In Carpinteria over the last year few years, much has been talked about regarding the revitalization and reopening of the historic Franklin Trail. Well, after years of fundraising and trail work, Phase 1 of the Franklin Trail Project is officially open to exploration.
Wife and I parked at the end of Meadowview Lane and were immediately greeted by the first of many well-marked, obvious trail signs.
We followed the paved bike path north, up to Foothill/192, crossed the street towards Carp High School, and followed the trail west…in front of the school. Don’t worry, this place is heaven for people who like signs.
After passing the second large Franklin Trail sign, the path/easement veers north again, around the high school property. This part of the trail is admittedly boring but it’s a necessary easement and is effective enough. We passed the football field, then veered east and then north again, away from the high school and into an avocado orchard. (Note: Out of respect for our adjacent neighbors to the trail, please leave all of the hanging avo’s alone)
After passing a semi-steepish hill (about a mile in), the true fun part of the trail begins. The hard packed dirt easement and chain-link fence turns into loose soil, switchbacks, chapparal, prickly pears, and incline. The hike begins…finally!
The fire road is right around the 2.0 mile mark for this hike. I decided to explore a little bit (without passing any of the no trespassing signs). To the right, just a short way down is a power-tower that overlooks Carpinteria. The view is amazing. However, the Franklin Trail continues not this way (east) but instead west. Wife and I continued.
At about the 2.1 mile marker, we came upon “Frank’s Bench.” It’s a nice little overlook but nothing monumental. However, this will probably be a great turnaround point for many casual hikers. We hung out for a moment and continued up the road, following the Franklin Trail signs.
We came upon a gate at 2.4 miles. This gate had plenty of signs letting us know that we could not pass here until Phase 2 of the project has been completed. However, we were able to get a wonderful look at the back country above Carp – something that has been elusive up until the building of this trail.
This path will eventually go a few miles farther north towards Divide Peak and Jamison Lake. That will be a wonderful dayhike and backpack trip. However, until then, this works.
We retraced our steps and while still on the fire road, I noticed the biggest black bear tracks I’ve ever seen in California.
Seriously, this is a huge bear. My Keen is a size 14. Anyways, we got back to the trail head after about an hour and a half of casual hiking. There are prettier trails in our front country but all things considered, this is a cool little hike and I’ll be spending much more time up there.
|time: 1:48:00||calories burned: 1500|
|distance: 4.68 miles r/t||calories consumed: 0|
|elevation gain: 920′||water consumed: .75L|
|weather: 75 and sunny|