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Santa Paula Canyon Trail

Intermediate/Difficult
 4.3 (8)

A sturdy 3.6-mile hike up to Big Cone Camp or a total 7.8-mile hike to Bluff Camp.


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Map Key

7.8

Miles

12.6

KM

Point to Point

4,604' 1,403 m

High

959' 292 m

Low

3,768' 1,149 m

Up

123' 38 m

Down

9%

Avg Grade (5°)

42%

Max Grade (23°)

Dogs Unknown

Features River/Creek

Check local fire restrictions. Recent fires (July 2017) may have affected access to this trail.

Description

The trail was washed out during a flood in 2005; as a result, at times, the trail can be difficult to follow. There are also steep drop-offs and high cliffs. Weekday use is recommended since this trail is often overcrowded on the weekends as it is one of the most popular trails in Ventura County. Trash and graffiti are not uncommon.

Begin this hike by entering St. Thomas Aquinas College; stay on the pavement and follow the main road east then north. At the north end of campus, turn right at a fork and go through a gate. The road continues past Ferndale Ranch and oil pumps, then continues as a dirt trail. At about 1.5 miles, the trail crosses the Santa Paula Creek joining an old dirt road.

At about 2.5 miles, the trail crosses the creek again and begins to climb up a moderately steep slope to 3.4 miles. The trail levels off briefly before descending to Big Cone Camp. Santa Paula Canyon Trail continues from Big Cone Camp down a slope with some switchbacks. Turn right at the intersection to stay on the trail. From this point on, the trail is even more washed out than below and can be very difficult to follow. Use caution when continuing this direction.

People often connect this hike with Last Chance Trail by turning left at the intersection, to explore The Punchbowl and Cross Camp.

Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store.

Flora & Fauna

The lower part of the trail passes through sycamore and alder stands. Big Cone Camp is located in a grove of big cone Douglas Fir.

Contacts

Shared By:

John McKinney

Trail Ratings

  4.3 from 8 votes

#7149

Overall
  4.3 from 8 votes
5 Star
38%
4 Star
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3 Star
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2 Star
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1 Star
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Trail Rankings

#649

in California

#7,149

Overall
21 Views Last Month
1,402 Since Jul 26, 2017
Intermediate/Difficult

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Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 11 days ago See History
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Check-Ins

Feb 16, 2021
Clive Lewis
Great winters day hike 8.5mi
Oct 21, 2019
Victoria Utvick
Jul 14, 2019
Rodrigo Padilla
4.2mi — 5h 30m
Jun 29, 2019
Levi Miller
Hiked to the first punch bowl. 5 miles in 5 miles out. Very fun, however, the trail is very difficult to follow and including some climbing over ro… 10mi
May 13, 2019
Carlos Hernandez
Mar 29, 2019
Brian D
6mi
Mar 28, 2019
Brian D
This is an awesome trail but it stops just north of Jackson Camp. The brush has become so thick, it is impossible to navigate through it. 4mi — 3h 00m
Apr 22, 2018
Michael James
Conditions a good except a bit less shade since the fire. My wife and I had to give our lab our socks on the way back.

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