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

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.

hiking
1 month ago

fun scenic trail with a bunch of low travel trails, beautiful creeks, and tons of wildlife. full exposure in many parts so bring the sunscreen!

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.

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

hiking
4 months ago

Very pretty! Not a very difficult hike -pretty flat. Road to the trailhead was closed so we parked and walked about a mile and a half to the trailhead. Has a couple trail signs along the way.

Nice leisure walk

hiking
4 months ago

Hiked from the road to camp/trailhead due to the road to camp being closed from all of the water. Which made this a 14.8 mile round trip. Beautiful day with amazing clouds. Beautiful scenery. Cool rock formations. Lots of water this time of year. 33 water crossings! Two great friends and I. Didn’t see another soul all day!

This hike was perfect for my family. The views are amazing and start almost immediately. Parking is limited and fencing is thin barbwire which was fine for everyone except my 3 year old.

Not a trail that you can reach with out a map. There is no trail head and seems like the trail has be closed.

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 trail is open, as are the majority of trails in the area

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).

walking
9 months ago

Once you get to the top, the views are gorgeous. Please be aware that I would NOT consider this an easy hike!!! Good luck and bring water!

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!

Backpacked the Lion Canyon Trail (which ends at a road weirdly enough) and explored the East Fork and West Fork camps. We camped at the West Fork, but some of the camping spots are over grown with thorny vines and fallen trees. Both water falls at the forks were dry, but we are excited to return after rain. West Fork had a bit of water, thus our reason for staying, but East Fork is the more stunning and spacious ground. Beautiful Canyon! Parts of the trails are slightly over grown, but didn't require any crazy bush whacking. LOTS OF POISON OAK! However, the wildlife was amazing! Owls, lizards, skunks, hawks, spiders, etc. There is also a connector trail to the Rose Valley Falls, which we understand to be spring fed, so that is worth checking out as well. We were almost completely alone for 48 hours, until three day hikers came to explore the East Fork Falls. We had the whole canyon to ourselves essentially! If you don't mind a few thorns in your socks, this place is definitely recommended,

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

mountain biking
11 months ago

Nice ride with gorgeous views of the valley. Easily completed in about 30-45 minutes on bike.

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.

hiking
Friday, August 04, 2017

will overnight this in the future

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.

walking
Tuesday, June 06, 2017

great walking trail with view of the valley

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.

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