Los Padres National Forest: How To Get To The Sespe River Trail

Sespe River TrailLocated on the south side of the Los Padres National Forest is the Sespe River Trail.  From the trailhead at Piedra Blanca its a 10 mile hike to Willett Springs where you can swim in the hot springs.  If you want to go even further its about another 5 miles to Sespe Hot Springs.  This trail follows the Sespe river and is NOT a loop, so you will most likely have to come back the same way.  The trail is open all year round but is best during spring and fall.  There is also limited cover so summers can be brutal.


Sespe River TrailDIFFICULTY LEVEL:  Moderate

HOW TO GET TO THE PIEDRA BLANCA TRAILHEAD:

  • Take Highway 33 North into Los Padres National Forest
  • Inside the national forest the road tuns into the Maricopa Highway
  • Go East (take a right) on Forest Rte
  • At the end of the road is the Piedra Blanca Trailhead
  • Walk to the east side of the parking lot and take the trail that heads east along the river

WHAT TO BRING:

  • Adventure Pass:  You’ll need this to park overnight at the trailhead
  • Fire Permit:  Just in case you want to use a stove in the backcountry
  • Water Filter and Bottle:  You’ll have plenty of options to get river water as the trail crosses the Sespe River multiple times
  • Sleeping Bag/Pad/Tent:  It can get cold at night…even in summer
  • Hiking Shoes or Boots:  The trail is mostly flat, so you don’t need anything too crazy
  • Layers:  It can get hot during the day and cold at night
  • Food:  No corner stores anywhere nearby
  • Sunscreen:  Yup, its hot

Sespe River TrailCAMPING:

  • Official Camp Sites:  Bear Creek, Oak Flat, Willett, Hartman, Thatcher, Coltrell Flat
  • Back Country Camping:  Along the way you’ll see spots that have been converted into unofficial campsites.  These are great places to set up camp.

ANIMALS TO WATCH OUT FOR:

  • Mountain Lion
  • Black Bear
  • Rattlesnake

PIEDRA BLANCA TRAILHEAD TO WILLETT SPRINGS (Round Trip):  20 Miles

PIEDRA BLANCA TRAILHEAD TO SESPE SPRINGS (Round Trip):  31 Miles

March 16, 2017