Sespe River Trail Swimming Holes

Sespe Wilderness – Willet Hot Springs Trail – Rose Valley

It can be a hot walk in, but if you are in search of a swimming hole, there a few to be found in this area.

The Sespe River Trail, a part of the Los Padres National Forest, begins at the Piedras Blancas Trailhead in Rose Valley. An Adventure Pass is required to park in the parking lot, and pit toilets are located at the parking area. (Adventure Passes can be obtained from the Wheeler Gorge Visitor’s Center.) From the parking area at Piedras Blancas, begin walking the mellow, well-maintained trail and cross a shallow bit of water. Follow the trail and be ready for multiple creek crossings, some of which will require taking off your walking shoes and wading. Other crossings have logs and rocks for a drier crossing.

Little trails leading off the main trail will take you to nice swimming holes in Sespe Creek as soon as one mile from the trailhead. A place that is generally deep for swimming is at Bear Creek Campground, where Bear Creek and Sespe Creek meet. Bear Creek Campground is four and a half miles from the trailhead. Although most of the trail is in the sun, Bear Creek Campground does have good shade. This trail can get very hot in summer months, making the swim all the more satisfying. Early summer some wildflowers can still be seen on the trail.


Take Highway 33 to the Rose Valley turnoff. Take it to the Piedra Blanca Trailhead. It’s about a 45 minute drive from Ventura.