Virtual Guidebook to El Camino Real
The Arroyo Seco-Indians Road
Los Padres National Forest California


This narrow dirt road follows the Arroyo Seco River through a dramatic gorge then climbs high up on the precipitous mountainsides. It continues all the way to The Indians and Mission San Antonio. I drove it in my Volkswagen "beetle" in 1967, a memorable adventure. Unfortunately it was blocked by landslides in the winter of 1994-95 and has never reopened.

The Arroyo Seco Gorge has been called the Grand Canyon of central California. The mountains rise thousands of feet from the river with consistently steep chaparral-cloaked slopes. Travel is almost impossible except on maintained roads/trails or along the bed of the river.

There are two reasons to follow this road - on foot, horseback or mountain bike. One is the rugged grandeur of the scenery and the extensive network of trails leading back into the Ventana Wilderness Area. The other is the series of deep swimming holes along the river, cool even in the blazing heat of summer. Some serious hikers combine the two and travel along the riverbed, in some places with no option except to swim.



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The narrowest place in the Arroyo Seco Gorge

(May 6, 2006)


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Above a swimming hole on the Arroyo Seco River

(May 6, 2006)


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Horse Bridge over the Arroyo Seco River at Willow Creek

(May 6, 2006)


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Santa Lucia Creek from the Arroyo Seco-Indians Road

(May 6, 2006)


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High above Santa Lucia Creek on the Arroyo Seco-Indians Road

(May 6, 2006)


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Across from Willow Creek on the Arroyo Seco-Indians Road

(May 6, 2006)


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The wild interior of the Santa Lucia Mountains,from the Arroyo Seco-Indians Road

(May 6, 2006)


Next Locality: The Hearst Hacienda