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Santa Barbara Hikes

Indian Creek Trail

This trail may not be accessible due to recent fires and floods. The trail itself may be okay, and its inaccessibility may be due to road closures.

Indian Creek

[out of 5]
 *  *  *  * 1/2
For:Overgrown, exposed to the sun, long, with places where the trail is hard to find. Not steep.
Diane at Indian Creek Swimming hole
Diane at Indian Creek Swimming hole

This trail has been burned up by the Rey Fire. I don't know when it will be open again.

I suggest Indian Creek be hiked on a gorgeous spring day after the rains have made the flowers bloom. Then enjoy walking through carpets of happy little yellow flowers and a late afternoon skinny dip in the most inviting pool, complete with a champagne bubble Jacuzzi and a lap pool current to swim against.

Indian Creek Trail is a very long trail with one end near Mono campground and the other near Bluff Camp, which is a Forest Service Station accessible only by foot, unless you're a ranger with free range to drive anywhere in the back country you want. The trail description is for a level 15 mile round trip day hike. Since the trail is so very overgrown, and you'll have to wade through some poison oak, push your way through a lot of brush, and cross innumerable creek crossings, it is optional to do the whole entire thing. Just turn around when you get tired. The only reason to do the whole thing is that the further upstream you go the prettier it gets.

This hike starts at Mono and requires over an hour drive from Santa Barbara on a dreadful, dirt road. But that pool and the flowers in springtime make it worthwhile.

The hike also begins kind of dismally in some rather harshly arid conditions, but the further upstream you go, the prettier it gets. This is also way back country, making this trail a great portal to a serious, multi-day back pack trip. Don't let all these words deter you; I'm just letting you know what you're in for!

The hike described here is a 14 mile day hike.

You will need an Adventure PassPass to park your car in the area.

Boulder, CO Leave No Trace Frountcountry program

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On a related note, very dry up Mono Creek to the narrows as of 6/8/13. A few spots dotted along the way to filter water, but those probably won't last too much longer with the heat now.
Posted by: Jeff  on  2013-06-10
[quote:6da4867fb7="kirby805"]This guy was up there in April: I don't know him, but his blog is always a great read.[/quote:6da4867fb7] Stillman is golden.
Posted by: Sittingbull  on  2013-06-04
This guy was up there in April: I don't know him, but his blog is always a great read.
Posted by: kirby805  on  2013-05-27
Has anyone hiked it this year?
Posted by: Sittingbull  on  2013-05-25
We did a couple of trips down Indian Creek trail, between January and May of 2012. The trail is easy to follow and open to Buckhorn Creek and on to the Meadows campsite. The trail is substantially overgrown from the Meadows to Indian Creek Camp. We did a backpacking trip out to Indian Creek campsite in May and were forced to wade in the water for the last couple of miles due to extremely heavy overgrowth of poison oak, thickets covering the trail at least 5 feet high. At the time of our last trip, in May, there was substantial water flow throughout the stream up to the 2 stage waterfall above Indian Camp. It is generally a nice hike, but if you are at all sensitive to poison oak I wouldn't suggest going beyond the meadows campsite. Buckhorn Trail: In addition to Indian Creek Trail, we also took one unfortunate hike down Buckhorn Trail. This hike is likely much less popular due to access to the area, however if anyone is considering it, I wouldn't recommend going up to Buckhorn road from the creek. The trail down from Buckhorn Rd. is extremely overgrown and has several trees down on the path, which are difficult to get around. In addition it is very difficult to follow the trail due to the level of overgrowth. The trail that follows Buckhorn creek to where it joins Indian Creek, is slightly better. The trail is still difficult to follow in areas and requires wading through large patches of poison oak. The campsite at Lower Buckhorn is a little overgrown, and the picnic table is unfortunately no longer standing. I would recommend using the Meadows campsite instead of Lower Buckhorn if possible. On a side note, Buckhorn has been dry in its upper reaches at least since April. It is likely dry farther down now, so I would be cautious in using it as a water source if you choose to explore it's upper reaches and tributaries.
Posted by: hikerheidi  on  2012-07-30
As part of a longer hike in earlier this month (see [url][/url]), I hiked Indian Canyon from Bluff Station through to Romero-Camuesa Road. The stretch from Bluff down past Blue Jay, Poplar and Pens is passable, but there's one especially thick section of downed trees just upstream from Blue Jay (before the creek crossings begin). It's also thick with some treefall in the narrow section downstream from Blue Jay, but improves once en route to Poplar. [url=][img:5ae6b45ebb][/img:5ae6b45ebb][/url] It's a rockhop from Pens to Indian Camp: long and -- with the water levels pretty healthy at the moment -- quite wet. Lots of cat and bear prints. Heavy on the PO (ugh). From Indian Camp, the trail's in great shape. The upper section is well-flagged and the crossings easy spot en route to Meadow. From Meadow on it's great all the way out to the road. CTW
Posted by: Cross Tie Walker  on  2011-02-26