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Caldwell Trout Creek Trail - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 9.10 Miles

From Trailhead at Hi Mountain Road the trail meanders along Trout Creek which sometimes has water. It is a pleasant trail. It then leaves the canyon bottom at an unsigned junction and climbs through rolling hills to Buckeye Campsite. There is a small spring here with generally reliable water. Camping is tough if you follow the rule of never camping under an oak tree as the Campsite is within a pleasant oak grove. The T-C trail continues through rolling country to Stony Creek Meadow (Stony Creek is not reliable water, it may be dry) on private land, pass through this and ascend to Caldwell Mesa, 1300 feet gain in 2 miles. Can be hot, no water. Caldwell Mesa is a lovely tableland, on private land, no camping, can be over grazed. There is a spring which is unreliable. The trail continues, drops 600 feet to Stony Junction, there is usually reliable water in the small stream leading to Stony Creek. Good camping although not in an official FS campsite. This is the end of the trail. A right turn here will put you on the Stony Creek Trail which dead ends at private land in a couple of miles. No particular reason to use it. A left turn takes you down the Stony Creek trail to a dead end in a mile or so. Continuing straight across the small meadow, crossing Stony Creek puts you on the Avenales Guard Station Trail which is a scenic climb up over the ridge and down to the Guard Station which is also a dead end at private land. All of the Garcia Wilderness Trails are out and back trails with no other legal ingress or egress except the Trout Creek Trailhead.

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 15E06
  • Wilderness Area: Garcia
  • County: San Luis Obispo County
  • Ranger District: Santa Lucia Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 35.25701
  • Trail-head Longitude: -120.39319
  • Water Sources: Water is seasonal from Stony Creek.
  • Trail Condition: Kind of Good - Little to no bushwacking and easily followable
  • Topo Maps:
  • Activities & Features:
    • Backpacking
    • Day Hiking
    • Wildlife Viewing
    • Wilderness Camping

Trail Stats

  • Total Elevation Gain: + 2076 feet.
  • Total Elevation Loss: - 2437 feet.
  • Overall Average Slope Gain: + 7 %.
  • Overall Average Slope Loss: - 10 %.
  • Kilometers: (km)
  • Meters: (m)
  • Miles: (mi)
  • Feet: (ft)
  • Average Slope: (%)

Trail Camps

Buckeye Trail Camp

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Survey This Trail

Survey Photos:

  • Jeff Wheelwright - 04-16-2016

Submitted Trail Reports

Caldwell Trout Creek Trail Survey - 04-16-2016 - by Jeff Wheelwright
Link: Caldwell Trout Creek Trail
Date: 04-16-2016
Surveyor Name:Jeff Wheelwright
Trail description:Best to approach the TH from Lopez Lake rather than Pozo because Hi Mountain Road was in bad shape from the latter. In mid-April we hiked over three days to a point about half way up the mesa and back. Trail was in fine shape along Trout Creek, which has intermittent water. Trail to Buckeye Camp was only fair, with much poison oak to avoid and many step-arounds. Buckeye Camp has ample water. Trail from Buckeye to the mesa was occasionally hard to follow. Cattle have been keeping it open, but the meadows were lush and not overgrazed. Wildflowers were abundant everywhere. For a treat, look for a swath of rare snowdrop bushes on the north-facing slope at about 2K elevation west of the mesa--about 7 miles from the TH if you hike it straight.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work

Snowdrop bush west of Caldwell Mesa

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Questions or Comments

Last Updated: Monday, February 15, 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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