Explore the most popular wildlife trails in Los Padres National Forest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Did this trail on 5/21- 5/23 2018 with my friend Linda. Both of us early 60’s. Started at Nira, hiked to White Ledge camp, hiked via hurricane deck to Manzana Schoolhouse camp, then back to Nira. Hikes to and from White Ledge and Manzana schoolhouse were pleasant, easy, beautiful with plenty of wildflowers and water along the way. Hurricane deck is a different animal. The San Rafael wilderness map tells you it’s about a 15 mile hike, the sign at White Ledge says 23 miles, the one at Manzana Schoolhouse says 22 miles. Whatever the distance, it is a long hike, but spectacular. With the various times you spend backtracking to find the trail you might as well call it a 20+ mile day. There are patches of well maintained trail (thank you so much for those doing the work) and areas where it is easy to get lost due to overgrown areas combined with lack of cairns or marker flags. It does become obvious when you are off trail and you I advise to backtrack right away to find it. Getting off trail can quickly become scary with the very rough terrain and dramatic drop offs. Once we did not backtrack - as it seemed more work then trying to reconnect with it going onward - it was our biggest mistake of the day, that fortunately only cost us time and a bit of a scare. The hike is epic and spectacular, with drop offs on both sides of the long long ridge, with views into eternity. It was a brilliant sunny day, but a nice breeze kept the hike comfortable. Start early so you don’t run out of daylight. Make sure you are in good shape since besides Lost Valley Trail and Potrero trail, there is no way off the mountain unless you carry a hang glider or love rides on rescue helicopter. Look for condors and the Sisquoc Sasquatch - no proof of existence of either one this trip. A trip to remember for sure!
Leesbeth

you went up today May 24th 2018 I was unaware that the trail was closed we did see a security guard on the way up and down he did not say anything. The trail is intact although if you aren't very familiar easy to go off of Trail. there was hardly any traffic on the trail probably due to the fact that it's States it's closed. There are many wildflowers that are blooming still a great hike.

hiking
3 days ago

Great walk even if you take the short walk. Green and cool in April and May.

hiking
4 days ago

Such a rewarding hike! Amazing view!

We did The Cerro Alto loop yesterday taking the long way up and the short path down. It is a great hike. This trek is not very technical and the trail is really good. I would rate this and Easy/Moderate. It is easy in that, there is nothing difficult to climb through. It’s moderate simply due to the amount of climb. So, go do it. If you are struggling on the climb, take your time. That’s all. You will really love it. The trip down is slippery though. With so much activity the path is broken down a bit to smaller sized pebbles etc. So if you can use some poles, that would help. Bring a lunch and enjoy the top. Really fun hike.

Great hike for one day... moderately steep uphill, with plenty vista points to view Morro Bay from the top

healthy hike, beautiful views overlooking Pine Mountain Club and the valley. beautiful view of mountains.

on Baron Ranch Trail

13 days ago

Overgrown

I went last Sunday and the gate leading to the trail was closed and it was 9 miles from the gate to where the hike started. Does anyone know if it is open yet?

Beautiful views and great weather in April. Grass was high, and the trail is almost exclusively single-track.

Some sections of trail were encroached or overgrown with poison oak throughout the hike.

We stayed to the right on the way out, to do the loop counterclockwise. After the last really steep section, the trail just disappeared into heavy brush. It wasn’t as steep, but we essentially had to break brush for the rest of the climb to the top of the hill. After cresting the hill, we were able to pick the trail back up. Heading back to the trail junction, we came across a relatively recent tree fall that blocks the trail. We were able to work through the branches (it wasn’t that big a tree). The rest of the looks section of trail had considerable overgrowth across the trail again.

Trail has a moderate climb and is very rocky. Beautiful natural landscape and creek views.

Nice trail, but overrun with poison oak almost the entire way. Shaded, which is nice in the heat, but unfortunately there is almost no view of any mountains, landscape, etc because the entire hike follows a creek down between two large mountains. Only saw two other people the whole way so it was quite peaceful. The only animals I saw were birds. The lower part of the trail, near the Davy Brown Campground, is very lush and green. A bit late for wildflowers seemed like (late April) but still lots of tall green grass. The drive up Fig Mountain to the actual trail head is stunning, a windy, one lane road, with lush green meadows and oak trees the entire way. (PS) Don't park your car in the loose gravel at the trail head, stay as close to the metal fence as you can. It can and will get stuck.

Hike is definitely advanced as far as fitness is concerned. Lots of loose footing on the way down, steep, and uphill the whole way back. (I'm not kidding. I trail run several miles everyday and I found this difficult) I used Strava to track myself: 2,244 feet of climbing, took me just under 3 hours to make it down to the Campground and back up to my car.

If you start from the Figueroa Mountain Road trail head (which the app gives great directions to) the trail goes through a grassy meadow and then down into a ravine. When you reach a river crossing, the trail forks into three. Be sure to stay AWAY from the left trail, this is Willow Pond trail, which I took by accident on the way down and it is nearly impassable. I am covered in ticks. Keep to the center trail at the fork to stay on the Davy Brown Trail. Not sure where the right trail goes. Once you take the center trail, you will almost immediately come to another crossing, this time again, KEEP RIGHT. Don't go up the left trail, this is Willow Pond. Keep right and follow Davy Brown Trail downhill. (SEE PHOTO WITH GREEN ARROW) On the way back up, remember these crossings. Take pictures if it helps. Can get confusing. Stay away from Willow Pond Trail it is overgrown and infested with ticks.

Easy hike and family friendly. Like the cave!

Great wildflowers. Steep at times. Better than sneakers is preferable. Poles would be good idea unless you are very fit or light on your feet. Outstanding views from top but very nice views throughout the hike.

(Now I have to hike down...)

Beautiful views but it’s not a hike

backpacking
1 month ago

Backpacked from Rinconada trail to 101 E Cuesta Grade. Camped 1 night on Big Falls Trail, second night at Sulphur Pots. Super cool area, lots of water (dried up just above Upper Lopez Camp), just SO MUCH poison oak. Definite evidence of a trail, but hours walking through with PO all around the trail.

This trail has amazing views of the “9 sisters” or volcanic plugs of San Luis Obispo County and other coastal areas. On a clear day you can see the Five Cities area down south. The parking lot is at the top of the Cuesta Grade and can be easy to miss. When coming from Atascadero, it is on the right just after you reach the top of “the grade” (turn into the brake check area). We always park at the bottom and hike from there, but many people drive further up the road, which results in some light traffic. There is a system of other trails connected to the main trail/road that I have not tried yet, but that look intriguing.

We saw snow in the morning. How luck we are!

Epic bucket list hike.... went out with a bang! Always wanted to do an overnight hiking trip before my big 5-0 .... trail was no easy task (for me) but with the help of my daughter it was a success..... Not so much for one of our team mates who fell about 30ft down a revine and had to be airlifted out after my daughter was able to rescue her enough to get her back on the trail. Hats off #calfire #chp and the medical team.
I will definitely be back.

Came back to see the Punch Bowls. We were unaware of a sign saying it was closed, but we were allowed in. Lots of groups and families were out on the trail. It was sad to see all the damages the Thomas Fire left on and in the surrounding areas of the Punch Bowls. Despite that the Punch Bowls was still there alive and beautiful as before. A lot of scrambling on the hike due to the fire. If you’re familiar with the trail then it shouldn’t be difficult to get to the falls. The green arrows on the rocks should lead you there. Otherwise, you can follow the creek.

This trail offers a spectacular view once you reach the summit. It also is a fantastic workout and an amazing alternative to stair steppers and elliptical machines!

This is a great trail if you're looking for quick elevation gain across ~1.5 miles with beautiful views and little-to-no people. This dirt road segment of the trail is a wide path that only some trucks and ATVs can climb, making it perfect to hike up with large groups. HOWEVER, like others have said, the De Angulo Trail segment was very overgrown with Poison Oak, so I would recommend to be aware and avoid that area until it has been cleared out. We ended up hiking up just the dirt road segment and turning around just a little past the trailhead marker up the hill.

hiking
1 month ago

Very pretty! Not a very difficult hike -pretty flat. Road to the trailhead was closed so we parked and walked about a mile and a half to the trailhead. Has a couple trail signs along the way.

I love this trail!

I took the longer trail to the summit and the shorter one back to the campground. Both are worth seeing, but I preferred the longer route. Both trails are found inside the campground. The longer is further in than the short trail. There is a $10.00 fee that you can pay before the campground right as you turn off of hwy 41 or in the dirt lot at the back of the campground next to the trailhead.

It is a fairly steep trail, especially the last 1.2 miles to the top. Be sure to have shoes with decent tread on the way down. The loose gravel and incline combine to make it a bit slippery. This last leg is also very sunny. Bring sunscreen or a hat.

Great views. Too many people and unleashed dogs for my liking though.

hiking
1 month ago

I traveled east on Hurricane Deck and connected with Manzana Trail near the schoolhouse and headed east. The flat terrain and ample water crossing was nice after a long hike up Potrero to the Deck. If you’re looking for a hard elevation trek this isn’t what you’re looking for. Be prepared to cross water 25+ times if you plan on going to the school house from the Sun Valley trailhead.

hiking
1 month ago

I did the eastern portion of Hurricane Deck where Potrero Trail meets the ridge line. It was a blast and saw some incredible views while riding the ridge down to the Manzana Trail. Encountered some diverse little ecosystems along the way. Bring water as there’s little shade

1 month ago

I did this hike with my boyfriend for the first time this last Sunday. I would say the hike is a challenge due to the steady incline for 4 miles straight. We got some beautiful shots on our way up but I was disappointed in the view once we reached the top. I expected more. I won’t be putting in the effort to do this hike twice.

hiking
1 month ago

Very beautiful view! Easy to walk to.

Great place. Easy quick hike. Waterfall was roarin after the rains. Tied a line to a tree across falls at the top n zip lined to the middle. Epic view. Can also climb on the top of the boulder in middle of water. There's a lil cave under that rock as well.

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