Friday, October 5, 2018

North Fork Lockwood to Lilly Meadows

North Fork Trailhead Sign

On my Quest to venture into new places In the Los Padres I decided to go check out Lilly Meadows Trail Camp In the Chumash Wilderness. My last outing in the Chumash from Mt Pinos put me in the general vicinity however I didn't quite make it down south enough to hit Lilly. This time I would take a much shorter Route starting from the opposite Direction. 

Turn onto Boy Scout Camp Rd

The easiest and shortest way to reach Lilly meadows as an out and back is to start at BSA Camp Three Falls. Located at 12260 Boy Scout Camp Rd, Frazier Park Ca 93225. Form Santa Clarita take the 5 freeway North and exit Frazier mountain Rd. Turn left under the bridge and continue straight until reaching Lockwood Valley road. Turn left onto Lockwood and continue on until Boy Scout camp road. Make a right on Boy Scout and drive about 3 miles until the road ends. 

Park Here do not drive through the gate

Unless your an active Scout you will need to park outside of the black gate pictured above. Once parked continue on foot through the gate and onto the paved road. You will walk about a quarter mile through the camp to reach the dirt service Road. Keep in mind this is private property. The scout camp was impressive I noticed it was complete with Rock climbing wall, Indian style tepees and all sorts of other interesting things. If I had a son he would definitely be attending here. 

Walking through the boyscout camp

About a quarter mile in just past the boyscout parking area the pavement ends and you come to a forest service road(8N31) with chain across. This is your route continue straight onto the dirt road pictured below.

Start of forest service road(8N31)

Follow the road along Lockwood Creek (which was dry on this trip in most places as to be expected this time of year). Through the Pinon and Juniper dotted landscape. You will execute multiple creek crossings again all dry this time and you will get some great views of the surrounding peaks and Rock Formations. Keep an eye to your west or left for the Volcanic looking Rock mountains in the Distance.

Interesting Rock Formations to your east

Volcanic Looking Rock Formations(subaqueous fan delta deposits)

At 2.5 miles in you will come to a junction (pictured below) If you continue straight on the fire road for about another 600 feet the road ends at North Fork Falls. 

Lilly Meadow Junction

It is worth the short walk to go visit the falls. Although there was only a trickle coming out I'm glad I got too see it. I'm sure during the spring it is a formidable sight . North Fork Falls is the biggest of 3 waterfalls in the area which give the Scout's Camp its name. 

North Fork Falls

Just A trickle of water coming down the falls this morning

After visiting the falls head back to the Lilly Junction make a hard left onto a narrow single track and continue on for approximately one mile. The North Fork trail is well maintained throughout all the way to Lilly meadows Camp and beyond. Here shortly after the junction you will be entering into the Chumash Wilderness. 

Enter the Chumash Wilderness

This last mile is the hardest part as it's a continually uphill grade for most of the way. The beginning quarter mile being the steepest until above the falls. Notice in the upper reaches the landscape begins to change from the scrub and Pinons to Live oaks and Jeffrey Pines. The air up here is crisp with a fresh pine scent, very nice and refreshing. This spot above the falls also provides a great photo opportunity down into Lockwood Valley.

View south into Lockwood Valley Hines Peak in the distance

Continuing on you will reach Lilly meadows Trail Camp(6,632') at about the 3.7 mile mark. The Camp  is situated in a wide open meadow, complete with fire ring and picnic table.

Lilly Meadows Trail Camp

Water was dry around the camp but you can find some back along the trail not too far away if needed. The upper reaches of Lockwood Creek did have some accessible water in certain places. Lilly would make for a nice easy overnight stay, the only downside right now being the strict fire restrictions happening throughout the the Los Padres. You could also continue on up the trail to Sheep Camp and beyond to Mt Pinos if you were feeling adventurous. When In the Chumash Wilderness be alert to your surroundings as you never know what you'll encounter along the trail. I found a nice surprise this morning Pictured below.

 Chumash Rock Art

 More Paintings

 Erosion is taking its toll

If you don't already know what your seeing pictured above is Chumash Indian Rock Art (Pictographs) These Rare sights can be found in multiple places in the Los Padres National forest if you know where to look. Without putting a mark on the map and or giving out the exact coordinates I will go as far as to say you can find a small collection of these on a certain Rock Formation South of Lilly Camp. The GPS track and map below have been scrubbed of its exact location to preserve the site integrity. In the past vandals have destroyed many of these sacred sites. If you find them please treat them with respect and remember never to touch or disturb the fragile paintings. Many of these are hundreds if not thousands of years old. If you would like to read more about these I advise you to pick up a copy of Rock Paintings of the Chumash by Campbell Grant, it is a very interesting and fascinating book about the history of the Chumash and the ever so sacred Rock Paintings.

Deer Hanging at the Boy scout Camp

Once your done at Lilly if your not continuing further on just return the same way you came in. On my way back into the Boy Scout Camp I came upon a few Deer. My total mileage for the days adventure was 7.3 As usual it was another fun and rewarding trip Lost In The Los Padres.

Download GPS Track (GPS Units)
Download KMZ File (Google Earth)

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