Flowing east and south through the Topa-Topa Mountains and the Sespe Wilderness, the creek possesses outstandingly remarkable scenic, recreation, fish, wildlife, and geological values. Flowing through tremendously diverse scenery, the creek is defined by narrow rocky gorges with cascades and deep pools, broad rolling hills, and wide floodplains with oxbow turns. Sespe Creek flows past the impressive Piedra Blanca sandstone formation. The creek’s rich riparian habitat contrasts sharply with the semi-arid landscape. The diverse habitat supports several sensitive, threatened, and endangered wildlife species, including arroyo toad and the California condor. The endangered southern steelhead migrates from the Pacific Ocean, up the Santa Clara River, and into Sespe Creek to spawn.
The entire stream offers excellent and diverse opportunities for recreation. The upper segment is accessible via scenic Highway 33, which provides trailheads to the Piedra Blanca National Recreation Trail and other wilderness routes. The lower segment of the creek is nearly trail-less. Visitors who want to explore this segment scramble through its deep boulder-choked canyon, wade the shallows, and swim across its deep pools.
CalWild and its allies have sponsored legislation to add to the federal system portions of the creek upstream and downstream of the existing Wild & Scenic River, as part of the Central Coast Heritage Protection Act.