Camuesa Connector -



Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult • Mileage: 7.3
Location: Lower Santa Ynez River
Features: Viewpoint, Loop Trip, Out & Back
User Type: Hiking, Equestrian Trail, Mountain Biking, Dog Walking, Trail Running


This trail gets relatively little use, making it nice for a more secluded hike. The trail leads up and across a high bench with nice views overlooking the pool at Live Oak. Above, it cuts across a series of saddles formed by a fault line. The area was burned in a 2,000 acre fire which was caused by a faulty muffler igniting the grass near the Falls picnic area. Now it is in the process of recovering and makes an excellent place to see the chaparral fire cycle in operation. If you have a shuttle you can continue the hike all the way to Upper Oso.

The Basics

  • Length : 4 miles to Buckhorn Road; 7.3 to Upper Oso (requires shuttle).
  • Gain : 1250’ to Buckhorn Road.
  • Difficulty : Moderate to strenuous.
  • Path : Single track
  • Season : All year.
  • Restrictions : Multi-Use; expect to encounter mountain bikes.
  • Canine : Ok for dogs off leash.
  • Points of Interest : Viewpoint,Loop Trip,Out & Back

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Trail Facts

Difficulty: Moderate to Difficult
Points of Interests: Viewpoint, Loop Trip, Out & Back
User Types: Hikers, Equestrians, Mountain Bikers, Dog Walker, Trail Runners
Locations: Lower Santa Ynez River

Get Directions To The Trailhead

Driving Directions
Get Directions to Camuesa Connector which is located at 34.5363,-119.735.

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Access / Getting There

  1. Follow Highway 154 over San Marcos Pass to Paradise Road.
  2. Turn right on Paradise and follow it for 5 miles to the first Santa Ynez River crossing. You will need to have an Adventure Pass or purchase one there to park anywhere inside the Lower Santa Ynez Recreation Area.
  3. After crossing the river continue 1.5 miles past Lower Oso and look for the trailhead. 
  4. A metal sign notes its location, which is a somewhat nondescript spot on the banks of the Santa Ynez River. Look for a split in the road (an oak tree in the road’s center) look for the trail sign on the left. 


Download Directions: Download PDF Map Directions

Get Directions To The Trailhead

Driving Directions
Get Directions to Camuesa Connector which is located at 34.5363,-119.735.

Use "Current Location" to start from your location or enter your city or zip to start from a new location.

Print Directions

Things to Know


Trip Log

On The Trail

Camuesa means “buckskin” in Spanish and I’m sure the trail was originally developed to provide access to hunting grounds in the Little Pine area.The trail has a nice quality to it. Rugged and remote, it seems a land that belongs more to the creatures that live here than to us humans, though whether through wildfire or prescribed burn we impact it a lot. 

It is a trail that doesn’t really lead anywhere; rather it is a connector to someplace  else. Yet that is okay. Whether you hike only up onto the bluffs overlooking the river or continue all the way to Upper Oso, it is a trail that I think you will enjoy.

While the river crossing is usually safe (if you drove here you can probably wade across) at certain times of the year this may provide your biggest challenge. The trailhead begins at the upper end of a long meadow and meanders up onto the top of an equally long bluff formed from sandstone. The top of it is grass covered and especially pretty, with plenty of places to walk over to the edge of the bluff. There are lots of good spots for sunbathing or picnics.

At the east end of the bluff the trail begins to rise, switching back to the west and up through a “window” formed by two tall hills onto a second, higher bench. It then rises again up a ridge, gaining several hundred feet, then drops into the first of several small canyons. This one is narrow and the trail goes directly up it and into a tiny oak-filled meadow. Beyond this the countryside has been blackened by wildfire, and it has a different kind of beauty—that of nature’s fire cycle—the chaparral undergoing the process of renewal.

 From there several switchbacks wind through an oak forest to a large saddle (a nice resting spot). One more drop and another, longer, climb to a saddle bring you to the high point on the Camuesa Trail and a view out over a large grass meadow to the Buckhorn Road. 

The scenic route to Upper Oso from here is right on the Buckhorn Road. The road climbs up to the right and then turns back to the left. A half mile up from the meadow start looking for a trail that leads off to the left. It is a little bit obscure but you should be able to find it. This is the Old Mine Road which drops down into the upper end of Oso Canyon. Serpentine outcroppings provide ample color and a nice contrast to the grasses, whether they be golden yellow or vibrant green. A mile down this road, turn left on a trail that leads to Nineteen Oaks (it is also a bit obscure). The trail drops for a half mile into the campground. Fifty yards below this is the Santa Cruz Trail. Follow this down-canyon for a mile and just before reaching the lower Buckhorn Road, look for a trail that drops down to the creek. This allows you to avoid walking on the road. From here it is another three-quarter mile to Upper Oso.


On The Bike

On The Run

On The Walk

Last Updated: Monday, July 27, 2015