Cachuma Lake Recreation Area Trails

Six trails ranging from a ¼-mile loop to 12 miles can be explored within the Cachuma Lake Recreation Area. All are shared-use trails (allowing hiking, biking and horseback riding) unless otherwise noted below, and most require a day use fee. Within a 15-minute drive or less, you can also access multiple trailheads in Los Padres National Forest.

  • 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.
  • Mohawk Area Trails extend 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.
  • Don Wimpress 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.
  • Live Oak Trails are over 12 miles of remote trails that that provide spectacular views of the San Raphael and Santa Ynez mountains, as well as Cachuma Lakes remote north shore. There is no biking or dogs (on or off leash) allowed on the Live Oak Trails. The trailhead is six miles south of Cachuma Lake by the Live Oak Camp entrance.
  • Tequepis Trail runs 4 miles one way to the top of the Santa Ynez Mountains ridge line. This is a strenuous trail that is best for hiking. Gorgeous lake views throughout your hike and the reward of a spectacular ocean view awaits you at the top. This trail is not directly accessible from Cachuma Lake, but is reachable 1 ¼ mile away, off Highway 154. From the small parking lot, walk through the camp to the trailhead.

Tips to Make Your Day More 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.