Potrero John Creek Trail Professional Reviews and Guides
"Potrero John is a great little sport-bolted crag just up the road from Sespe Gorge, and was most likely developed as the answer to the traditional routes found at Sespe. The earliest recorded ascents can be traced back to Yvon Chouinard and Henry Barber climbing the thin seam up the middle of the wall, most likely a great testing ground for some of Yvon’s new gear he was making. It wasn’t until the mid-1990s that Reese Martin came in and re-bolted many of the older bolts placed along the wall. In the late 1990s Matt Polk and Dan Frame added a couple of newer lines, rounding this area out to a good half-day crag."
--Damon Corso, Best Climbs Santa Barbara and Ventura (Falcon Guides).
"From the turnout along CA 33, this easy hike follows Potrero John Creek from its confluence with the Sespe to a campsite set beneath large live oaks. A more chal- lenging rock-hop beyond camp leads to a series of waterfalls. The canyon is named for John Power, who lived in the area in the late 19th century."
--Craig R. Carey, Hiking and Backpacking Santa Barbara and Ventura (Wilderness Press).
"The Potrero John Trail is an uncrowded, lightly used trail in the 220,000-acre Sespe Wilderness, part of Los Padres National Forest. The hike begins at an elevation of 3,655 feet where Potrero John Creek empties into Sespe Creek. The trail follows Potrero John Creek through a narrow gorge and up the canyon. There is also an open meadow dotted with red baked manzanita and views of the surrounding mountains. At the trail's end is Potrero John Camp, a creekside flat shaded with oaks."
--Robert Stone, Day Hikes in Ventura County, California (Day Hike Books).
its got some good scenery, and cold water, but different from what i read about potrero john, this was one of the most crowded trails in the area.
The trail is a little hard to spot, indicated by a very small roadside sign. Parking is somewhat scarce across the street, but the trail also is not very crowded so that's not a problem.
The beginning of the trail is beautiful. As you make your way away from the road, you zig-zag across a stream that you follow for almost the whole trail. It's a peaceful walk given that it's a little off the beaten path and not very frequented by other hikers, and the fact that the trail is nestled between hills on both sides.
As you continue walking, you make your way further into the canyon. The trail is fairly flat and easy. About an hour into the walk I came upon a creek-side haven where there were a couple of families that had pitched tents -- a beautiful spot if you can get it for the weekend.
I was a little disappointed that this trail didn't culminate with some hilltop view or anything, but I'm not sure I reached the end. I kind of just got bored after I reached the campsite, as the trail was becoming increasingly more narrow and the landscape became more dry.
In all, it's a worthwhile hike but I'll be checking out other ones in the area to find something spectacular.
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