Willett Hot Springs
Sespe Wilderness, Los Padres National Forest
February 15-17, 2014
I had a great weekend backpacking 20 miles in the Sespe Wilderness north of Ojai
with Sonya and Nick. I've wanted to hike to Willett Hot Springs since I read about
it about 15 years ago. It's a beautiful spot 9.5 miles from the nearest trailhead and
we had it all to ourselves! It was very nice to soak in the 100 degree water after
the tough hike in. It's a lot of up and down hiking and little shade and since it's been
a dry year the river is only flowing intermittently. But we found a great private
campsite along the river and its cottonwoods. It was chilly at night but warm during
the day and we stopped at a beautiful cold swimming hole on the way out. We saw a
fox, frogs, turtles, hawks, woodpeckers, jays, a few early wildflowers, lots of cool
rock formations and fossils.  We enjoyed the just past full moon and the stars were
also bright.  Very glad to have finally visited another wilderness area on the Los
Padres National Forest, which has 10!
See the face in the rocks?
Lunch spot on the river
Oak Flat where we camped along the river and left
of the uptilted rock
The steep side trail to the hot springs - it was about here that Nick
got vertigo and had to turn around.  Sonya and I continued up to find
the place deserted - perfect :)
There was a kite in the old shed near Willett Camp
Kerr Spring is shaded by Bigcone Douglas Firs and alders
photo by Sonya
Perfect cold swimming hole
Approaching Willett Camp - the hot springs are in
the side canyon at about the center of this photo