Explore the most popular hiking trails in San Rafael Wilderness with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Nice hike. Water was mostly stagnant but a little trickling here and there. Weather was warm with a little breeze. Did this hike with my wife and two boys 9 and 11. A few sketchy spots towards the beginning of the trail but overall in good shape. Will plan on camping next time.

Nice hike up and around the hill to get to the campsite along the creek below. Beautiful views of mountains and valley.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike with great views of the mountains and valley below. Lots of wild flowers, birds, lizards and butterflies. The path is pretty narrow in certain points, with lots of ups and downs until you get to Fish Camp. Once you get there, you can use one of the picnic tables to rest and eat. There’s also a really nice small pool in the creek nearby if you follow the small trail to the right from the campsite.

I would not recommend it in the summer though as it gets really hot, and the low mileage is deceiving because of the terrain.

Good trail for a weekend backpacking trip.

hiking
4 months ago

I had a great time on this trail despite the lack of shade. Yes it was hot so plan accordingly. I went on April 1. Best to do it early in the morning if you want to avoid some gnarly heat this summer

backpacking
9 months 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.

backpacking
Friday, May 26, 2017

This is not an easy trail for several reasons: first; there is a lack of shade, so prepare for the heat and exposure, because there are few trees and there can be a lot of hot wind. Second; this trail has little to no water, so you will have to backpack in what you need, especially if you continue onto the Hurricane Deck trail. Third; it is almost all uphill from the Manzana trail. But there are a lot of beautiful rock structures, lots of giant hornytoads, a small and beautiful meadow along the way. the trail terminates at the top of the Hurricane Deck, turning left from there will take you to the Manzana Schoolhouse.

hiking
Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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.

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.

camping
6 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Monday, February 13, 2017

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

backpacking
Sunday, January 29, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Sunday, February 07, 2016