The Quick and Dirty
Location: Sespe Wilderness located within Los Padres National Forest, just north of Ojai, CA.
Distance: 10 miles out and back from Piedra Blanca trailhead to Pine Mountain Lodge. We stayed overnight at Pine Mountain Lodge campsite before heading back the next day.
Difficulty: Moderate, the peak is 6,000 feet with a 3,500 feet elevation gain over 3 miles.
Dogs Allowed? Yes, dogs are allowed on leash within Los Padres National Forest
Good to know: a National Forest Adventure Pass is required for parking at the trailhead. No backcountry permit is needed for overnight camping, however you do need a fire permit if you want a campfire or use your stove for cooking.
Spring is our preferred time to visit Los Padre National Forest because of several reasons:
- There’s not a lot of reliable water source in the summer! Due to the persistent drought the last several years in Southern California, water generally dries out by summer time. We have heard the water near the campground at Pine Mountain Lodge campground is suppose to be flowing year round, but with the recent years of drought, we did not want take the risk by going there in the summer.
- There’s not a lot of tree coverage making this area very warm to hike in the summer
- Limited camping spots in Southern California since there are access to a lot of the high Sierra Nevada trails are limited as roads near the trailhead are closed for the season