Manuel Peak Trail is a 9.5 mile out and back trail located near Big Sur, CA that offers scenic views. The trail is rated as difficult and primarily used for hiking and trail running.
Planned on running up Mt. Manuel, but was limited to power hiking after about halfway up due to overgrown brush covering the trail and not being familiar with it. Enjoyed the challenge. Started at 8am. Wore shorts...shouldn't have. Picked up at least 10 ticks, but was able to flick them all off before they bit. Brush scratched up my legs pretty good. Plenty of poison oak, but was able to avoid most of it I think, and washed with Tecnu after just to be safe. Got pretty warm on the Eastern facing slopes, enjoyed getting to the shady sections. There were few washed out sections that were a little sketchy, be sure to wear shoes with some decent lugs. Views from the "false summit" were amazing, definitely worth the effort. Took a little less than 2 hours to get to the top. Was able to bomb the descent due to being more familiar with the trail; got down in less than an hour, resulting in a little less than 3 hour round trip run/hike. So, to summarize: bring plenty of water, don't wear shorts, wear well-lugged shoes, be careful on the washed out sections, stop to check for ticks every 10 to 15 minutes, enjoy the awesome view from the top, and post-wash with Tecnu just in case you got into any poison oak,
When I hiked this trail, the temps were in the 80s in clear, unlimited visibility conditions. Starting from the Pfeiffer Big Sir campground, to the summit and return, it took me a little over six hours with brief stops for rest and a few pictures at the summit; I made it back down in an hour and a half (pushing it). The trail is a steady ascent to the peak at 3,380 feet. It's pretty much uninteresting terrain for the first one third going up, then there are some nice tall trees, ferns, manzanita and other tall shrubs in the next one third going up. There's no water. At places the growth along the trail squeezes the width so you have to do a slight bit of bush-whacking. As you near the top and at the peak, the view is awesome! I imagine any overcast weather would take you into the clouds. There is some poison oak along the trail in some places and I managed to pick up a couple of ticks but got them right off. This is a great hike for the view and the exercise within a few hours.