Backpack to the Ventana Wilderness' Sykes Hot Springs

Backpack to the Ventana Wilderness’ Sykes Hot Springs

San Francisco, California

Backpack to the Ventana Wilderness’ Sykes Hot Springs

The trek to Sykes Hot Springs is about 10-miles one way along the Pine Ridge Trail. This is a great backpacking trip, but can be done as an out-and-back hike from the campgrounds at Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park if you’re really moving.

The trail is moderately challenging, you’ll cross the river twice – be careful in the winter and spring months, when the water runs fast. If it looks too fast, we don’t recommend trying to cross. In the last 0.5 miles, you’ll have to scramble down rocks to get to the hot springs. If you’re reading this and thinking that 20 miles in one day isn’t for you, it’s cool, there are 3 hike in campgrounds, which are closer to the hot springs: Terrace Creek (about 5 miles in), Barlow Flat (3 miles from the hot springs and the largest campground on the trail), and Sykes Campground (right near the springs). Fires are not allowed in these campgrounds during the summer months. There is one toilet along the route, and by toilet, we mean an exposed wooden box with a hole in it. Pro Tip: the hot springs only comfortably seat 4-5 people. It’s best to go during the off-season (not summer) and to get on the trail as early as possible.

Pack List

  • [Stove Permit](
  • Print it and bring it with you
  • Pack
  • 1-2 Liters of water depending on if you're round-tripping it
  • Waterproof hiking boots
  • Water purifier (optional)
  • Tent (optional)
  • Sleeping bag (optional)

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