Big Caliente Day Use - Hot Springs

Area Status: Closed
This area is Closed

[image] Big Caliente

Hot Springs

Access to Big and Little Caliente Hot Springs and the Pendola / Upper Santa Ynez Recreation Area (Forest Road 5N12, 5N15, 5N16)

The road to access the Big and Little Caliente Hot Springs and the Pendola / Upper Santa Ynez Recreation Area consists of more than 8 miles of adobe clay roads. Higher clearance vehicles are recommended. The dirt roads are adobe clay, which becomes dangerously slippery to drive on during wet weather. For this reason, gates within the area get closed prior to wet weather events. Please check the Los Padres Forest website for updated information on these gate closures. There are no services in the Pendola Area. There are no phones, limited cell phone coverage, no potable water, no trash service, no gasoline, and limited tow service for automotive repairs. There is no camping at Big and Little Caliente Hot Springs. The Hot Springs are for Day Use Only (6am – 10pm).

Camping is allowed in Campgrounds Only. There are four campgrounds available for camping – Mid Santa Ynez, Rock Camp, P-Bar Flats, and Mono Campgrounds. Mono Campground is a walk-in only campground with 3 sites available. Rock Camp is limited to two vehicles per site with 2 sites available. Mid Santa Ynez and P-Bar Flats have multiple sites and group sites that can all be accessed by vehicle. Fees for camping consist of needing a Forest Adventure Pass. Campground Amenities consist of tables, fire rings, stand-up BBQ’s, and vault toilets.

An Adventure Pass is not required for day use at the hot springs or Forest trailheads. Water in the creeks vary from being extremely low to completely dry. It is recommended that visitors plan to bring their own water in for camping. The Hot Springs still has flowing water. Please check the Los Padres Forest website for updated fire restriction information. All regulations are enforced!

At a Glance

Operational Hours: Day Use Only 6am - 10pm
Reservations: None
Area Amenities: Picnic tables,Toilets,Parking
Fees No fee for day use. Adventure Pass is required for camping overnight in Rock Camp, Middle Santa Ynez, P-Bar Flat and Mono Campgrounds, $5/day or $30 annual pass. You can use an Annual Interagency Pass, Senior Interagency Pass, or Interagency Access Pass in lieu of an Adventure Pass.
Usage: Medium
Best Season: Spring/Summer/Fall
Busiest Season: Spring/Summer
Restrictions: No overnight camping in day use area. Camping is only allowed in Rock Camp, Middle Santa Ynez, P-Bar Flat and Mono Camp. 14 day limit for camping.
Closest Towns: Santa Barbara, approximately 30 miles
Water: none
Restroom: Vault
Operated By: Forest Service
Information Center: Santa Barbara Ranger District Office
3505 Paradise Rd
Santa Barbara, CA 93105
(805) 967-3481

General Information

Directions: From Highway 154 at the San Marcos Pass summit, turn east on East Camino Cielo. Continue for 23 miles to Pendola station. Just beyond the station, turn north on Rd. 5N16 and follow for 3 miles to the picnic area.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



Picnic tables Yes
Toilets Vault Toilet
Parking Yes
Areas & Activities


  Latitude : 

  Longitude : 


[image] Arroyo Seco Day Use Picnic Area

Forest Recreation Informational Brochures

[image] Kirk Creek Campground

Los Padres Partners with Parks Management Company to Manage Forest Recreation Sites

Leave No Trace Logo

Leave No Trace - Outdoor Ethics

Recreate Responsibly

Recreate Responsibly

Bear Safety

Bear Facts and Safety Tips

[image] Tread Lightly Brochure Photo

Tread Lightly! Sharing Our Trails - A Guide To Trail Etiquette Link opens in a Pdf Document

Know Before You Go

Enjoy Your National Forests Safely Know Before You Go! logo

Explore Your America Link opens in a new window

One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire

Visit the One Less Spark, One Less Wildfire Website