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Santa Cruz Camp South Los Padres National Forest

  • Camp Type: Trail Camp
  • Topo Map Link: Big Pine Mountain
  • Elevation: 2000 feet
  • Wilderness Area: Non Wilderness Area
  • County: Santa Barbara County
  • Ranger District: Santa Barbara Ranger District
  • Longitude: -119.7639711
  • Latitude: 34.63161323
  • Water Sources: Santa Cruz Creek flows year round unless in extreme drought conditions.
  • Length of Stay: 14 Days
  • Reservations: Trail Camp

Recent Water Reports:

Date Surveyor Water Report
11-20-2017Los Padres Forest AssociationFlowing
04-22-2017James WapotichFlowing
06-11-2016Los Padres Forest AssociationTrickle
05-29-2016JamesFlowing
04-25-2016Los Padres Forest AssociationFlowing
04-23-2016John DeaconFlowing
04-15-2016Anonymous SurveyorFlowing
04-11-2016James WapotichFlowing
02-27-2016brennerFlowing
01-02-2016Los Padres Forest AssociationStagnant
11-22-2015Trace RichardsonTrickle
05-24-2015Los Padres Forest AssociationFlowing
05-11-2015Jeff B.Flowing
04-25-2015JasperFlowing
04-01-2015Shaddus Maximus Flowing
02-06-2015Curt CraggFlowing
01-10-2015Los Padres Forest AssociationFlowing
12-07-2014Heather RoseStagnant

Description:

Santa Cruz: In Spanish it means, "Holy Cross"

Located on the bank of Santa Cruz Creek the camp was constructed by the CCC in 1931. A Ranger Station was built at the same time under some beautiful oaks on the east end of the camp. The camp is located on the Santa Cruz Trail 27W09 that climbs from Upper Oso over Little Pine Mountain to Santa Cruz Camp and eventually into the San Rafael Wilderness and up to Mission Pine Basin Camp. Santa Cruz Camp has long been a popular fishing camp and is a doorway into the nearby San Rafael Wilderness.
There are several camp sites, some with stoves and tables. There is a pit toilet.

Santa Cruz Creek flows into Cachuma Lake and runs northeast to drain a large area of the south side of the San Rafael Mountains. Santa Cruz Creek flows year round and that in addition to connecting to Cachuma Lake results in better than average fishing by Los Padres standards. Numerous Chumash sites and old hunting and fishing camps are scattered along the upper creek. 

Starting from the Big Pine Road (9N11) a Jeep Trail descends the top of a ridge to switch back down into Santa Cruz Canyon just up creek from Santa Cruz Station and campground. This is an administrative road and not open to motorized vehicles. Bike, foot and horse traffic is permissible.

SANTA CRUZ GUARD STATION
In 1931 the CCC_built this Forest Service Patrol Station at the east end of the campground on the Santa Cruz Trail 27W09.  At the back of the cabin is a horse barn and just beyond this is the remains of a large stone chimney. E. W. Alexander, who owned Rancho Oso on the Santa Ynez River, ran cattle in this area and the cabin was a line camp for people working the cattle. The cattle were driven over parts of the Santa Cruz and Alexander Trails to market.

Survey Photos:


  • Curt Cragg - 02-06-2015
    Water flowing at creek. Looks muddy in photo, but water is clear.

  • Curt Cragg - 02-06-2015
    Green pasture

  • Jasper - 04-25-2015
    looking upstream at Santa Cruz crossing

  • Jasper - 04-25-2015
    looking downstream at Santa Cruz crossing

  • Jasper - 04-25-2015
    Nice campsite

  • John Deacon - 04-23-2016
    Santa Cruz Creek

  • James Wapotich - 04-22-2017
    Santa Cruz Falls

Submitted Camp Reports

Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 11-20-2017 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 11-20-2017
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Camp Description:VWR patrol down to Santa Cruz Station.  The hike was doable but sketchy in the Rey Fire burned areas, in particular the section just north of Alexander Saddle, now named the Legolas section as it requires elf like quickness to skirt across the scree fields.
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:Good water flowing at Santa Cruz Station
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 04-22-2017 - by James Wapotich
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 04-22-2017
Surveyor Name:James Wapotich
Camp Description:Great water flowing in Santa Cruz Creek. Santa Cruz Falls are the best they've been in years.
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:
Weather Conditions:
Images:

Santa Cruz Falls
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 06-11-2016 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 06-11-2016
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Camp Description:Not a whole lot of water, but there is some.
Water Source:Trickle
Water Source Details:
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 05-29-2016 - by James
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 05-29-2016
Surveyor Name:James
Camp Description:Crowded camp during memorial day weekend.  Creek was flowing nicely.
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:Creek is flowing
Weather Conditions:70s & sunny.
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 04-25-2016 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 04-25-2016
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Camp Description:Water flowing across the road and at the trail. The flow is not very deep but better than last year at this time. Don’t think there will be enough water for stock this summer.
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 04-23-2016 - by John Deacon
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 04-23-2016
Surveyor Name:John Deacon
Camp Description:Nice camp with plenty of sites and tables
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:About 1 foot deep
Weather Conditions:Clear, H 70, L 38
Images:

Santa Cruz Creek
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 04-15-2016 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 04-15-2016
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Camp Description:
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:Campsite in great shape. Horse sheds stocked with hay. River was flowing and clean
Weather Conditions:Sunny. 60-deg
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 04-11-2016 - by James Wapotich
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 04-11-2016
Surveyor Name:James Wapotich
Camp Description:Good water at Santa Cruz Camp. Santa Cruz Falls is flowing, but after 4 years of drought is not all that impressive
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 02-27-2016 - by brenner
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 02-27-2016
Surveyor Name:brenner
Camp Description:
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:Knee deep pools in some places. Clear, cold and flowing.
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 01-02-2016 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 01-02-2016
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Camp Description:
Report from Susie T:

Basically none in Santa Cruz Creek. There were some puddles but no running water.

No one at the camp.
Water Source:Stagnant
Water Source Details:
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 11-22-2015 - by Trace Richardson
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 11-22-2015
Surveyor Name:Trace Richardson
Camp Description:
Water Source:Trickle
Water Source Details:Most pools were stagnant, but found one pool that had a very small trickle.
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 05-24-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 05-24-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Camp Description:Still water at both the trail and road crossing but it's not flowing too much.  No pools.  The camp was very busy with mtn bikers and hikers.  Trail was in good shape to Santa Cruz other than the usual slides on the front of Little Pine.  Still wildflowers blooming.
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 05-11-2015 - by Jeff B.
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 05-11-2015
Surveyor Name:Jeff B.
Camp Description:Camp is in great shape; great water and very clean.
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:Excellent water flow in the creek.
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 04-25-2015 - by Jasper
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 04-25-2015
Surveyor Name:Jasper
Camp Description:
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:Good water at crossing into camp - cool/clear/flowing.
Weather Conditions:
Images:

looking upstream at Santa Cruz crossing

looking downstream at Santa Cruz crossing


Nice campsite
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 04-01-2015 - by Shaddus Maximus
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 04-01-2015
Surveyor Name:Shaddus Maximus
Camp Description:
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:Good water in the creek!
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 02-06-2015 - by Curt Cragg
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 02-06-2015
Surveyor Name:Curt Cragg
Camp Description:Campsites were in excellent condition with nice green grass around the camp.  This camp has plenty of nice picnic tables and a great fire ring/stove.
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:Water is 3-4" deep and flowing in the creek.
Weather Conditions:Clear 70's
Images:

Water flowing at creek. Looks muddy in photo, but water is clear.

Green pasture
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 01-10-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 01-10-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Camp Description:
Water Source:Flowing
Water Source Details:
Weather Conditions:
Santa Cruz Camp Survey - 12-07-2014 - by Heather Rose
Link: Santa Cruz Camp
Date: 12-07-2014
Surveyor Name:Heather Rose
Camp Description:
Water Source:Stagnant
Water Source Details:River, after 1st big rain.
Weather Conditions:

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Last Updated: Monday, November 27, 2017

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