There are six established hiking trails on the Carrizo Plain National Monument : Soda Lake trail and boardwalk, Overlook Hill, Wallace Creek, Painted Rock, the Caliente Ridge trail and the Caliente Mountain Access Trail.
Overlook Hill is located on the west side of Soda Lake Road, two miles from the north entrance. There is a short, steep, 500 feet long trail from the parking area to the the top. This overlook provides the best view of Soda Lake - don't miss it. There is a restroom and informational kiosk at the parking lot. The Overlook Hill trailhead is located at: N 35° 14' 22.54", W 119° 54' 28.38" (35.239594, -119.907884).
The Soda Lake trail begins at Soda Lake Road, across from Overlook Hill, and takes visitors to the edge of Soda Lake. Round trip, the trail is .9 miles. Soda Lake is dry much of the year but during the wet season, you may see wildflowers, fairy shrimp, avocets, stilts and other shore or aquatic birds. Throughout the remainder of the year, visitors may view one of California´s last remaining alkali wetlands with its unique and rare plant community of very salt tolerant plants. Soda Lake is a massive expanse of alkali and mud with a beauty all its own. A boardwalk begins at the edge of Soda Lake and allows visitors to view the Lake up close while protecting sensitive habitat. It is nearly one-half mile in length. Benches are available for sitting. Construction of the boardwalk was completed in the spring of 2001 primarily by a number of the California Youth Authority with help from volunteers and a local Bakersfield boy scout troop. The actual boardwalk is made out of recycled milk cartons. Restroom facilities and parking are available at the Overlook. Please do not drive to the Lake. The Soda Lake trailhead is located at: N 35° 14' 30.05", W 119° 54' 26.61" (35.24168, -119.907393).
The Wallace Creek trail, on Elkhorn Road, takes visitors up a slight incline for 1/4 mile to view the famous offset creek bed along the San Andreas Fault. Information and parking are available at the site but there are no facilities. The Wallace Creek interpretive trail, which explains the geology of the San Andreas Fault, is a total round trip of 1.4 miles. The Wallace Creek trailhead is located at: N 35° 16' 2.92", W 119° 49' 37.44" (35.267494,-119.827143)
The gently sloping Painted Rock trail is 1.4 miles round trip. Parking and facilities are available at the trail head which leads to the sacred site of Chumash rock art. To access Painted Rock and/or the Painted Rock trail you need a reservation. Reservation must be made at www.recreation.gov or by calling 1-877-444-6777. Visit the Heritage Sites / Painted Rock page for more information. The Painted Rock trailhead is located at: N 35° 9' 14.82", W 119° 51' 56.34" (35.154118,-119.865649).
The trail head for the Caliente Mountain Ridge trail is located about .1 mile north of the ridge on Caliente Mountain Road. This trail ends at Caliente Mountain a distance of 8.3 miles. The trail is a moderate hike along the beautiful Caliente Ridge providing incredible views of much of the Carrizo Plain National Monument and parts of the Cuyama Valley. There is a parking area at the trail head; limited facilities are available below at the Selby Campground at the bottom of the mountains west of Soda Lake Road. The Caliente Mountain Ridge trailhead is located at: N 35° 6' 35.93", W 119° 51' 9.19" 35.109982,-119.852553.
BLM obtained an easment for the Caliente Mountain Access Trail in 1968, about twenty years before BLM acquired lands and access to Caliente Mountain from the east. Trail was constructed during the 1980s. The trail climbs steeply up the southwest flank of Caliente Moutain. The trail head is located on the north side of State Highway 166 just west of the bridge that crosses the Cuyama River about 14 miles west of New Cuyama.
Biking in the Carrizo Plain National Monument is a great way to see many of its hidden beauties while getting in a good workout! Keep in mind that much of the CPNM is sensitive habitat, therefore bicycles are allowed on existing roads only. Livestock trails are not considered roads and are closed to bicycle use.
Be aware that winter rains make roads very slick and impassable within the Monument. During these times access to most trails will not be available.