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Willow Spring Trail - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 8.45 Miles

The Willow Spring Trail is a scenic 8.45 mile trail in Northern Santa Barbara County. The trail connects Highway 166 to Pine Canyon Road near Brookshire Campground.
Please let us know if you have explored this trail recently.

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 31W01
  • Wilderness Area: Non Wilderness Area
  • County: Santa Barbara County
  • Ranger District: Santa Lucia Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 35.06457
  • Trail-head Longitude: -120.17231
  • Trail Condition: Kind of Good - Little to no bushwacking and easily followable
  • Topo Maps:
  • Activities & Features:
    • Day Hiking
    • Horseback Riding
    • Mountain Biking
    • Wildlife Viewing

Trail Stats

  • Total Elevation Gain: + 3259 feet.
  • Total Elevation Loss: - 3357 feet.
  • Overall Average Slope Gain: + 15 %.
  • Overall Average Slope Loss: - 15 %.
  • Kilometers: (km)
  • Meters: (m)
  • Miles: (mi)
  • Feet: (ft)
  • Average Slope: (%)

Photo By: Nathan - Website Link
Upload Images Aerial Overview Image Login to Download GPS File
Survey This Trail

Survey Photos:

  • Anonymous Surveyor - 02-04-2017

  • Russ - 05-02-2017

  • Russ - 05-02-2017

  • Russ - 05-02-2017

  • Mike Maki - 05-28-2017

  • Mike Maki - 05-28-2017

  • Mike Maki - 05-28-2017

  • Mike Maki - 05-28-2017

  • Mike Maki - 05-28-2017

Submitted Trail Reports

Willow Spring Trail Survey - 10-14-2017 - by Nate
Link: Willow Spring Trail
Date: 10-14-2017
Surveyor Name:Nate
Trail description:I have reviewed this trail before, and the trail is still in decent repair except for all the cow patties you will have to dodge. Willow Spring however is pretty dry. It is pretty much a mud puddle at this point. The cow trough has no water in it, and we were forced to turn around do to the water issue.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Willow Spring Trail Survey - 05-28-2017 - by Mike Maki
Link: Willow Spring Trail
Date: 05-28-2017
Surveyor Name:Mike Maki
Trail description:Use the data files at http://www.condortrail.com/maps.html and you get through this relatively easy. This was the last day of a four day Condor Trail section hike and I had concerns. I had spent much of the previous three days doing some cross country with some difficulty and knew there was a fair amount of cross country in this section. By following the GPS data from http://www.condortrail.com/maps.html I was able to stay out of the thick vegetation and was able to find the road beds with ease. This turned out to be much easier than anticipated. There are a few steep hills to climb but they are short and some full of Yucca. The section from Willow Spring to the trailhead at Hwy 166 is well travelled and easy to follow. Pics from this section of the Condor Trail.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:This is in regards to the section from below Brookshire Camp north to Willow Spring

View back down to Pine Canyon where trail starts

Typical trail condition

Looking back at route coming from Lake Ridge

Looking ahead towards Yucca hill to climb above Aliso Creek

Yucca Challenging hillside
Willow Spring Trail Survey - 05-02-2017 - by Russ
Link: Willow Spring Trail
Date: 05-02-2017
Surveyor Name:Russ
Trail description:

I ride Willow Springs at least 2 times a week.  I believe it is the Santa Maria areas best single track and a good challenge for those experienced to the back-country.  The easy W.S. loop is once you get to the grassy-top area, ranch gate on your right, proceed along the defined single track about 500' to the top of the hill where the oaks are and turn right.  The trail becomes clearer in about 200' until it becomes an old road, and eventually a cattle trail.  Follow down to the creek where the srping water-catch traugh sits in the trees (I did drink from this and it was awesome!).  Continue the loop, cross the creek and make a left back up going east.  It becomes an old road and as you get near the top it veres to the left, joining another old road.  Continue heading north and follow back to the top knoll where you began the loop.  It is about 3 miles from bottom to top and the loop adds another 2.5 miles.  I can ride this on a Mt Bike, so a hiker can do this easily.

On Fridays I have all day to explore and have been as far as Treplett Mt by way of Old Sierra Madre Rd, past Plowshare, and down the road to Pine Flat CG, over Treplett and beyond, but there was not way to find the Willow Springs trail at Brooksirea CG, so I risked tresspassing to get back to 166.  I would REALLY like the forest service to rally local hiker and Mt Bikers to clear the entire Willow Springs trail to Brookshire camp, perhaps a loop option to get back up Porter Pk or the peak just north of it.  But the Horshoe Springs area is almost unreachable unless you live in Pine Canyon or have a motor on your machine.

Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:Willow Springs loop...

Spring time at the Willow

The Willow Spring 4-21-2017

8.5 miles from W.S. trailhead is this north view, (2.5 miles shy of Sierra Madre Rd)
Willow Spring Trail Survey - 04-16-2017 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Willow Spring Trail
Date: 04-16-2017
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Trail description:Perfect day for this trail: not too not, still some wildflowers.  We had the same problem as the previous poster once we reached the high meadow.  The trail becomes lost in the grass.  The trail to the spring picks up at the corner of the fence and follows the fenceline downhill to your right.  This trail is a lovely way to get a feel for the Santa Barbara backcountry.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Willow Spring Trail Survey - 02-04-2017 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Willow Spring Trail
Date: 02-04-2017
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Trail description:Trail at the start from highway 166 is easy to follow and only has one path. Atfter about 2 miles the trail goes from oak to a brush type tree that looks like manzanita. Continue up and through a gate at about 2600 ft and it opens up to high, reasonably flat pasture land. At this point, it is a great spot to stop and rest and enjoy the views, but the trail, which was so easy to follow becomes obscure because of a dirt road and we never found the original path.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow

view from the pasture at the top
Willow Spring Trail Survey - 02-07-2014 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Willow Spring Trail
Date: 02-07-2014
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Trail description:Willow Springs Trail CCCMB is pleased to announce that the construction of the bottom 3/4 mile of Willow Springs Trail was completed during the week of December 9-14. CCCMB designed the trail, and construction was done in cooperation with the Los Padres Nat'l Forest, Forest Trails Alliance (i.e. Zachi Anderson) and San Luis Open Parks Open Space and Trails Foundation (SLOPOST). Despite the fact that Willow Springs Trail is a full hour from SLO, off Hwy 166 East of Santa Maria, CCCMB and SLOPOST invested heavily in the project because the new trail provides a practical and fun route to the top of the Sierra Madre Ridge and to the back country trails on its south side. We also see this as a way to provide more trail access for our friends in Santa Maria. The entire 4 to 5 mile trail is a back-country ride with a steady climb to the top of the ridge. The trail goes through Oak savannah with grand views over the Cuyama River and far to the north. The Forest Service and CCCMB are asking all cyclists and equestrians to stay off the new trail until it gets rain.
Mode of transport:Bicycle
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:CCCMB Trail Project to work the first 3/4mile from Hwy 166 to the old road

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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
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    Phone: (805) 967-3481
  • Santa Lucia District
    Phone: (805) 925-9538
  • Monterey District
    Phone: (831) 385-5434
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