Distance – 1 mile to Upper Oso
Elevation Gain – 100′
Difficulty – Easy
Topo – San Marcos Pass (trail not on the map)
Though a short hike, this trail provides a nice walk from the Lower Oso area and because it is fairly level, is nice for children. It can be extended into a longer hike by continuing through Upper Oso campground into Oso Canyon or by taking the connector trail up to the Aliso Canyon Nature Trail.
From Lower Oso picnic area, walk up the road leading to Upper Oso for several hundred yards. Just after crossing a bridge look for the trail on the left side of the road. The trail leads across a small creek.
This short trail winds its way through the soft chaparral and a series of meadows to the lower end of the camp at Upper Oso. If you would like to continue further, walk to the upper end of the campground until you get to a road that leads across Oso Creek to the horse camp. The trail to Nineteen Oaks begins here, crossing and re-crossing the Oso Narrows numerous times before intersecting with the Santa Cruz Trail.
On the west side of the horse camp you will find the connector trail leading to Aliso Canyon. The gain is substantial – about 350′ over the next half mile, but does provide access to high country overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley and San Rafael Mountains.
If you’ve shuttled a car to Sage Hill campground, you can continue along Aliso Canyon Trail. This provides a hike of from 3 to 4 miles, depending on which direction you head on this trail.