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Bucksnort Trail - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 2.99 Miles

The Bucksnort Trail is a beautiful 2.99 mile trail in the Sespe Wilderness in Ventura County . The trail connects the Agua Blanca Trail (19W10) and the Alder Creek Trail (20W11). Please let us know if you have explored this trail recently.

Protecting the Sespe Condor Sanctuary

California condors are one of the most endangered species in the world. They were placed on the federal endangered species list in 1967. In the 1980's, due to a decreasing population, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service began a captive breeding program teaming with the Los Angeles Zoo and the San Diego Wild Animal Park. In 1987, a controversial decision was made to bring all remaining condors (22 individuals) into captivity and the last wild bird was captured in 1987. At that time, it was uncertain if the California condor would ever soar again in the wild. Through the efforts of many organizations and individuals, reintroduction of California condors began in 1992 and now has a population of over 230 animals living in the wild.

Today, the greatest threat to condors in the wild is human activity. Condors forage exclusively on dead animals; they are especially susceptible to lead exposure from carcasses left in the field and lead poisoning is often fatal. Also, interaction with humans increases exposure to food and microtrash. Condors feed microtrash (bottle caps, broken glass, litter, etc.) to their young which can lead to the death of the chick.
Sespe Condor Sanctuary

The Sespe Condor Sanctuary north of Fillmore, CA, was established in 1947 and expanded in 1951 to its current size of 53,000 acres. The Chief of the U.S. Forest Service intended the Sanctuary to be closed to all public entry except by permit however there are four one-quarter mile wide recreation travel corridors that can be used to hike through the Sanctuary – the Sespe Creek, Agua Blanca Creek, Alder Creek, and Bucksnort Trails.

The California condo was recognized as "endangered" in 1967 and received legal protection in 1972 when the U.S. Migratory Bird Treaty was amended to include vultures and certain other families of birds. With the passage of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, federal agencies were required to protect habitat and to prepare recovery plans that specified actions for its recovery.

The Sanctuary lies within the boundary of the Sespe Wilderness and is where the Forest Service provides critical habitat, wildlife refuge, and land management for the protection of the California condor. The Los Padres Condor Range and River Protection Act of 1992 established the Sespe Wilderness, which is also regarded as the "Home of the California Condor." These protections include the controlled public access to the Sanctuary to protect condor nesting, roosting, and foraging habitat. Survey data shows that California condors heavily use the Sanctuary to breed, nest, roost and forage.

As condors expand their use into their historic range, interactions with humans continue to be a concern. Refuges of high-quality habitat without human contact are necessary for the continued recovery of the species. Contaminants, primarily lead exposure from lead ammunition, continue to be a threat to the condor and the Sanctuary provides an area of protection from exposure.

The frequency of human trespassing in the Sanctuary, particular the Tar Creek area, exposes condors to human food and microtrash as well as direct human contact. This habituation increases the risk of injury to condors as documented by a condor that was strangled in a climbing rope in 2008. Adjacent to the Sanctuary and also closed to public entry is the Hopper Mountain National Wildlife Refuge. It is maintained as a refuge to protect the Sanctuary.

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 19W18
  • Wilderness Area: Sespe
  • County: Ventura County
  • Ranger District: Ojai Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 34.55107
  • Trail-head Longitude: -118.89926
  • Water Sources: Auga Blanca Creek
  • Trail Condition: Good - Trail is easy to follow and is in good shape
  • Topo Maps:
  • Activities & Features:
    • Backpacking
    • Day Hiking
    • Horseback Riding
    • Panoramic Views
    • Wildlife Viewing
    • Wilderness Camping

Trail Stats

  • Total Elevation Gain: + 638 feet.
  • Total Elevation Loss: - 1562 feet.
  • Overall Average Slope Gain: + 7 %.
  • Overall Average Slope Loss: - 13 %.
  • Kilometers: (km)
  • Meters: (m)
  • Miles: (mi)
  • Feet: (ft)
  • Average Slope: (%)

Trail Camps

Ant Camp (2700 feet)

Photo By: Craig R. Carey - Website Link

Photo By: Craig R. Carey - Website Link
Upload Images Aerial Overview Image Login to Download GPS File
Survey This Trail

Survey Photos:

  • Mark Subbotin - 02-25-2016

  • Mark Subbotin - 02-25-2016

  • Mark Subbotin - 02-25-2016

  • Mark Subbotin - 02-25-2016

Submitted Trail Reports

Bucksnort Trail Survey - 05-19-2017 - by Kara Hooper
Link: Bucksnort Trail
Date: 05-19-2017
Surveyor Name:Kara Hooper
Trail description:We hiked the Bucksnort trail from the Dough Flat trail down to Ant Camp.  It began in a very straightforward, easy to follow way for about the three quarters to one mile.  Once we crossed into a new drainage and began descending down the side of the mountain, it was a skinny path and overgrown in places.  However, we were able to stay with it.  Coming back up it the next day, it looks more foreboding than it actually is.  We came up the mountain in about one hour.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:a skinny trail that is at times hard to follow, but mostly easy to stick with.
Bucksnort Trail Survey - 02-25-2016 - by Mark Subbotin
Link: Bucksnort Trail
Date: 02-25-2016
Surveyor Name:Mark Subbotin
Trail description:Easy to follow first 1.4 lies from junction of Alder Creek Trail to where it begins descent into Agua Blanca drainage.  Next 1.2 miles drop steeply; trail is narrow, brushy, several slides, switchbacks gone in several places; flagging placed at possible areas of confusion but trail not difficult to follow.  Upon reaching creek crossing grade flattens out to sign marking junction with Agua Blanca trail.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work

trail sign at start of Bucksnort trail

typical lack of trail tread

discernible tread in most locations

sign at junction w/ Agua Blanca trail near Ant Camp

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Survey / Report Form - Please click this box to open the form.

Questions or Comments

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2016

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L.P.N.F. Contacts »

  • Forest Headquarters
    Phone: (805) 968-6640
  • Mt. Pinos District
    Phone: (661) 245-3731
  • Ojai Ranger District
    Phone: (805) 646-4348
  • Santa Barbara District
    Phone: (805) 967-3481
  • Santa Lucia District
    Phone: (805) 925-9538
  • Monterey District
    Phone: (831) 385-5434
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