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#180559 - 11/07/13 01:23 AM Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o.
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 884
Loc: Torrance, CA
I want to take my 5 y.o. son backpacking and I am looking for a good locale. I would like it to be local, so I don't have to leave my wife and my 2 y.o. for very long. The closer to LA the better.

My ideal would be something at lower elevation (so I don't have to wait till spring) with a fairly easy walk of around a mile or so. I want to make sure he doesn't get frustrated with the hike his first time out. I would like water nearby that I can treat so I don't have to slog in all the water along with all the gear.

Researching so far I came up with Mono Campground (up past Santa Barbara in the Los Padres NF). The walk is shorter than I am looking for (300 ft) and I am not sure my Prius can make it to the trail head. To the south is Crystal Cove State Park, which sounds great, but water is not available and it is a 3.5 to 4.5 mile hike mostly uphill. Also thinking about heading to a Channel Island (hoping Old Ranger is around to chime in) or Catalina Island.... though I haven't been sold on any of those options.

Can anyone else provide suggestions?

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#180562 - 11/07/13 08:15 AM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: BZH]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
The sespe above Ojai is awesome easy hiking next to water. Closer than Santa Barbara, or Matilja creek.
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#180601 - 11/08/13 12:12 PM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: rockchucker22]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 884
Loc: Torrance, CA
Thanks!

I drove through that area last year (coming from Reyes Creek) and it seemed pretty hilly. Good to know the trail along the river is more moderate.

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#180613 - 11/08/13 03:44 PM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: BZH]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3915
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
That's a tough one. I think they have tent site camping at Malibu Creek State Park. Not exactly backpacking, but it'd still be an adventure for a 5 y.o. and not too bad a drive for both of you.

If you've had some rain there the creek should be flowing this time of year, but I'm sure there's water near the tent sites. Hiking along the creek is fun and there's a swimming hole at the bottom of a waterfall. That's a good hike for a little one.

You can go fishing there too. At least you could when I lived there. The hike up the old road from the swimming hole to the lake is another good hike, and the payoff is great. It's just a beautiful little lake and a perfect spot to explore and have a lunch.

I took my daughter there many times. They were just building the tent sites when we left CA, so I never got to bring her there for a campout, but she walked her little legs all over the place there and loved it.

It might have changed a lot since then too. Not many people visited the park back then. Weekdays we had it practically to ourselves most of the time and that always amazed me. Especially in the Spring when it was getting warm and the water fall was running strong and the swimming hole was just perfect swimming in. I swam there dozens of times when it was just her and I.

Here's a photo of the swimming hole. It's not my photo, but that's for sure it, and that's about how old my daughter was when I started bringing her up there...



Just found this photo of the campsites:



Edited by billstephenson (11/08/13 03:47 PM)
Edit Reason: adde photo
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#180662 - 11/11/13 01:54 PM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: billstephenson]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 884
Loc: Torrance, CA
Thanks Bill,

We do quite a bit of car camping with the kids. I'm looking for something a little more remote to introduce my oldest son to backpacking. I've been to Malibu Creek SP. We haven't taken the kids there yet because it is usually all booked up. Sounds like times have changed. It is a great campground, though I don't remember the water hole. I may have missed it. We did hike back to the set of MASH. They still have an old rusted out jeep there.

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#180680 - 11/11/13 11:01 PM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: rockchucker22]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
Originally Posted By rockchucker22
The sespe above Ojai is awesome easy hiking next to water. Closer than Santa Barbara, or Matilja creek.


Make sure it's in the winter after enough rain, or early spring... I hiked out of there in early fall with 110F temps and not a drop of clean water in the "river" - just gooy tepid pools here and there.
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#180685 - 11/12/13 07:36 AM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: lori]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Originally Posted By lori
Originally Posted By rockchucker22
The sespe above Ojai is awesome easy hiking next to water. Closer than Santa Barbara, or Matilja creek.


Make sure it's in the winter after enough rain, or early spring... I hiked out of there in early fall with 110F temps and not a drop of clean water in the "river" - just gooy tepid pools here and there.
yea I've been there when it's so stinking hot, but also went when it rained and turned into a raging river that took ropes to cross half way safe. We also snorkeled several miles down river, that was neat. Lots of cool places like Willet, or the hot springs, old horse corrals.... I once found an old gold panning pan, hand hammered and huge. We also ran into a hermit who lived at the hot springs. There are places that have really cool Chumash paintings. Oh and a few bears, deer, wild pigs, and snakes.
_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#180688 - 11/12/13 11:08 AM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: rockchucker22]
lori Offline
member

Registered: 01/22/08
Posts: 2801
There was an incident that happened at the Sespe some years ago that killed a bunch of kids.

http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/Hell-in-High-Water.html

Hard to believe, looking at the place today...
_________________________
"In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities. In the expert's mind there are few." Shunryu Suzuki

http://hikeandbackpack.com

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#180690 - 11/12/13 11:48 AM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: lori]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 884
Loc: Torrance, CA
Originally Posted By lori
Originally Posted By rockchucker22
The sespe above Ojai is awesome easy hiking next to water. Closer than Santa Barbara, or Matilja creek.


Make sure it's in the winter after enough rain, or early spring... I hiked out of there in early fall with 110F temps and not a drop of clean water in the "river" - just gooy tepid pools here and there.


Thanks Lori and Rockchucker,

I am pretty much zeroing in on this hike. I think I have my wife sold on it. Things have cooled off here quite a bit. The Santa Ana's seem mostly gone, but looking at the Los Padres NF website it is still pretty dry out there. Class IV fire restrictions are still in effect; meaning no campfires and stoves only in specified campgrounds. I am going to have to wait for some rain. I wanted to avoid that because of the possibility of flooding conditions mentioned. I think I will play it by ear and watch the weather closely.

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#180699 - 11/12/13 03:30 PM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: lori]
billstephenson Offline
Moderator

Registered: 02/07/07
Posts: 3915
Loc: Ozark Mountains in SW Missouri
Originally Posted By lori
Originally Posted By rockchucker22
The sespe above Ojai is awesome easy hiking next to water. Closer than Santa Barbara, or Matilja creek.


Make sure it's in the winter after enough rain, or early spring... I hiked out of there in early fall with 110F temps and not a drop of clean water in the "river" - just gooy tepid pools here and there.


Yeah, that's good advice. I've got another spot for you to check into. You take Hwy 5 North and just past Castiac Lake you exit on Templin Hwy and turn right. Follow Templin Hwy to the end of the pavement. You'll be down in the canyon just above Castiac lake. Right there in front of you is a creek that runs in the winter and the canyon it runs through is in the NF and it should be a really sweet spot to take your boy for a backpack.

This Google Map shows a trail there.

I never did hike that trail or follow the road that runs above it that direction. I always wanter too, but I always turned right and followed the road that led to the lake. It was amazingly sweet back there and I always had it all to myself.

I suspect that lake road is closed off now. There was a small power plant or pump station back there and a dam for the fore bay. I don't suppose they let you near those now.

But that trail should be pretty sweet when the creek is running, and I really doubt many people go back that way still.

_________________________
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"You want to go where?"



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#180704 - 11/12/13 06:39 PM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: lori]
rockchucker22 Offline
member

Registered: 09/24/12
Posts: 749
Loc: Eastern Sierras
Originally Posted By lori
There was an incident that happened at the Sespe some years ago that killed a bunch of kids.

http://www.outsideonline.com/adventure-travel/Hell-in-High-Water.html

Hard to believe, looking at the place today...
sad story, hard to believe they ever drove vehicles down the sespe. When I hiked it a bunch, it was before Clinton's roadless act and people still road motorcycles down Johnston ridge from Muta flats. I used to get pissed that I hiked my butt off all day just to see someone ride in in about 30 mins.

Once we ran into a ranger on a horse with a deer across the rear of the horse, then in about 20 min later a second ranger with a man handcuffed. Or lions camp before the rock fell in, we use to jump off it. Lots of fond memories of that area!

_________________________
The wind wont howl if the wind don't break.

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#181078 - 12/02/13 11:32 AM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: BZH]
BZH Offline
member

Registered: 01/26/11
Posts: 884
Loc: Torrance, CA
Still waiting on the National Forest to lift the fire ban. I was hoping they were going to lift it last week following a rain storm, was going to go in on black Friday. I called the ranger station and they said it was still pretty dry. We would have canceled the trip in any case since it rained on Black Friday here. I am hoping they lift the fire restrictions this week.

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#181109 - 12/03/13 03:20 PM Re: Recommend So. Cal. Trip for me and my 5 y.o. [Re: BZH]
wandering_daisy Offline
member

Registered: 01/11/06
Posts: 2792
Loc: California
What about Joshua Tree? In the early spring there are actually small creeks that run water and the wildflowers are beautiful. Kids love all the rock formations. I used to rock climb down there a lot in the winter, and some of our climb approaches were about 1-2 miles - great distance for kids. You may have to haul water, but for a mile overnight it should not be too hard.

Another good trip - for summer or late spring - take the San Jacinto tram from Palm Springs and hike to one of the closer lakes from the top of the tram. The tram ride would also be a highpoint for a 5-year old.

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