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Franklin Trail North - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 2.21 Miles

This is a very pretty canyon with a beautiful waterfall that flows north from the crest of the Santa Ynez Mountains down into Jameson Lake. The Franklin Trail, which follows down the canyon, was the early day route of campers and hunters from Carpinteria into the upper Santa Ynez Valley.

The Franklin Trail provided access for decades for many an outdoor adventurer, hunter, fisherman and backcountry explorer for many decades until things began to change after World War II, especially as avocado ranching became more and more prominent. About the same time Carpinterians were first venturing over the Santa Ynez Mountains to explore the mysteries of the backcountry, Santa Barbara Judge R.B. Ord introduced the Mexican avocado to the area. By the 1950s a number of varieties were becoming commercially successful, among them the Fuerte and the Hass.

In Carpinteria, ranches such as those owned by the Franklin families and others began to change hands and this shift in ownership accelerated in the early 1970s when the Carpinteria Valley became a mecca for commercial flower growing. Over time a wide swath of valley land stretching along the base of the mountains from Santa Monica Canyon east to the County were developed either for avocados or nursery related businesses. By the mid 70s public access to the mountains ground to a halt and after the Romero Fire in 1971, brush rapidly closed in what was left of the upper parts of the Franklin Trail.

Access: Park at the Juncal Gate and take the Murieta Road to Jameson Lake and then once you reach the old sign head down the side road to trail.

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 25W09
  • Wilderness Area: Non Wilderness Area
  • County: Santa Barbara County
  • Ranger District: Santa Barbara Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 34.4113
  • Trail-head Longitude: -119.51917
  • Water Sources: No Water Available on the Northern Portion
  • Trail Condition: Bad - Trail may require some bushwhacking and/or searching for markers due to potential sub standard trail conditions
  • Topo Maps:
  • Activities & Features:
    • Backpacking
    • Day Hiking
    • Mountain Biking
    • Panoramic Views
    • Wildlife Viewing

Trail Stats

  • Total Elevation Gain: + 377 feet.
  • Total Elevation Loss: - 1782 feet.
  • Overall Average Slope Gain: + 10 %.
  • Overall Average Slope Loss: - 19 %.
  • Kilometers: (km)
  • Meters: (m)
  • Miles: (mi)
  • Feet: (ft)
  • Average Slope: (%)

Trail Camps

Alder Creek Trail Camp

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Survey This Trail

Survey Photos:

  • Valerie Norton - 11-10-2015

  • Valerie Norton - 11-10-2015

  • Valerie Norton - 11-10-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 06-04-2016

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 06-04-2016

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 06-04-2016

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 07-15-2017

Submitted Trail Reports

Franklin Trail North Survey - 07-15-2017 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Franklin Trail North
Date: 07-15-2017
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:The LPFA spent a few hours clearing the Franklin Trail from the flume up to Alder Creek Camp.  The trail was in really nice shape but we cleared a few tight areas and brushed here and there as needed.  Most of our focus was spent clearing a tree that was spilling out across the trail about 40 yards below Alder Camp.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow

Alder Tree before and after.
Franklin Trail North Survey - 07-06-2017 - by La Foote
Link: Franklin Trail North
Date: 07-06-2017
Surveyor Name:La Foote
Trail description:We hiked up from Carp High on FT South to DP road, and then down past Alder Camp to Jameson and back.  Trail was more brushy on this side but still easy to follow. I had my pruning shears with me so I did some random pruning here and there on obvious overhanging branches.  Poison oak around, but relatively avoidable. Funny to see the toilet just sitting there on the side of the trail prior to entering camp. No water flowing in washes above camp, but flowing below camp. Water flowing at Alder Creek Dam, no water in flume. Flume is being worked on with many new wooden struts in place in the initial section. A hot, long gruel=tastic hike especially re=ascending back up from Alder to the road. Glad to finally check this off my list!  I'd like to go back and see some water flowing down that flume. Total trip time 5 hours each way, 10 hours total from Carp High to Jameson and back.
Pros:  Water, shade, lingering wildflowers, dragonflies and butterflies.
Cons: Lots of biting flies and other pesky flying insects in the woody shaded sections by creek. 
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Franklin Trail North Survey - 06-04-2016 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Franklin Trail North
Date: 06-04-2016
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:The LPFA joined forces with a plethora of other trail groups to host a trail project along the Franklin Trail as part of National Trails Day 2016.  We worked 1 mile of the trail from the Jameson Trailhead up to Alder Camp.  That section of trail is in great shape.

The upper section from Divide Peak OHV to Alder Camp has been worked recently by MTF.  It is passable but still needs some more work, what trail doesn't.  

All is all the trail is very very followable and is probably in better shape than its been in for quite some time.  Go get some!  More photos at the link below:


There was water along the entire trail as well.

Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow

Franklin Trail North Survey - 11-10-2015 - by Valerie Norton
Link: Franklin Trail North
Date: 11-10-2015
Surveyor Name:Valerie Norton
Trail description:The raspberries weren't making it hard to find the trail this time, so that's a plus.  Otherwise, it is practically the same as three years ago.  Downed trees (under 12") and a small spring make it not entirely obvious which way the trail goes toward the bottom and it looks like some people have looked for it climbing rather than up the canyon a few hundred more feet before climbing.  There are more trees down above this (all under 24") and some of them are still growing.  Above the first set of switchbacks is a slide area with improvements to hold in the trail, but half of these have failed and the other half have so much extra sluff that it feels a little dangerous.  There are a couple spots near the top where the trail bed is failing, too, but otherwise it is good and obvious.  Well, I thought it was obvious.  Some switchbacks have been cut the last 5 feet or so.  One spot where it crosses a dry creek shortly has seen many feet go up the creek instead of the trail on the other side, but the trail comes back quickly and it is currently flagged in this location.  Brush is stabby from both sides, especially over the mile above camp.  Different from 3 years ago: the front side exists!  Another plus.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:trees down, narrow tread

failing trail supports, was like this 3 years ago too

growing very low bridge, could be complicated to remove

Franklin Trail North Survey - 08-23-2014 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Franklin Trail North
Date: 08-23-2014
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Trail could use some brushing and tread work but is very followable.  Water was flowing nicely at the bottom of the creek.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
People Seen:0

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Questions or Comments

Last Updated: Monday, February 29, 2016

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