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Franklin Trail South - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 7.9 Miles

Though not open for more than 30 years, thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the Franklin Trail, the part of the historic route to the crest is now accessible to the public. The trail takes you past Carpinteria High School and then climbs 600 feet to the top of a prominent knoll. Along with the ascent, the views get better and better. There is a beautiful wood carved bench at the top where you can enjoy the best viewing spot in the area. The trail then proceeds up the dirt road to a locked gate (2.2 miles from the start), then pass this gate and head up the road following the trail markers to the upper portion of the trail for 3 miles, the trail then starts and climbs towards the crest and Divide Peak OHV route. The upper portion of the trail is 1.8 miles long and the most beautiful portion of the trail. 

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.

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 25W09
  • Wilderness Area: Non Wilderness Area
  • County: Santa Barbara County
  • Ranger District: Santa Barbara Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 34.46616
  • Trail-head Longitude: -119.50271
  • Water Sources: Alder Creek - Dependable
  • Trail Condition: Good - Trail is easy to follow and is in good shape
  • Topo Maps:
  • Activities & Features:
    • Backpacking
    • Camping
    • Day Hiking
    • Mountain Biking

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: (%)

Photo By: - Website Link
Photo: Ray Ford
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Survey This Trail

Submitted Trail Reports

Franklin Trail South Survey - 07-06-2017 - by La Foote
Link: Franklin Trail South
Date: 07-06-2017
Surveyor Name:La Foote
Trail description:Finally hiked phase 3 today and it is absolutely wonderful!  Wide and clean, some lingering wildflowers still hanging on. We started at 7am, so had adequate shade all the way up to the top. It took us roughly 3 hours from Carp High to the DP road. We then tacked on another 4.5 miles and did FT North to Jameson and back. Glad to get back on FT south and let gravity help us home. Long, hot, gruel-tastic hike. Our (my) pace was slow due to the heat and gains. Total time 5 hours each way from Carp High to Jameson, but well worth it.  
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Franklin Trail South Survey - 05-04-2017 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Franklin Trail South
Date: 05-04-2017
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Recent Noozhawk article by Ray Ford talking about the history of the Franklin Trail and current status of the trail.  If you've not hiked Phase III, now is the time!  Just bring a lot of water......

Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Franklin Trail South Survey - 05-13-2015 - by Gerry Ching
Link: Franklin Trail South
Date: 05-13-2015
Surveyor Name:Gerry Ching
Trail description:

Phase 2 of the trail just opened to the public. The Phase 2 route is entirely on a dirt fire road. Great views of Carpinteria for most of the distance.

Total distance (Phases 1 & 2) is now 5.2 miles. Total elevation gain is about 1700 feet but since the route dips down into minor and moderate canyons, cumulative elevation gain is about 2300 ft. Be sure to allow enough time (about 6 hrs) to do the round trip with a lunch stop. There is a nice bench and lookout at the 3.2 mile point,

Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Franklin Trail South Survey - 02-02-2014 - by Gordon Jenkins
Link: Franklin Trail South
Date: 02-02-2014
Surveyor Name:Gordon Jenkins
Trail description:
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Non existent
Condition details:First day of trail work with Ray Ford, upper Franklin trail.

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Questions or Comments

Last Updated: Friday, February 19, 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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