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Buckhorn Trail - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 8.12 Miles

The Buckhorn Trail connects Buckhorn Road with the Indian Creek Trailhead.  Historically is was a very well used trail by hunters and for forest users connecting larger sections of the forest.  In more recent history it was commonly used by mountain bikers, even being recognized as an "epic ride" by some mountain biking organizations.  Since the 2007 Zaca Fire, it has become overgrown and is no longer passable for mountain bikers.  The Buckhorn is really a tale of two trails: the lower section from the Indian TH to Lower Buckhorn is open, mostly clear and sees quite a bit of use (mostly people passing on their way to Indian Creek.  Whereas the upper section, above Lower Buckhorn Camp, is very overgrown and doesn't see much activity.  There is very reliable water in the upper sections while the lower sections tend to dry up each summer.

The Santa Barbara Mountain Bike Trail Volunteers have made opening the Buckhorn Trail a priority in 2015 and beyond.  While it will take a lot of time to reopen the trail, it appears that it will be mountain bikeable again sometime in the near future.

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 27W12
  • Wilderness Area: Non Wilderness Area
  • County: Santa Barbara County
  • Ranger District: Santa Barbara Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 34.59072
  • Trail-head Longitude: -119.721
  • Water Sources: The trail follows the Buckhorn Creek, which goes dry in some places and has year round water in other places
  • 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
    • Biking
    • Birding
    • Camping
    • Campfire Rings
    • Creek
    • Day Hiking
    • Horseback Riding
    • Hunting
    • Mountain Biking
    • Wildlife Viewing



Trail Stats

  • Total Elevation Gain: + 523 feet.
  • Total Elevation Loss: - 2764 feet.
  • Overall Average Slope Gain: + 4 %.
  • Overall Average Slope Loss: - 7 %.
  • Kilometers: (km)
  • Meters: (m)
  • Miles: (mi)
  • Feet: (ft)
  • Average Slope: (%)

Trail Camps

  1. Middle Buckhorn Camp (2090 feet)
  2. Dinsomore Camp (2090 feet)
  3. Lower Buckhorn Camp (1960 feet)
Upload Images Aerial Overview Image Login to Download GPS File
Survey This Trail

Survey Photos:


  • Los Padres Forest Association - 01-05-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 01-05-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 01-05-2015

  • Jasonn Beckstrand - 05-30-2015

  • Jasonn Beckstrand - 05-30-2015

  • Jasonn Beckstrand - 05-30-2015

  • Jasonn Beckstrand - 05-30-2015

  • Jasonn Beckstrand - 05-30-2015

  • Anonymous Surveyor - 12-18-2016

  • Anonymous Surveyor - 12-18-2016

  • Anonymous Surveyor - 12-18-2016

  • Anonymous Surveyor - 12-18-2016

  • Anonymous Surveyor - 12-18-2016

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 9-29-2016

Submitted Trail Reports

Buckhorn Trail Survey - 9-29-2016 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Buckhorn Trail
Date: 9-29-2016
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:The Buckhorn Trail received a lot of attention in 2016.  It started with a LPFA chain saw crew working from the Buckhorn Road to the creek crossing clearing the brush.  Next up was weeks of work by SBMTV working on the tread down through this section.  By summer 2016 the trail was looking fantastic and hopes were high that the trail would once again return to its glory days from previous decades.  

Then came the Rey Fire which burned up most of the trail in August 2016.  Below is a BEFORE, AFTER, AFTER & AFTER photo of a section of the upper trail.

A) What it looked like before the chain saw crew
B) After the brush was cleared
C) After the SBMTV tread (awesome, right?)
D) After Rey Fire
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Images:

Buckhorn Trail Survey - 12-18-2016 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Buckhorn Trail
Date: 12-18-2016
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:Upper buckhorn burned in the Rey fire but is holding up nicely. It looks like someone left their tools on the trail, which appear to have survived the fire. The trail gets over grown once you reach the first creek.
Images:







Buckhorn Trail Survey - 08-02-2016 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Buckhorn Trail
Date: 08-02-2016
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Got a report from a hiker who took the Buckhorn Trail from the bottom up towards Indian Creek.  There is no flowing water but a few isolated pools that still have water in them.  Could use some brushing but otherwise the trail is in good shape up to Lower Buckhorn Camp.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Buckhorn Trail Survey - 08-09-2015 - by Chris Ferrier
Link: Buckhorn Trail
Date: 08-09-2015
Surveyor Name:Chris Ferrier
Trail description:
The LPFA trail work in May was obvious. Some of the cuttings, however were in the middle of the trail. As with any LP trail, additional brush clearing would be a be a help. We were grateful for the work that was done. It was clear that this was a big effort.

No water along the Buckhorn between the Indian Trailhead and Lower Buckhorn.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Buckhorn Trail Survey - 05-30-2015 - by Jasonn Beckstrand
Link: Buckhorn Trail
Date: 05-30-2015
Surveyor Name:Jasonn Beckstrand
Trail description:Trail maintenance work on Buckhorn Trail.  This hasn't happened in over 15 years.

The trail work started at Camuesa Rd and the Buckhorn Trail head.

This is the first of many multi-group run projects to open this trail back up for all users.

First project was to come in to log out the down trees that prevent horse and mountain bikes from enjoying the trail.  There was also a lot off brushing.

There will be 4 or more follow up projects throughout the next couple of years.

The goal is to re-open this once popular trail for everyone to enjoy.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Hard to follow
Condition details:The first 4 miles to Lower Buckhorn need some work. But beyond lower buckhorn the trail fades away to almost nonexistent
Images:







Buckhorn Trail Survey - 05-12-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Buckhorn Trail
Date: 05-12-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:
The LPFA scouted the Buckhorn Trail in advance of an upcoming trail project.  We'll be out there in late May 2015 clearing the brush and mainly logging out any fallen trees.  The trail is quite nice from the lower trailhead up to Lower Buckhorn.  From there up to the road is a different story.  It's brushy, covered by PO in certain places, lots of downed trees and somewhat hard to follow.  The last bit up through the chaparral to the road is very overgrown.  Be sure to look for the flagging and it is recommended that you go down the trail rather than up the trail.  All that being said, its a beautiful canyon, very wild and well worth exploring.  Here are some photos from the trail patrol:

http://arcg.is/1PG7dwg
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Buckhorn Trail Survey - 01-05-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Buckhorn Trail
Date: 01-05-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Some photos from the anonymous report showing the size of some of the trees and brush along the Buckhorn Trail.
Mode of transport:Bicycle
Trail condition:Hard to follow
Images:




Buckhorn Trail Survey - 01-04-2015 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Buckhorn Trail
Date: 01-04-2015
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Trail description:Mountain biked down from buckhorn road to lower buckhorn camp.

Trail is overgrown & very faint in some places.

Lots of fallen trees, etc.
Mode of transport:Bicycle
Trail condition:Hard to follow
Condition details:Very hard to follow in some points. Overgrown almost everywhere else
Buckhorn Trail Survey - 05-25-2014 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Buckhorn Trail
Date: 05-25-2014
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:There were some pools along the trail but it will be dry very soon.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:The trail was good from the Indian Mono Trailhead up to Meadow Camp. Could use some brushing and a little tread work but overall in good shape.


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Last Updated: Tuesday, March 1, 2016



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