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Rancho Nuevo Trail - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 5.26 Miles

The Rancho Nuevo Trail is a senic 5.26 mile trail in the Dick Smith Wilderness in Ventura County . In 1889 Ramon Ortego received a homestead Patent for property on the Potrero that he had been living on for a number of years. Ramon was a descendent of Jose Ortego who came with the Portola expedition of 1769. The expedition had come to California to locate and settle Monterey as the capital of California. Ramon established ranches in the central mountain portion of Ventura County. He was noted for capturing grizzly bears single handed. In 1914, at the age of 84 years Ramon was helping herd cattle on the Long Trail down to Mono Creek when his horse slipped over a cliff and he was killed. He had always said that if he died in the mountains he did not want to be brought out draped over a saddle. J. D. Reyes and others on the cattle drive set him up astride a pack mule and brought him out to the wagon road at Wheeler Hot Spring sitting upright. A early adobe on Potrero Seco is still used as a ranch cabin.

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 24W03
  • Wilderness Area: Dick Smith
  • County: Ventura County
  • Ranger District: Mt. Pinos Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 34.69515192
  • Trail-head Longitude: -119.3978207
  • Water Sources: Rancho Nuevo Creek
  • Trail Condition: Kind of Good - Little to no bushwacking and easily followable
  • Topo Maps:
  • Activities & Features:
    • Backpacking
    • Camping
    • Creek
    • Day Hiking
    • Mountain Biking
    • Paved Roads
    • Wildlife Viewing
    • Wilderness Camping

Trail Stats

  • Total Elevation Gain: + 1107 feet.
  • Total Elevation Loss: - 552 feet.
  • Overall Average Slope Gain: + 5 %.
  • Overall Average Slope Loss: - 4 %.
  • Kilometers: (km)
  • Meters: (m)
  • Miles: (mi)
  • Feet: (ft)
  • Average Slope: (%)

Trail Camps

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Survey This Trail

Survey Photos:

  • Mark Subbotin - 03-02-2015

  • Mark Subbotin - 03-02-2015

  • Mark Subbotin - 03-02-2015

  • Chester - 11-22-2015

  • Mike Maki - 03-03-2017

  • Mike Maki - 03-03-2017

  • Mike Maki - 03-03-2017

  • Mike Maki - 03-03-2017

  • Mike Maki - 03-03-2017

  • C Day - 04-25-2017

  • C Day - 04-25-2017

  • C Day - 04-25-2017

  • C Day - 04-25-2017

  • C Day - 04-25-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 12-16-2016

Submitted Trail Reports

Rancho Nuevo Trail Survey - 12-16-2016 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Rancho Nuevo Trail
Date: 12-16-2016
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:LPFA helped lead three trail crews along the Rancho Nuevo Trail in late November and December 2016.  We worked the trail from Rancho Nuevo to Upper Rancho Nuevo and the trail was in really really solid shape.  All trees were cleared, brush was removed from 95% of the trail and damaged sections of trail were restored.  Here are some photos of the trail work:

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

Before and after showing a section of trail that was pushed into the creek and restored out of the creek.
Rancho Nuevo Trail Survey - 04-25-2017 - by C Day
Link: Rancho Nuevo Trail
Date: 04-25-2017
Surveyor Name:C Day
Trail description:see my survey of Deal Camp

Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:Most of the trail is fine as far as we went (Deal Junction) 2 trees across trail, some erosion at creek crossings

Rancho Nuevo Trail Survey - 03-03-2017 - by Mike Maki
Link: Rancho Nuevo Trail
Date: 03-03-2017
Surveyor Name:Mike Maki
Trail description:This report is only for the lower section from Hwy 33 to Deal Junction. We cam down this section as part of a loop up Deal Tr, down Rancho Nuevo, and 3 miles on Hwy 33. The lower section of Rancho Nuevo is beautiful! Trail is easy to follow. Lots of water after our winter rains. More pics here.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:A few downed trees and washed out stream crossiings

Lots of stream crossings washed out. If you look hard enough you can find the trail on the other side.

Beautiful Trail!

Lots of water.

Great trail!

One of the more difficult obstacles.
Rancho Nuevo Trail Survey - 11-22-2015 - by Chester
Link: Rancho Nuevo Trail
Date: 11-22-2015
Surveyor Name:Chester
Trail description:

Trail was in good condition all the way to the deal junction camp, apart from a small downed tree across the trail about 1/2 a mile from the trail head.

Once past deal junction the trail became increasingly difficult to follow, some markers were present which helped however after a mile from the deal junction camp I began to lose track of the trail only to rejoin it later.. this happened multiple times until I turned back.

once past deal junction I counted an additional 4 trees down across the trail.

Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Hard to follow

Rancho Nuevo Trail Survey - 07-12-2015 - by Donna Spencer
Link: Rancho Nuevo Trail
Date: 07-12-2015
Surveyor Name:Donna Spencer
Trail description:     Well if your into geology I firmly believe you'll love this on.  The canyon walls speak with strata folds and castle like structures.  The first section from Rancho Nuevo Campground to Deal Junction was not a concern.  However once passed Deal you'll have to bring your patience.  I only got maybe a mile passed Deal when I had to give up DUE TO HEAVY WILD ROSE BUSHES clogging the trial, which was about hip high.  I am sorry I did not want to end up as nature's pin cushion.  Bu overall was a great hike full of solitude and geological interest.  The Canyon floor is covered with wide array of plant life, however the Zaca Fire did scare parts of the canyon walls.  If you don't have 4wheel drive vehicle like I did plan on an extra 1.5 miles of un-shaded fire road to campground. 
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:This trail from Deal to Upper Rancho will need some heavy WEED WRACKING due to overgrown WILD ROSE BUSHES.
Rancho Nuevo Trail Survey - 05-03-2015 - by Hike Los Padres
Link: Rancho Nuevo Trail
Date: 05-03-2015
Surveyor Name:Hike Los Padres
Trail description:UTMC continued their assault on the trails within the MPRD, this time focusing on Rancho Nuevo.  UTMC completed the goal of clearing all trees from the trailhead to Upper Rancho Nuevo.  Trail is good to Deal Junction but gets brushy after that with washouts.  Upper Rancho Nuevo is stock passable but only for experienced stock crews.  If you hike this trail, please bring some flagging and mark the hard parts so we can keep people going the same direction.

Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Rancho Nuevo Trail Survey - 03-02-2015 - by Mark Subbotin
Link: Rancho Nuevo Trail
Date: 03-02-2015
Surveyor Name:Mark Subbotin
Trail description:Cuyama River crossing from Hwy 33 was dry; high clearance vehicle recommended.  From trailhead to Deal Junction trail in good condition and easy to follow courtesy UTMC trail maintenance work.  From Deal Junction to Upper Rancho Nuevo campground 11 trees down across trail, one big washout not passable to stock, and overgrown along approx 30% of distance.  Tread is narrow in some areas.  Flagging left in creek bottom sections and at switchback near Upper Rancho Nuevo campground. 
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:easy to follow up to Deal Junction Camp, then brushy at times up to Upper Rancho Nuevo Camp

dead oaks fallen over trail from slope above

30" pine tree and 5-ft. deep side drainage trail washout

typical brushy condition w/ rose thicket

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Questions or Comments

Last Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2016

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L.P.N.F. Contacts »

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