The total length of the trail from the trailhead to Nordhoff Road is 5.1 miles. There are several spots on the trail that make for nice rest stops or, if looking for a shorter run option, good spots to turn around.
From the trailhead, head northeast on Horn Canyon Trail on a wide dirt path; in about 0.5 mile the trail narrows. At about 0.7 miles, runners enter Los Padres National Forest. The trail crosses Thatcher Creek several times; just before the fourth crossing (about one mile up the trail) runners can opt to follow a faint path up the creek, which leads to nice cascades and pools (not mapped). This makes for a great resting place, or for a shorter run, is an excellent spot to turn around. If continuing on up the trail, head back to and follow the main trail.
At about 2.6 miles, runners will reach The Pines, a former pine tree plantation that was replanted with seedlings by students of the Thatcher School after fires in mid-1900s burned them. Though most trees survived the Wheeler Fire of 1985, many of them did not fair the drought in the 2010's. The Pines is a now a trail camp and makes for a great rest stop, campsite, or spot to turn around for a shorter run. Beyond The Pines, the trail continues climbing, crossing Sisar Canyon Road before ending at Nordoff Ridge Road.
Thanks to John McKinney, The Trailmaster, for sharing this trail description. To learn more about trails in California, check out his guides at The Trailmaster Store
Sage dots the landscape and a nice pine grove offers abundant shade on hot days.