Tequepis Trail (dayhike)

Trip Date: 5/17/2015

Location: Los Padres National Forest

Permit/Pass: None

Trails: santabarbarahikes Map 

Directions: (from santabarbarahikes), From the Mission, corner of Laguna and Los Olivos Street in Santa Barbara - Get on US 101 going northbound by taking Laguna St. to Mission St. (toward the ocean). Turn right on Mission St. Follow Mission St. to the freeway and take US 101 north. Take the Lake Cachuma/Highway 154 exit. Follow signs to Highway 154 and turn right on to 154. Head up the mountains and down the other side. As you see Cachuma Lake on your right, stay on the lookout for your turnoff, which will be on your left. You are looking for signs that say Camp Whittier, St. Vincent de Pauls Circle V camp and Camp Allegre. There is a very prominent sign for Camp Allegre, which is a Boy Scout camp, that you will see, but don't turn there. You want the next turn off, which also has a Camp Allegre sign, but much smaller. You should probably see the Camp Whittier sign there with it. Just as you turn left here from 154 you see two ways you can go. Take the left. It should be marked with a Circle V sign (like a branding iron symbol.) You are going to be parking at the Circle V camp, which is the St. Vincent de Paul's camp. Don't take any of the turns on this horribly pot-holed, dusty road. Just stay on it all the way to the end, where there is a little parking area on the right where you should park, and a gate on the left, where the camp is and also where the trailhead is. Park in the parking lot. You don't need an Adventure Pass to park your car. The hike begins at the gate. You will be walking through the camp.

Synopsis: This trail offers some fine views of Cachuma Lake to the north and the northern mountains of the Los Padres National Forest. Presumably once you reach the ridge there are great views of the ocean and the Channel Islands to the south. We cannot confirm this, as on the day we took the hike (a steady uphill trek so be prepared to work a bit) a cold wind was howling over the ridge bringing with it thick clouds. The rest of the hike was quite nice, with plenty of wildflowers along the trail.

Trail sequence: connector through St. Vincent de Paul facility / Tequepis Trail / summit / Tequepis / connector return

Type: Out and back

Distance: 8 miles

Elevation: Min. - 1141', Max. - 3506'


Rating: Moderate-Difficult (factors: steady uphill)

Trail Notes: The conditions along most of this trail are pretty good, especially those parts that travel under forest canopy. Keep an eye out for the nice madrone specimen about halfway up the trail.

Tequepis Trail - Los Padres NF 

Turn by Turn:

 -- After passing through the gate continue up the road past the pool and bathrooms on the left. Further along you pass a few more buildings before the road turns to the right and splits. Here you'll find the trailhead.

  -- From here on the trail is pretty straightforward, climbing gently and traveling due south for a stretch before leaving the road/path and taking a trail off to the left (east). Watch for the signs here or you'll end up following the wrong trail.

  -- At this point you begin a series of switchbacks that brings the hiker to the top of the ridge and the junction with Camino Cielo, a dirt road which runs along the ridge top. From here you can either turn right (west) on the road to continue to the broadcast station, or turn around and head back.

  -- On the return trip, watch once again for the right turn that takes you to the north for the return trip the trailhead. Walk back through the retreat buildings and pass through the gate to the parking lot.


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