Manzanita Trail is a 11.2 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Valyermo, California that offers scenic views and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for trail running, mountain biking, and backpacking and is best used from April until November.
Nice fairly easy trail through mostly wooded forest, but the best thing about it is the lack of other users I saw only two other hikers on the trail. Although it was early December there was some snow on the upper mile of trail, and could see this as a potential problem later in the winter season.
I first hiked this trail on New Year's Day 2016, starting from the bottom at South Fork Campground. It was 20 degrees when I started and later topped out at 28. The stream in Dorr Canyon was frozen solid (see pic). I didn't make it all the way to Vincent Gap because I was running out of daylight and more than a little cold. The incline is only slight and it's a very pretty trail, oaks and bigcone spruce at the lower end, then white fir and finally jeffrey/ponderosa pine and some cedar at the upper end. I've hiked it several times since from the top end and back. We've had a few good storms since then and since almost the entire trail is on the north slope the snow lingers and can get treacherous. Whenever I get tired of the other local hikes I always go back to the Manzanita.
I did this Nov.21, 2014. It is a beautiful trail that connects with the Devil's Chair (Punchbowl Hike). I turned around at the SouthFork Campgrounds. I think I was the only one on the trail. The Autumn colors were spectacular. 5 miles each way. The Canyon wall is always in the shade, so it would be an excellent hike in the summer. There is plenty of water in the natural spring you pass over which is coming down another canyon.
I did it on Dec. 28,2013. I was a great hike! Just before getting to San Vicent Pass the trail was cover with 2-4 inches of snow. overall is good.
It started on the camping ground of South Fork and hiked all the way to the top of Mt. Baden.