This 11-mile out and back takes you to the high hills along backcountry trails for a peaceful night in the backcountry. There are waterfalls to see, plenty of woods and wildlife and nice views from the primitive camping areas.
What Makes It Great
For a quick overnight that nonetheless is a good workout, this is a fine destination. Alder Creek itself is a pleasant stream that flows are different levels at different times of the year. There is an old sluice that runs along the trail near the backcountry campground, a relic from old mining days. The last 1.5 miles to camp (after encountering an old forest sign that incorrectly states "Alder Creek 1/2 mile") is the most rugged terrain you'll encounter.
Who is Going to Love It
Hikers looking for a real wilderness adventure not far from Carpenteria will appreciate this scrappy hike. The camping is peaceful, though finding a flat spot could be a challenge.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Begin at Murietta Juncal Road near the intersection for Romero Camuesa Road at the locked gate. You can park off to the side of the road as long as you don't block the gate. Take Murietta Juncal Road to the Franklin Trail just after you see Jameson Lake/Reservoir on the left. Follow the Old Franklin Trail past the Alder Creek Campground to Camino Cielo/Ocean View. There isn't any signage for Camino Cielo/Ocean View. You can see the ocean, oil rigs and islands from the top. Follow the path back to Alder Creek Campground for an evening of primitive camping.