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Cold Spring Trail - North - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 5.4 Miles

The northern trail is more of a backpackers route used to access the assortment of backcountry camps on the northern Santa Ynez Mountains or Upper Santa Ynez drainage.  The majority of backpackers start from the Cold Spring Saddle Trailhead along East Camino Cielo.  The trail drops steeply to Forbush Camp and then continues down to the Santa Ynez River.  From there it crosses a silted in portion of Gibraltar Reservoir called the Mono Jungle and ultimately ends at Mono Campground along the Romero Camuesa Rd.  The trail is in good shape other than one slide section just up-canyon from the junction with the Gibraltar Trail.  While the trail does have quite a bit of poison oak, most of it can be avoided and the views of the backcountry are spectacular.  There is a beautiful section called the Emerald Pools that are worth checking out as well.

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 26W10
  • Wilderness Area: Non Wilderness Area
  • County: Santa Barbara County
  • Ranger District: Santa Barbara Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 34.48449
  • Trail-head Longitude: -119.63839
  • Water Sources: On the northern side of the trail there is a seasonal spring about 1/2mile down from the Saddle and seasonal water at Forbush Camp. There is good water in the lower section of the trail and then seasonal water once you get to the river and up to Mono Camp.
  • Trail Condition: Good - Trail is easy to follow and is in good shape
  • Topo Maps:
  • Activities & Features:
    • Backpacking
    • Camping
    • Day Hiking
    • Mountain Biking
    • Wildlife Viewing



Trail Stats

  • Total Elevation Gain: + 2719 feet.
  • Total Elevation Loss: - 743 feet.
  • Overall Average Slope Gain: + 13 %.
  • Overall Average Slope Loss: - 8 %.
  • Kilometers: (km)
  • Meters: (m)
  • Miles: (mi)
  • Feet: (ft)
  • Average Slope: (%)

Trail Camps

Forbush Trail Camp

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Survey This Trail

Survey Photos:


  • The Beeman - 02-22-2014

  • Bryan Conant - 03-07-2014

  • Bryan Conant - 03-07-2014

  • Bryan Conant - 03-07-2014

  • Bryan Conant - 03-07-2014

  • Hike Los Padres - 05-20-2014

  • Hike Los Padres - 05-20-2014

  • Anonymous Surveyor - 12-21-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 01-22-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 01-22-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 01-22-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 01-22-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 02-03-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 02-03-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 02-03-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 09-26-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 02-07-2013

  • Veronique Lisi - 02-25-2017

  • Veronique Lisi - 02-25-2017

  • Veronique Lisi - 02-25-2017

  • Veronique Lisi - 02-25-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 02-28-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 02-28-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 02-28-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 02-28-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 08-07-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 08-07-2017

Submitted Trail Reports

Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 02-17-2018 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 02-17-2018
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:LPFA volunteers continued work on the North Cold Spring Trail as part of a growing LPFA effort to work trails not closed by the Thomas Fire.  On this day we worked the top 0.5 miles from Cold Spring Saddle down towards Forbush.  The emphasis of the project was to clear brush with the hopes that we won't have to go back for another 5 years = we brushed it real good.  More follow up projects and volunteer opportunities will be upcoming.  Stay tuned!
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 02-10-2018 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 02-10-2018
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Trail description:Trail good until mono jungle.  Multiple flags turning back and forth with no visible trail.  Much easier to hike the silted river bed 6 inch's to 2 ft worth of muddy silt highly suggest a reroutd above the jungle. I did however see tracks of bear and lion that looked to be stalking a previous hikers route.  ERie and awesome.  Fun times in the lp
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:cold spring to mono camp
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 12-03-2017 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 12-03-2017
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Nice article by ValHikes showing some of the sites along the North Cold Spring Trail:

http://valhikes.blogspot.com/2017/12/travertine-pools-along-cold-spring-trail.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MomentsInDirtAndInk+%28Moments+in+Dirt+and+Ink%29
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 08-07-2017 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 08-07-2017
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:
REPORT FROM HIKER:
There is a bad slide area just above the Gibraltar Trail junction with little tread where a crib wall has failed (see 2 photos below). Not far north of the slide the junction with the Gibraltar dam trail is poorly signed for south bound hikers.  There is a carsonite sign lying flat with the paper sign weathered off.  For north bound hikers there is no problem.  There is an erect carsonite sign with "MONO" written on it in paint or marker ink.  Heading towards Mono I found no sign of a trail on either bank of the dry Santa Ynez river.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Images:

Infamous Cold Spring Slide - 2017 Edition

Infamous Cold Spring Slide - 2017 Edition
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 10-31-2016 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 10-31-2016
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Local Santa Barbara author James Wapotich wrote a great article about the long lost Mono Adobe along the Cold Spring Trail in the Mono Jungle.  You can read about it on his blog here.  Enjoy:

https://songsofthewilderness.com/2016/10/31/trail-quest-the-search-for-mono-adobe-2/
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 02-28-2017 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 02-28-2017
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Photos by Trail Runner George showing the Cold Spring Trail damage.
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Images:

N34.4956021, W119.6362334

This is just coming out of Forbush Canyon on the way to the Grotto. A bit trickier. N34.4980263, W119.6354316


This is the worst, it's just below the Grotto, where there used to be a landslide a couple of years ago. (looking North) N34.5076619, W119.6321773

Same slide, looking from South: N34.5076619, W119.6321773
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 02-25-2017 - by Veronique Lisi
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 02-25-2017
Surveyor Name:Veronique Lisi
Trail description:
Took a hike down from Camino Cielo. Trail is generally in good condition with some area needing some work: 
Cold spring trail from Camino Cielo to Forbush
Good shape, one slide right before Forbush camp that is passable at position: 
34.495632,-119.636147

Cold Spring Trail after forbush, up to mono
Good shape, one passable slide at this position:
34.498072,-119.635311

Farther, right after the emerald pools, almost at the junction with Gibraltar trail, there is a slide that I consider not passable but I think some people would be able to fix it. You would need to cut some trees and shovel some loose rocks. Some trail supports are missing

Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Images:

passable slide right after forbush camp

Slide near the gibraltar trail fork


another view of the slide near gibraltar trail fork

Slide right before Forbush
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 02-07-2013 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 02-07-2013
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:
In February 2013 the Forest Service was able to get some off-duty fire personnel to work on the Mono Jungle section of Cold Spring Trail.  They were able to make it about 0.6miles of the total 1.6miles of trail going from Mono Campground towards the Santa Ynez River.  Additional work was done later in the spring but the Mono Jungle remains a complicated section to hike.

https://www.facebook.com/CondorTrail/photos/a.139821136047647.22093.125271487502612/590379874325102/?type=3&theater
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Images:

Shades of Guns N' Roses
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 02-06-2017 - by Josh Isaac
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 02-06-2017
Surveyor Name:Josh Isaac
Trail description:We hiked out from Cold Spring trailhead on Camino Cielo at around 3pm. At ~4 miles we encountered our first river crossing. At somewhere around 4.5 miles we spotted trail markers but couldn't see the trail due to the large amount of water flow directly over and around the trail. As it got dark (around 5:30), we were unable to find where the trail was at all, and started relying on the Avenza PDF map I had on my phone. With "only" a mile left, we decided to push forward, though by this point the Mono Jungle was in full force, the river fully swollen. We stumbled around picking our way through for ~2 more hours before finally breaking through into Mono campground (~730pm). The trail was completely covered in 2-3 feet of water and knee-deep mud, which forces us to proceed barefoot - which the branches and thorns made painful. Heading to higher ground wasn't possible due to yuccas, berry vines, and impassable brush.

Not recommended if it has rained recently!
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Non existent
Condition details:Mono Jungle fully flooded - trail completely under water
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 02-15-2016 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 02-15-2016
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Recent report from Val Hikes about her exploration of North Cold Spring Trail.  Good read with some great photos:

http://valhikes.blogspot.com/2016/02/gorilla-rock.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MomentsInDirtAndInk+%28Moments+in+Dirt+and+Ink%29
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 09-26-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 09-26-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:
National Public Lands Day project along Cold Spring Trail above Santa Barbara.  Photo stream below from the Santa Barbara Multiuse Trails Coalition:

https://picasaweb.google.com/109897793293855676170/NationalPublicLandsDay2015ColdSpringTrail?feat=directlink#
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Images:

Photo Santa Barbara Multiuse Trails Coalition
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 05-16-2015 - by Fred L
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 05-16-2015
Surveyor Name:Fred L
Trail description:Started at the head on Mount.rd. Hard to follow trail due to lack of signs/marking. Ended up getting lost and hiking Santa Ynez trail. Goal was Mono Camp, but Gibraltar Reservoir and River dried out. Some pockets of murky water, so water filter highly recommended. 
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:Lack of signs
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 05-5-2015 - by Jeff B.
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 05-5-2015
Surveyor Name:Jeff B.
Trail description:Water sufficient to filter at Emerald Pools. Quite a bit of poison oak, but trail generally in very good shape.
Mode of transport:Bicycle
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 02-03-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 02-03-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:
About half a mile down the north side of the Cold Spring Trail off of Camino Cielo is an old spring called the Bulkley Spring.  Bulkley is not perennial and tends to flow only when we're coming off a wet season.  A few of the Volunteer Wilderness Rangers have unofficially adopted this stretch of trail and over the past few years have been keeping an eye on good old Bulkley.  Unfortunately the spring box has taken a hit at the hands of Mother Nature and Father Time and was in dire need of some help.

Led by Ranger Rik, a VWR project was organized to rebuild the lid to the old spring box.  After gathering the remains of the old one, a new lid was fashioned and installed over the spring box.  Great work and a perfect fit.

In the words of Ranger Rik:

"I really didn't think there was much urgency .....it's been dry since the start of the last drought.   Then I thought of the movie  "Field Of Dreams"....."Build it and (it) will come."  Here's hoping the rain follows."
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Images:

The old cover, or what was left of it.

New cover.


New cover in place.
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 01-22-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 01-22-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:LPFA headed out to the Cold Spring slide to scope it for a future work project.  Someone has installed a very useful rope across the slide.  It helps but is not a permanent solution.  We will be organizing a project to fix the slide in May.
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Images:

View from below of the slide section. Trail - No Trail - Trail

Rope across the slide section


Cool stuff around this area

Emerald Pool looking nice!
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 02-01-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 02-01-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Downed trees at following coordinates:
N34.5268012,W119.6276674
N34.5220387,W119.6271746
N34.5204971,W119.6312852
N34.5198205,W119.6308657
N34.5192776,W119.6309106
N34.5179193,W119.6319208
N34.5142417,W119.6314706
N34.5126986,W119.6295808
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 12-21-2014 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 12-21-2014
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Trail description:Very muddy sections on Cold Springs Trail--even the new sections--as it contours around the Mono drainage in the area known as the "Mono Jungle". 
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Images:

Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 05-20-2014 - by Hike Los Padres
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 05-20-2014
Surveyor Name:Hike Los Padres
Trail description:The LPFA headed down Cold Spring North to remove a large fallen oak that had been blocking the trail for the past couple years.  There were 5 of us and it took us almost 2hrs to remove, but we got the job done.  We then spent about an hour clearing the slide section below the Emerald Pools.  It's sketchy but safe to pass.  We scouted a potential reroute around the slide and will be working with the Forest Service to create that route over the coming year.
Other than the occasional poison oak branch, the trail is in great shape.  There is good water flowing along the lower section of the trail.  The Buckley Spring is dry.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Number of trees down:0
People Seen:0
Images:


Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 03-07-2014 - by Bryan Conant
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 03-07-2014
Surveyor Name:Bryan Conant
Trail description:The trail is great outside of one large downed oak near the Emerald Pools on the north side and then a slide section just above the junction with the Gibraltar Trail.  

The Mono Jungle, which is the section of trail between the canyon and the Camuesa Rd, used to go just above the water level of Gibraltar Reservoir.  The trail is now along the banks of the cottonwood jungle and can be very hard to traverse and quite muddy.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Number of trees down:1
Images:





Cold Spring Trail - North Survey - 02-22-2014 - by The Beeman
Link: Cold Spring Trail - North
Date: 02-22-2014
Surveyor Name:The Beeman
Trail description:Rik and I walked down from Cold Springs Saddle/E. Camino Cielo parking lot to Forbush Camp and back.Failed waterbars need to be cleaned out. Upper shale section needs to be cleared.According to my Walkmeter program, the trail is 1.75 miles and drops approx. 1000 feet from the road to the campsite.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
People Seen:2
Images:



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Last Updated: Thursday, February 18, 2016



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