Sespe Wilderness and Hot Springs
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Some of the best and most remote hot springs next to the incredible Sespe River.
Relevant Guidebooks & Maps
Los Padres National Forest, Devil's Heart, and Topatopa USGS topo maps. Trails of the Ojai Ranger District.
Take the 210 West to the 134 West. Follow 134 West as it turns into 101 West. Take 33 to Ojai. 2.5 hours drive. "La Hacienda" next to the ranger station in Ojai has great Mexican food.
The Los Padres National forest is chaparral covered mountains similar to the San Gabriels. They are lower, but more extensive and remote, than our local mountains, . The Sespe River is a good sized stream (300-500 CFS). It has water all year and travels through an amazing canyon of sandstone cliffs, vast expanses of mountains, and beautiful scenery. The hot springs are completely natural and have such high flow they make the whole adjacent creek hot. They are 12 miles in by any route, so they are best suited to a fall or spring break trip. The springs can be reached via Dough Flat on the Alder Creek Trail, from Lion Campground along the Sespe River (18 miles), or via Ladybug Campground through Reed Reef Canyon. Spend some time on the river as it is so wonderful. The hot springs are 2 miles from the river on Hot Springs Creek (Northwest corner of the Devil's Heart topo map). A great 5-6 day hike would be to start on the Ladybug Trail and hike down into the river basin. Wilbur Hot Springs are worth a visit, but they're not as nice and harder to find (middle of Topatopa topo map). From Wilbur Hot Springs hike to Sespe Hot Springs. Next continue on the Alder Creek Trail and out to Dough Flat. A nice cross-country variation is to hike down the river to where Alder Creek joins and then up Alder Creek to the trail. An adventure for the wild spirit would be to hike all the way from the river to Fillmore. This area is amazing and has plenty more possibilities to explore!
It is punishingly hot much of the year. and water sources can dry up. Ticks are rampant in spring. Ojai Ranger Station - (805) 646-4348
Edited by (in order): OTL Staff
Last updated: 05/22/2009