San Ysidro Trail – Los Padres National Forest

Where: Los Padres National Forest
Mileage: 10.2 miles
Difficulty: Moderate to Hard
Elevation gain: 3000 feet
Type: Out-and-back

To get to the trailhead: From US 101 South take San Ysidro exit. Turn left on San Ysidro. East Valley Rd. make a right. Park Lane. will be your next left, but keep an eye out because it’s not well marked. Park Lane make a left. East Mountain Drive turn left. Park at the end of the road. Make sure you read the signs, because it is in a residential area. The trailhead is well marked by a sign at the end of the road.

I was itching for a hike and was willing to drive a couple hours. San Ysidro Trail is about a 2 hour drive from Los Angeles. It’s located in a beautiful mountainous neighborhood called Montecito. From what I hear, the waterfall is best to visit after a strong rain. There were no rains recently, but I was willing to take a chance to see even was little trickle of water flowing in the area.

The trailhead begins in the backyard of some residential homes and offers shade for only the first part of the trail. Because of this, I would recommend bringing a hat for cover. After about a half a mile of traversing through the neighborhood back trails, I reached a part of the trail that begins the treacherous uphill. At this point it was no more houses, the brush became thicker, but no trees overhead to give shade for those on the trail.

There wasn’t much water flowing, but on the way up I did see an area where I would be able to take a quick swim on the way back down. Took about 2 hours to get to the top. The elevation gain is about 3,000 ft especially high amount within 5.1 miles. When you get to the top, you get quite the view of the beach and the surround area of the Los Padres National Forest on the other side. I spent a good half hour basking in the sun at the top, ate a quick bite and headed down back to the small little swimming hole I found earlier on the way up.

After a quick refreshing swim, I went back to the car and finished up for the day. Took about a two hour drive home. Not too far of a drive for a good amount of mileage.

Note to self: Come back after a rainfall or early spring to experience more water.

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