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Sweetwater Trail - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 6.76 Miles

The Sweetwater Trail is a 6.76 mile trail in the San Rafael Wilderness in Santa Barbara County. The trail connects the Sierra Madre Road to the Sisquoc Trail (30W12). Sweetwater Canyon was so named because the creek water does not contain alkali like some of the other creeks in the area. The trail is an old Native American trail used by the Chumash to travel from the Cuyama Valley, over the Sierra Madre Mountains, down the Sisquoc River and on to the Manzana Creek area. It was later used by the Cuyama Valley residents to come fishing on the Sisquoc and by the Forest Rangers on patrol. Please share any current conditions for this trail. 

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 27W06
  • Wilderness Area: San Rafael
  • County: Santa Barbara County
  • Ranger District: Santa Lucia Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 34.81817
  • Trail-head Longitude: -119.70986
  • Water Sources: Water is available from Sisquoc River.
  • 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
    • Horseback Riding
    • Panoramic Views
    • Spring
    • Wildlife Viewing
    • Wilderness Camping

Trail Stats

  • Total Elevation Gain: + 3580 feet.
  • Total Elevation Loss: - 1135 feet.
  • Overall Average Slope Gain: + 14 %.
  • Overall Average Slope Loss: - 9 %.
  • Kilometers: (km)
  • Meters: (m)
  • Miles: (mi)
  • Feet: (ft)
  • Average Slope: (%)
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Survey This Trail

Submitted Trail Reports

Sweetwater Trail Survey - 10-02-2017 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Sweetwater Trail
Date: 10-02-2017
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Trail description:Sweetwater trail is exposed with little shelter from wind or sun.  Bring extra water since there is none on this trail.  
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:Trail is easy to follow in most places. Needs some brush cleared, but footing is good.
Sweetwater Trail Survey - 04-07-2016 - by Tom Plymale
Link: Sweetwater Trail
Date: 04-07-2016
Surveyor Name:Tom Plymale
Trail description:From the trailhead at Sierra Madre past Smoking Rocks the trail is in pretty good shape and could use some brushing and tread work in spots. When you descend from the  high point  to the river  is where the worst sections are due to failed tread and clogged drains. There are  numerous areas where there is exposed rock and the  trail narrows to chutes which could be dangerous for stock. The lower section took a terrible beating last summer during the strong storms. There is no water along this trail.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work

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Questions or Comments

Last Updated: Monday, February 29, 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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