Summary: This easy hike stays high on a bluff above the creek for most of the hike. Unless the water levels are pretty high, you really cannot see the stream unless you take one of the side trails down to the water. The topo map notes one particularly inviting side trail that drops down into a great swimming hole. This swimming hole is on the section stream below a grove of pine trees on the steep slopes on the far side of the stream. The turn around point is a metal gate part way up a shallow ridge. From this point you get a nice view of the Sespe creek and surrounding area.
Also consider also hiking the Rose Valley Waterfall or the Piedra Blanca Formations 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 Sespe Creek - Lions Camp:
Day Hikes in Ventura County California
by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books)
Best Seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring
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 Bill on 4/7/2010
Take the Sespe River Trail to Willett Hot Springs and experience the majesty of this place. Here's a video I shot of a recent 2-night excursion with my friends: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7E_CAJNKuXQ
Reviewed by S.S. on 6/5/2009
Sespe creek offers a great hike and swim. The waters are quite warm by later afternoon and perfect for a dip. I backpacked out to Willett Hot Springs and found the entire trail to be quite enjoyable. There is an easy to miss turn in the trail at the Bear Creek Campground where the trail crosses to the south bank of the creek. Great spot for a picnic, camp and swim. For more information: http://budurl.com/SespeCreek
Reviewed by zero on 5/19/2009
The best thing about this hike is the seclusion... I went almost all the way to the hot springs and back, and saw only two other parties (both of them on horseback). The worst thing is that there is absolutely NO shade, even in the early evening. Creek crossings were welcome respite to the dusty infernal heat: the water is still calf-high, nice and warm... and delicious looking to my parched throat. There are no fish right now, due to the recent wildfires, but I did see a cute little water snake swimming around!
Reviewed by iamonback on 4/14/2009
great place to fish
Reviewed by 80-B on 2/18/2009
Went on Valentines day wknd down to Willets... snow,wind,sun and hot springs. Effen beutiful man. Oh... one more thing, lotsa big cat trax at Bear springs camp site, you know ,the ones that dont play well with others. Anyways, had a blast. Late..
Reviewed by Dennis on 2/17/2009
Hiked here about 40 years ago with a friend to fish mainly. At that time fishing was very good. Lots of trout in the 10-12-inch range. You could sit on one of the large boulders and pretty much pick out the fish you wanted to catch. We hiked in one day and out the next. Only saw a couple of people in two days. Sounds like everything else in SoCal, it has been loved to death.
Reviewed by 80B on 1/30/2009
Anybody going to Willett for Valentines???
Reviewed by MYL on 1/12/2009
I mainly came for the fishing which turned out to suck but i stayed for the other things like swimming and scenery. Next time i come im just going to skip out on the extra weight fishing equipment added
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