East Lion Camp (Sespe Wilderness)

View from trail approaching East Lion Camp.

East Lion Camp has two sites adjacent to each other. The two sites are really close together, and if both are taken by different parties, it dramatically reduces the sense of solitude one typically is after when backpacking.

The main camp is set beneath two massive, towering pine trees aside the east fork of Lion Creek, which flows in its entirety only seasonally, but the canyon closes together just above the camp to form several small waterfalls and the creek typically flows here year round. The camp has an airy open feel to it and is far more desirable than West Lion Camp.

A view looking north showing both camps.

The second, smaller camp.

A trickle of water flowing over the falls in November before the winter rains turn it into a raging torrent.

Trailside view looking south up Lion Canyon on the way to the campsites.

Directions: Highway 33 out of Ojai to Rose Valley Road. Trailhead is located off Rose Valley Road at the drive-up Middle Lion Campground.

Middle Lion Campground Trailhead—>2.4 miles to West Lion Camp (3470′). The trail is an easy, fairly flat hike with little incline.

A view looking from the summit of Pine Mountain near Pine Mountain Lodge Camp and over the Piedra Blanca rock formation, just seen on the lower right, and the Sespe Creek valley. Rose Valley Road can be seen and Lion Canyon. The red dots show the approximate locations of East and West Lion Camps. (click image to enlarge)

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3 Responses to East Lion Camp (Sespe Wilderness)

  1. Claudia says:

    I hiked into East Fork Lion Camp yesterday…the weather was perfect and the sites are still as nice as they were when I camped there in 2003. It was a little too cold and wet to explore farther up the waterfalls, but there was a nice pool to sit by.

  2. cahikerchick says:

    I hiked to East Fork Lion Camp yesterday. It was an absolutely beautiful day. The campground had just been vacated by a group of boyscouts…couldn’t even tell they had been there. The waterfall was a little trickle and it was too wet to explore farther up to the other falls. But there was a nice blue pool that was perfect to sit by. I camped here in 2003, and it still looks the same. What a beautiful hidden gem. I initially found this camp thru Dennis Gagnon’s “Santa Barbara Backcountry HIkes” and, as I recall, he called it Blue Spruce Camp. Whatever it’s name, it is a great destination for an hour or a day.

  3. Jim says:

    Very easy hike to a 4star camp ground destination. Middle Lion was completely full and I thought “this is interesting”. Backpacked into East Lion and total seclusion with a cool little waterfall and pond. Talk about landing on your feet. Has anyone bushwhacked up the stream and waterfall?

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