Summary: This great hike takes you deep into the remote Las Padres National Forest. Although the trail traverses mostly scrub brush, the mountain vistas are quite spectacular. For those who want a shorter hike, simply stop and explore the lovely seasonal Tar Creek, before turning back.
For those with more energy, continue on to our hike's destination, the Sespe Creek. This is a wonderful setting, with sandy beaches, house size boulders, cascades, jumping fish, and everything else you could wish for in a stream side setting. Some users have reported that access to the area beyond Tar Creek is restricted as it is part of the Condor Sanctuary, although I did not observe any signs to that effect on my hike.
Trailhead: From the town of Fillmore in Ventura County, take A Street on mile north to Goodenough Road. Turn right and continue 2.7 miles to Squaw Flat Road on the right (its marked as the Dough Flat Turnoff. Turn right and drive 4.8 miles up the winding mostly dirt mountain road to the unsigned parking pullout on the left. It's located 1.5 miles beyond the Oak Flat Guard Station. From the pullout, take the wide path to the northwest through the metal gate. (Lat:34.48019 Lon:-118.91685)
Trail Guides for Tar and Sespe Creeks:
Day Hikes in Ventura County California
by Robert Stone (Day Hike Books)
Best Seasons: Fall, Winter, Spring
User Groups: Hikers
Ranger Contact: USFS (805) 683-6711
Localhikes Reporter: This hike was submitted by Jim Zuber, who has posted 104 other hikes on this site
Trail Reviews Page 1 of 9 Submit your own review
Reviewed by Caitlin on 7/20/2012
Hiked here two months ago. A ranger was in the parking lot taking down license plate #s and driver's license info as we exited the lot. Apparently the trail leads into the Condor Reserve, so no one is actually allowed to hike here. They're cracking down on this. At least it will help keep the average idiot from trashing the place with beer cans and their stupidity.
Reviewed by Tom on 7/18/2011
We hiked on Saturday, July 16th to the Sespe. We had a hard time locating the trail after Tar Creek, but once we found it, it was easy to follow. Rememer not to go down the drainage, but stick to the trail as you decend into Tar. The trail beyond Tar is washed out a challenging, so allow some time. Sespe is wonderful, but much less beach then when I did this hike 15 years ago. It was 10.5 miles round trip with 2,000ft + gain and loss. It took about 5 and 1/2 of moving time to complete the hike. Felt tired, but good afterwards. Hiked out in the early evening to ambient light with local family enjoying full day at Tar Creek Falls, which was very crowded from our view point on the trail.
Reviewed by CSD on 6/20/2011
Hiked it this last weekend with my 4 year old to Tar Creek, first falls/pools. There was water and people were diving and swimming although I think the water will be short lived. It was a nice hike. Kind of crowded at the swimming/diving pools, probably 20 other people there around 1 PM Saturday. A little bit tough for a 4 year old as I had to carry him out the last 1.5 miles but he enjoyed it. We did see a rattlesnake on trail and numerous tracks/crossing in the dirt. I was a little bummed at some trash left behind and boulders being spray painted with graffiti... otherwise nice.
Reviewed by SS on 6/5/2011
Lots of water right now in both Tar Creek and the Sespe. The trail down to the Sespe is really starting to get overgrown. Prepare to get bushwhacked and be careful not to lose the trail. Always an amazing hike. I love being in this area.
Reviewed by danielle h on 2/28/2011
I have never been here but done plenty of hikes, will there be water this weekend? does anyone know har far it is to get there from glendora?
Reviewed by KKlein on 2/2/2011
Beautiful hike on 1/15/11, a little less water than some years but still plenty. No fish in Sespe though.
Reviewed by Jay on 1/31/2011
I've hiked a lot of areas around Los Angeles and this is one of the most gorgeous. Proceed far enough down and there is a 40-50 foot waterfall and a gorgeous canyon with condors flying overhead. Experienced climbers will make it this far although I saw a pack of 40 year old women making it down to the first, small set of falls. Gorgeous and with lots of water by California standards thanks to the rain.
Reviewed by EM on 9/29/2010
Has any one hiked pass tar creek into sespe creek recently. If so was there any water at tar and sespe creeks?how much? Any infowould be useful
Notice: Traveling in the backcountry can be hazardous. You are responsible for informing yourself about these hazards and taking necessary precautions. Information on this web site comes from volunteer reporters and may contain errors or omissions. A current guidebook and proper equipment are essential for safe enjoyment of the hikes posted on this site.
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