Chumash Wilderness Backpacking in the Los Padres National Forest

Chumash Wilderness Backpacking: Trail Map

Over Memorial Day weekend, Dana and I did a 3-day backpacking trip in the Chumash Wilderness and hiked the Tumamait trail. We entered the Los Padres National Forest on highway 33 near Sespe Wilderness. From there, we drove through Los Padres National Forest for about 1.5 hours and started our backpacking trip near Mount Pinos peak at 8,300 feet elevation. I highly recommend taking the time and driving through Los Padres National Forest, rather than taking the 101 south and driving up the 5 freeway. The roads are empty and you will see some amazing scenery.

The first leg of our trip peaked at about 8,800 feet elevation (Mount Pinos). From there we descended for about 6 miles to about 6,000 feet elevation and set camp at Mesa Springs campground. The views at Mesa Springs were breath-taking.

The next morning, we started our journey from Mesa Springs in the west and hiked east to Sheep Camp where we set camp for the night. Unfortunately the only trail that goes back to Sheep Camp is the trail we came from. Therefore we bushwhacked east for about 3-4 miles to Boyscout Road (see trail map). It was fairly cold and we welcomed the hot chocolate from a boyscout group that we met at our campsite.

The last leg of the trip was a 4 mile hike from our campsite back to the car near Mount Pinos peak. It was a great adventure!

Backpacker Magazine has another great recommendation for a backpacking trip in the Chumash Wilderness (it inspired our trip).

Trip Highlights:

  • Length: About 18 miles
  • 5,000+ feet in elevation gain (get ready for a workout)
  • Don’t miss the amazing views from Mesa Springs
  • Due to the high elevation, you can expect snow as late as in June (bring warm clothes)
  • Overall Difficulty: 

Below some pictures from our trip:

1 thought on “Chumash Wilderness Backpacking in the Los Padres National Forest”

  1. Los Padres National Forest is so beautiful and there are a ton of great hikes in there worth mentioning but yes the Chumash hike is one of the best! Rigorous and long but well worth it in the end. Lots of nature and on a clear day you couldn’t ask to be in a better place. I did this hike with a few old friends from my UCSB days a few months back during a reunion and it was so awesome. I’m not as in shape as I was 6 years ago but hey I still got through it!! We did this exact trail and it was a lot of fun. Went to the beach afterwards and cooled off and over all it was a great day.

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