Cachuma Hiking & Trails

Self-Guided Hikes

Five trails ranging from a ¼ loop to four miles one way can be explored within Cachuma Lake Recreation Area. Within 15 minutes drive or less, you can access multiple hiking trailheads in Los Padres National Forest. Pick up a trail guide at Cachuma Lake.

  • Sweetwater Trail

    is 2 ½ miles one way between the campgrounds and Bradbury Dam Overlook. Offers good bird watching at either trailhead. Pick up the trail from the campground at Harvey Cove, or from the Overlook at the parking lot.
  • Oak Canyon Nature Trail

    is ½ mile one way. Access the trailhead at the Cachuma Nature Center or on the road to Cachuma trailer storage.
  • Mohawk Loop

    is ¼ mile around the peninsula, passing by a fishing pier. Offers good bird watching. Trailhead can be found at Mohawk Mesa.
  • Mohawk Area Trail

    extends 1 ½ miles. Informal trails nearby meander through fields and woods. Good bird watching at Jackrabbit Flats. The trailhead is at the creek foot bridge in the Mohawk camping area.
  • Tequepis Trail

    runs 4 miles one way to the Santa Ynez Mountains ridge line. This trail is not directly accessible from the Recreation Area, but is reachable 1 ¼ mile away, off Highway 154. From the parking lot, walk through the camp to the trailhead. As this is Los Padres National Forest land a US Forest Service Adventure Pass is required for parking.

Tips to Make Your Day Most Enjoyable

  • Please enjoy; don't destroy. All plants, animals, natural features, and archaeological resources are protected by law and may not be removed, altered, damaged, or injured.
  • Bring bottled water, hat, sunscreen, and some food.
  • Wear seasonally appropriate clothing and sturdy shoes.
  • Be kind to fellow explorers. Some folks want a fast workout; others are leisurely watching wildlife or inspecting wildflowers along the trail.
  • Keep your distance from wildlife. Do not, under any circumstances, try to touch or feed an animal. Avoid the poison oak! Many people are allergic to it, and develop itchy skin rashes after touching the plant or clothing covered with the plant's oils. Because it is native to the area, and many animals and insects rely on it for food and shelter, we control it only in heavily trafficked areas.

Take These Precautions

  • Stay on designated trails
  • Wear long pants and long sleeves
  • Change and wash clothing after hiking
  • Bathe your pets! Oils on your pet can spread to you.
  • Learn what the plant looks like at our Nature Center.