Backpack the Sespe Trail to Willet Hotsprings

Ojai, California



10 miles

Elevation Gain

500 ft

Route Type



Added by Trevor Cox

A beautiful 10 mile hike alongside the tranquil Sespe River leads to the daydream that is Willet Camp. Multiple tin huts, one complete with 4 bunk-beds welcome you as you arrive. A short walk away, and a leisurely soak in a hot spring tub will ease your weary body and provide an enjoyable time for all.

Park at the Lions Camp parking lot. Adventure Passes aren't technically "required" but it never hurts to have one. You can stop at the Forest Service in Ojai (1190 E. Ojai Ave) or stop at the Wheeler Gorge Station on your way up to buy one for $5 for a night. The trail begins at the far side of the parking lot, near the picnic/restroom area.

From the trailhead you will hike until you see a trail running off towards your left (ignore the small ones, it will be lined with rocks) then cross Sespe Creek. (Unless it's a wet season, this will be a rock bed) 

Head uphill from the river, and take a right turn at the "T". After about a half mile of walking, you'll see the Sespe trailhead marker, and a distance of 9.0 miles to Willet Campground. The trail from here is very straightforward, just cruise and enjoy, or charge and enjoy!

After about 4 miles, you'll hit Bear Creek. A great spot for a quick swim or a waterbottle refill. 

Continue on pushing past Ladybug Camp at the 8 mile mark, and you'll soon arrive at Willet. You'll know you're there by the tin buildings, and the camp tables. 

For a visit to the hot spring, grab your towels and trunks and head north. Take a left, keeping the mountain on your right and walk towards the way you originally hiked into Willet. After about two minutes, there will be a trail on your right heading up toward the tub. 


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Hot Springs
Picnic Area

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Leave No Trace

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!


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