Summary: This great hike has a bit of everything. Great mountain views, the Sespe Creek, huge white sandstone formations, and a lovely meandering creek. From Lions Camp, you cross Sespe Creek, then head north on the towards Piedra Blanca Camp. When you reach the junction, stay right (the left route takes you to Howard Creek). The trail loops around and up into the rock formations. You can stay on the trail, or just wander around a bit scrambling over the spectacular formations.
The trail then drops down the backside of the formations and follows Piedra Blanca Creek to the peaceful and lovely Piedra Blanca Camp, a perfect place for lunch or a break. This is the turn around point.
Also consider also hiking the Rose Valley Waterfall if you are in this area
Trailhead: From Ojai, drive 15 miles north on Highway 33 to the Rose Valley turnoff and make a right. Continue 5 miles to a road split, where you take the left branch for 1 mile to Lions Camp. Park at the roads end near the trailhead, and cross the shallow creek. Look for a trail marker on the far side of the bank from the parking area. Note that the last 1 mile section of the drive described above is closed until August of 2002, so you need to add a couple of extra miles to the distance for this hike if you go before this date. (Lat:34.56008 Lon:-119.16287)
Trail Guides for Piedra Blanca Camp:
Day Hikes in Ventura County California
by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books)
by Tom Stienstra & Ann Marie Brown (Foghorn Press)
Day Hikers Guide to Southern California
by John McKinney (Olympus Press)
Best Seasons: Fall, Summer, Fall
User Groups: Hikers, Dogs, Bikes, Horses
Ranger Contact: Las Padres National Forest, (805) 646-4348
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 3 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Amanda on 11/20/2011
Did this hike on October 30th, 2011. Went with my 2 1/2 yr old and a friend. We struck out early, 9 am, and only met two hunters coming in. Other than that, we had the trail to ourselves the whole way to the Piedra Blancas. The trail was nice beginning with a downhill go towards the creek and then a fairly flat piece before you start heading uphill towards the rocks. My daughter was a trooper and got most of the way before having to be put in her backpack. The creeks had water but still able to cross the creek and keep the feet dry. The contrast of the golden leafed cottonwoods against the evergreens and native brush was amazing! The rocks were breathtaking. Even at toddler pace we made it to rocks and back in 2.5 hrs.
Reviewed by Brian T on 3/9/2011
Very nice hike. If it rained recently bring water shoes for the stream crossings.
Reviewed by K.K. on 12/27/2009
Thanks CF it was well needed.
Reviewed by Jenny J on 3/6/2009
Backpacked overnight to Piedra Blanca Camp on 2/28-3/1. Great hike! There's 3 knee-deep creek crossings. Beautiful views of snow covered Topa Topa. It was warm during the day and chilly at night. A good hike for the dog because of the stream crossings to cool him off. Will definitely do this one again!
Reviewed by Scott on 10/13/2008
Overnight backpack trip with scout troop. Perfect starter for the boys, most of whom had never backpacked. The rocks were a great diversion on the way in and an excuse to shed the packs for a spell. One could kill an entire day just exploring this area. Camped at Piedra Blanca campground and had ample water in the stream for filtering in mid October with only minimal rain since the hot summer months. Weather was perfect - 70s during the day, high 40s at night. Trail in good condition and very scenic all around. Highly recommended.
Reviewed by Brian on 9/28/2008
Great scenery and otherworldy rock formations. However right now there is literally no water in any of the creeks. Everything is completely dry, and that takes a lot of fun out of the hike. We'll go again but not before there's significant rain or snow. Bring the bug spray too... lots of flies!
Reviewed by DNH on 7/21/2008
We selected Piedra Blanca as a great local destination for our last pre-Philmont gear check/preparation overnight for Troop 103's Crew 805-K1 (Ventura, CA). This was a quite pleasurable hike to Piedra Blanca trail camp. With temperatures in the high 80's at the Sespe Trailhead, once you are into the Piedra Blanca rock formations and Piedra Blance Canyon there is shade, some breezes and cools down a bit. Water flow is clear and good but recommend water filter and/or purification tablets. Used new UV SteriPen for first time - works well. Nice shady area with 3 large defined camp areas with own fire ring and log benches. Open fires are not allowed at this time due to fire season. Enjoy!
Reviewed by Rowena on 12/10/2007
We went to Piedra Blanca last Sunday. You actually have to travel more on Highway 33 to reach the trailhead (the site says 15 miles but it was actually over 20 something miles). Other than that, it was a great hike on the trail and up the rock formations. Not much water on the creek right now, but still a great day trip. Not to be missed.
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