Lanny describing the ecology of Potrero John Creek to 2017 hikers. Photo: Enrique Villaseñor

Nature Hike to Potrero John Camp

May 12, 2018 @ 9:00 am – 4:00 pm
Maricopa Plaza for carpool
1207 Maricopa Highway
Ojai, CA 93023
$25/adults, $20/seniors 62-up, $15/students 13-18. Kids 5-12 free, one per adult. No dogs, please.
Lanny Kaufer
Lanny describing the ecology of Potrero John Creek to 2017 hikers. Photo: Enrique Villaseñor


Ready to escape the burn area and experience the spring wildflowers in the mountains? Please join me and a friendly group of like-minded lovers of the outdoors for a Nature Hike to Potrero John Camp, deep in the Sespe Wilderness of the Los Padres National Forest, on Saturday, May 12.

The hike will take place on Potrero John Creek, 20 miles north of Ojai. We will cover 1.7 miles each way on a mostly level trail with some elevation gain through chaparral and riparian settings, beginning at 3700 feet. Our destination is a (bring-your-own) lunch stop in the shade of a large oak at Potrero John Camp.

Hikers traversing scree on the way into the canyon. Photo: Enrique Villaseñor

The focus will be on identifying both useful and poisonous wild plants and learning about the many ways that they are used by the indigenous Chumash people, herbalists, campers and gardeners for food, medicine, wildcrafting, survival, landscaping and more. The canyon is home to Mariposa Lilies, Incense-Cedar, Bigcone Douglas-Fir, Giant Stinging Nettle, Yerba Santa, Matilija Poppy, Wild Rose, and many more native plants.

We also will look for birds, butterflies and other wildlife and discuss the ecology of the southern Los Padres National Forest, traditional and modern methods of sustainable foraging, resource conservation, and other topics generated by the participants’ interests.

Butterfly Mariposa Lily along Potrero John Creek. Photo: Melinda Angle
Lanny teaching on the trail to Potrero John Camp. Photo: Rondia Kaufer










This hike is presented under a Special Use Permit from the Ojai Ranger District Office of the U.S. Forest Service designed for guides who provide recreational and interpretive services to the public.

The day will begin with a carpool from the Maricopa Plaza parking lot in Ojai at 9:00 am and return there by 4 pm. The cost is $25 for adults,  $20 for seniors 62 and older, and $15 for students 13-18.  Kids 5-12 can go free, one per adult, by prior arrangement. Participants under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. Toddlers must be in a carrier. No dogs or smoking, please.

Register at the link below or by calling 805-646-6281. You will receive a confirmation email with all necessary info. No pre-payment is required, just your promise to let me know as soon as possible if your plans have to change.


(The background photo for this website was taken in the gorge at the mouth of Potrero John Canyon.)

PLEASE NOTE: Light rain will not cancel. Heavy rain or thunderstorms will. Once you register you will receive weather updates.


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