backpacking
1 month ago

This trail is not that great for the first 8-10 miles, and will lack shade for long periods on hot days, so as the other reviewer said, it is best to start early. Your first source of water is going to be at McKinley Springs 8 miles from the Cachuma Saddle. Bring your water filter. The elevation gain is not too bad until you reach the McKinley Saddle. McKinley has very nice views, but I highly suggest turning left at McKinley Saddle and going to Mission Pine. I'm serious. You will pass San Rafael Mt., which is higher than Mckinley, but you get into the real gold at Mission Pine and beyond. This is going to make it a 30+ mile hike round trip, but it is so worth it!!! Mission Pine is easily the most beautiful place in the Los Padres that I have seen, and I have done a lot of trails. There are actually redwoods at MP, and I am serious. This Trail is best if you want to spend the night at Mission Pine or Pine Basin, but after Mission Pine the trail gets pretty sketchy.

hiking
8 months ago

This is one of the more rewarding hikes in terms of vistas I've done. You get amazing sight of the backcountry (Castle Rock and Hurricane Deck), Lake Cachuma and the Santa Ynez Valley. I would suggest doing this hike in the spring and starting no later than just before sunrise.

I would also rate this hike with an intermediate difficulty, but I can appreciate how the distance can make it harder. If you have solid endurance you can handle this hike no problem as the inclines are never that steep and there are plenty of level stretches once you get up on the ridges.

I highly recommend this hike, it was an incredibly enjoyable day with some of the most beautiful views I've seen of the area.

backpacking
10 months ago

hiking
Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Hiked this trail 7/4/16 to Hell's Half Acre (11 mile round trip).
Awesome 360 degree veiws of Lake Cahuma and Huricane Deck.

hiking
Thursday, October 01, 2015

Easy trail. It's really a fire road that climbs to the top of the mountain and meanders through the hills. Kudos for the elevation gain but there wasn't much to the actual hike so I got 3.5 miles in and didn't see much to look forward to so turned around at a lookout.

hiking
Monday, March 04, 2013

If you like steep ups and downs, follow the cat trail from Cachuma Saddle east-wards, instead of going on forest road 8N08. The cat trail stays right on top of the ridges, and has ups and downs of around 60% in places. The road meanders around the same area, so you can always get back onto the road if you like. I couldn't have done it without my trusty Trekking poles though, and there are a few spots where you have to push through brush. Great exercise, a lot more fun than walking on the road, and better views at the tops.