Alder Creek/Franklin Trail
[out of 5]
|For:||Long, exposed to the sun at first, then steep.|
Sometimes people ask if there is anywhere you can hike in Carpinteria. This hike almost counts. You will be hiking behind Carpinteria.
The hike begins at the old Juncal Campground on Juncal Road, which is what East Camino Cielo Road becomes some long distance past the end of the pavement. You hike through Juncal Camp toward Jameson Reservoir, then at the far end, turn up a steep canyon and follow the creek along what is officially the Franklin Trail.
You can follow the Franklin Trail all the way to the top of the mountains for a look over the other side at Carpinteria and the ocean. Theoretically, you can follow it back down to Foothill road in Carp, but in reality, you can't because of private property issues.
It's a lovely creek and well worth the long walk along the dirt road to get there. The total mileage for the described hike is 10 miles. It's mostly level with some steeper uphill when you finally reach the real trail in the creek.
You will need an Adventure PassPass to park.
Alder Creek Trail UpdatesUpdate trail conditions
Posted: January 24, 2015, 9:45 pm
We tried to follow Franklin Trail up to the crest, but couldn't find it at all. There was a flag at Alder Creek Campground that marked the start of the trail, and for maybe a hundred feet or so it was easy to follow, but once it hit the creek it disappeared completely. We tried to rock hop along the creek and scramble through the brush to find it, but once we climbed up to the top of the ridge and still had no clue where it was, we gave up and turned around. Either we missed something obvious (quite possible), or the trail is hopelessly overgrown.
But otherwise, it was a gorgeous hike! Too the bad the drive to get to the trailhead is so painstaking (and I don't think my car was too happy with me about it...)
Posted: July 16, 2012, 9:13 pm
We got a late start, and ended up walking in the afternoon heat. Sadly, we could not find the rubber duck marking the shortcut, so we hiked up the exposed switchbacks to the dam. The final stretch from the dam is mostly flat, but completely unprotected from the sun. Needless to say, we were very pleased to find the creek flowing fast with fresh and cool water.
The conditions of the trail beyond the debris dam were pretty good. The first 1/8 mile after the damn is fairly flat and a little hard to follow. Lots of poison oak there. Once you hit the switchbacks the poison oaks disappears, and the trail becomes easy to follow. However, a few places had been covered by rock slides. One in particular was very sketchy, as it was covered with loose sand with a 30 foot drop on one side. A few hours work with a camp shovel could fix these parts of the trail.
We did our best to power up the steep switch backs, but after about 45 minutes, we ended up on a ridge high above the creek. I'm not sure if we passed the camp, or if we were almost there. Either way, we gave up, headed back down, and camped at the debris dam.
This worked out quite well. The spaces below the sluice are pretty level and clear, which made perfect spots to pitch our tents. There was some spare lumber nearby that we fashioned into a bench. To top it all off, about 50 feet down the trail from the dam, the sluice was leaking, making a great shower.
We saw a few ticks on the fire road to and from the creek, but none in the vicinity of the creek. There were a few mosquito's at the creek, but they didn't show up until late evening.
Posted: October 19, 2011, 4:27 pm
The sluice is pretty cool to see. Part of it is being rebuilt and you can walk along the boards of wood placed atop of the sluice. When you get to the end of the sluice, head a little to the left and forward (you'll cross the stream and little waterfall). From there you continue back. We went to the Alder campground, which barely looks like a campground at all. There was a makeshift firepit with slight clearing to put a tent. All in all, a very enjoyable hike with a well-maintained trail. The drive down Camino Cielo to the head of it is the hardest part. If you don't have a pickup truck or some offroad tires, it's going to be very difficult to drive to the trailhead.
Posted: June 6, 2011, 1:17 pm
by: Cross Tie Walker
The Alder Creek trail, however, isn't getting any attention. Lots of treefall, extremely overgrown (mostly with thick poison oak). Ugh. We didn't progress very far from there.
En route back to Divide Peak TH, the rain took a nasty turn and so we made a makeshift shelter from some old corrugated tin at Juncal and hunkered down for some lunch to wait the storm out. It never relented, so after a calorie load we just got back to it and slogged up those last miles. Messy, wet, and very windy, but still a great exploratory.
Some photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/umotamba/sets/72157626776334773/
Posted: August 15, 2010, 4:40 pm
Posted: December 9, 2006, 10:25 pm
by: Chris Chirgwin
Posted: March 23, 2005, 8:28 pm