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Hiking & Walking: California > Los Padres National Forest > Ojai Ranger District

Quick Facts

Alder Creek Trail

Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: Varies
Length: 9.4 Miles (15.67 Kilometers)
Trail Number: 20W11




Satellite and Topo Map




General Description

GENERAL INFORMATION: The Alder Creek Trail offers Wilderness access along a moderately difficult, nine and a half mile trail from Dough Flat to Sespe River. Take Highway 126 to Fillmore. Turn north on A Street/Goodenough Road (at Von's) and drive toward the Sespe Oil Fields. Near the end of this road, turn right at the sign that says Oak Flat is 3 miles and Dough Flat is 10 miles. This is a narrow, rough road that is traveled by large oil trucks. Be very cautious as you continue on to the parking area at Dough Flat. From the trailhead you enter the Sespe Wilderness. Hike north to the first trail junction at 2.5 miles. Go north (left) toward Alder Creek. Cow Springs is the first camp along the way, but water is very low here during the summer. There is not much shade here, so the summer months can be very hot. The next trail junction is at the 6 mile mark. If you stay to the left, the trail will go downstream toward the Sespe River and you'll reach Alder Camp after one mile. If there is no water there, continue to hike downstream until the trail leaves the drainage bottom, approximately one mile from Alder Camp. Follow the stream for 150 yards and you'll reach Shady Camp, which normally has year-round water. From there, follow the trail another 2.5 miles to Sespe Hot Springs.

Directions from Santa Paula: Take Highway 126 to Fillmore. Turn north on A Street/Goodenough Road (at Von's) and drive toward the Sespe Oil Fields. Near the end of this road, turn right at the sign that says Oak Flat is 3 miles and Dough Flat is 10 miles. This is a narrow, rough road that is traveled by large oil trucks. Be very cautious as you continue on to the parking area at Dough Flat.

Seasonal Information:
Normally Open: Year-round .



Current Conditions & Trip Reports

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Time of Day: Overnight
Length of Time: Overnight
Difficulty: Moderate
Number of People Encountered: 0-10 ppl
Recommend to a Friend: Highly
Report: Decent elevation changes make this fairly challenging. 1000ft up at the beginning through a dry and hot (anytime but winter) landscape, then an 1100ft drop down to the creek, which awaits you on your return. Amazing changes in landscapes, from oil fields, dry gravely desert, to red southwestern boulders and ridges of the sespe formation, to hillside chapparal and spring-fed grottos and then deep pools and gurgling Alder Creek. Water was somewhat plentiful at this time of year, but is scarce in the upper elevations later. Shady camp is supposed to have water all year. Mud from morning rains slowed us down a bit. No wildflowers yet, but plenty of color. I'll have pictures at my website. Just past Cow Springs campsite is a broad face good for taking a break. There are several more of these before you descend.



Recreation Opportunities
Activity Remarks On Site
ICON Backpacking
Yes
ICON Hiking & Walking
Yes
ICON Horseback Riding
Yes



More Information

Visitor Information:

Ojai Ranger District, 1190 East Ojai Avenue , Ojai, CA, 93023, Phone: 805-646-4348, Fax: 805-646-0484, TTY: 805-646-3866

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