain this year, going to see the sites. Wont be foregoing taking plenty of pictures. Should be cool as I wont be " needing to jump into the stream " too old for that and " Who ever jumped in there nude " It wasn't me". Im to old for that nonsense ...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

As of 10/21/14 TAR Creek trail head has been closed by the USFS because of the condors. $5000 fine if found hiking in there

Friday, May 30, 2014

Well it's 5/30/2014 as we've had a wonderful rainy season to have lest wise a short lived Tar & Sespe Creek season. Used to live in Newhall area and seen friend or two active on these sites. In reading the one review regarding the officer taking license plates and anyone's drivers license info. down who were there in his presence. To the fact that hiking back there is no longer allowed. It's been since 73 since Ive been there. I'd be willing to participate in a trash haul expetdition as maybe we'd could get passes to get back there to clean up. Even at it maybe taking " A few Days." Back pack some large trash bag's pick and clean it up the best we could in the "time it takes to do a worth wile job. Of course all this done for the "Condor" sanctuary. If the graphite could be covered in the color of the natural rock Light red and beige.? Pictures for the archives and the nice work that we'd of done. Call me I'll volunteer even buy some hefty trash bag's . We should huddle with one of the local rangers as in getting permit and plans
My phone number (707) 395 - 6664. Stillman let's do it.

Monday, January 20, 2014

We went there yesterday (1/19/14) and this hike is now one of our favorites. Since Southern California is in a drought there was no water in the river bed, but that didn't affect the beauty and fun that we experienced climbing over house sized boulders and down the sides of could be waterfalls. The drive up to the hike is part of the fun as it is a 1 lane treacherous mountain dirt road that has a steep cliff on one side. We made our way down the trail to the river bed and eventually made it to the first jumping/swimming hole. Since there was no water flowing the water was full of algae and looked pretty gross so we didn't go in. We continued on and as we went further the boulders got larger and larger. We ended up at the edge of a 70-80 ft cliff with another stagnant water hole at the bottom, where apparently some people have jumped (saw it on youtube) and it was truly breathtaking. The "trail" continued on around the small canyon but we only went a little ways before we headed back. This is an amazing hike with great geological features and I recommend it to anyone that is an avid hiker and doesn't mind a little drive to get there (about an hour from San Fernando Valley). I definitely want to come back here once it rains more.

edit: we brought a dog along, it was difficult and a little scary at points when we had to carry her down the steep cliffs and pass her to someone on the boulder below. If you plan on bringing a dog or a child, use caution as it's very dangerous at certain areas.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Just a heads up to anyone planning on heading out, the pools at this point in the year (went today, 6/21), the creek is completely dry and the first 4 pools of water are low and stagnant. Minimal trash and graffiti, thankfully, but not really worth the hike unless you're looking for filthy puddles. More of a spring hike, I guess.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Awesome Trail...multiple punch bowls with several nice jumps and one super sick 80ft leap that looks super sweet! Had the privledge to watch some slacklining as well. Highly Recommeded. Water levels were perfect~

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Dad and I did this hike on Monday, February 11th. To clear up some things, the hiking area is open (I called and spoke to the forest service first to confirm), and no wilderness permit is required. As for the hike itself, very pretty and easy going. Unfortunately, its ease of access has led to people leaving behind trash and at tar creek, beach toys for children. Additionally, there is lots of broken glass in the tar falls pools, so bring sturdy shoes. The wildflowers along the way were beautiful, including the ribes. In another couple of months, the sage should be in full bloom! I recommend this hike to all!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Nice trail as usual, lots of people out here for a week day.
Also add this one to http://www.trailheadfinder.com/
Though that site still lacks trails it is much more user friendly then this site.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Did the trail on 7/8/12 getting pretty dry but good hike brought my dog I would not recommend bringing your dog I'm going a week after it rains there should be some good jumps

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Backpacked this weekend, however we were cut short at Tar Creek due to sunset so we decided to set up camp for the night. The next morning we were going to venture down to Sespe Creek but we could not find the trail that led down to it. We did a lot of boulder jumping and cliff jumping down the waterfalls but could not find the continuing trail. Any one know if it is along the creek or up in the mountains?

Monday, October 03, 2011

A hard hike but there is awesome CLIFF JUMPING!

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Did this hike today, 2 July 2011 with the hubz and 2 kids (8 and 10). The adventure starts with the drive to the trail head. The road (Goodenough) is narrow and winds around sheer cliffs with lots of loose gravel and rocks, yikes!. The hike down into the valley is beautiful, and well marked. At the last 1/4 mile, the path forks in two. Wasn't sure which way to go. The more obvious path goes to the right, but a well-tread path also leads straight. The path we took (the more obvious one to the right) brought us to a rocky landslide that descended to the creek below. It must have been a short cut, but not a good way to take the kids. Lots of slippery gravel, dirt, and big boulders. We finally got to the creek and followed it downstream to the swimming holes. We didn't explore the creek far enough to see the falls. We were content with a peaceful swimming hole that we had all to ourselves. Lots of friendly water snakes and frogs shared the watering hole with us as many birds chirped in the trees. The scramble up the landslide was much easier and quicker than the descent. It was rather hot today, so I'd come back during a cooler month. The heat made the trek back (especially the last mile) rather difficult for our 8 year old. One mile from the trailhead is a wonderful shady tree in a clearing perfect place for the kids to sit and take a break and have a snack. Beautiful scenery of the mountains, very close to the Condor Conservation Area (we didn't spot any).

6 months ago

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Friday, May 05, 2017

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Saturday, September 03, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

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