Manuel Peak Trail

HARD 24 reviews

Manuel Peak Trail is a 9.5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Big Sur, California that offers scenic views and is rated as difficult. The trail offers a number of activity options and is best used from April until September.

DISTANCE
9.5 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
3,307 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

birding

hiking

nature trips

trail running

walking

views

no dogs

hiking
4 days ago

My friend and I did this hike in mid-August and were not prepared. Normally rangers/guides overestimate heat and difficulty, but that was not the case here. Started at 12:30pm with about 1.5L of water between the two of us, and we basically were fried by the time we reached the false summit. The overgrown nature of the trail and the heat made the hike so brutal (my friend was showing signs of heat exhaustion) it was hard to enjoy the views. I'm sure in another season and with proper preparation, this would have been a really cool hike, but as a 23-year-old experienced hiker (for my age) and former college endurance athlete, I had a tough time. Bring enough water, start in the morning, and really take a close look at how sure-footed you are before attempting this hike.

hiking
10 days ago

Difficult trail. The trail gets really sketchy around the 2.5 mile marker but the views are beautiful. Wear sunscreen and bring plenty of water - you'll be in the direct Eastern sun the majority of the time. Really be prepared for a hard climb and feel good in your footing. The trail gets very narrow and overgrown, and in some places there almost isn't a trail at all. Overall it's a great physical challenge, just make sure you're prepared!

hiking
1 month ago

great early morning hike on 7/4/18! happy birthday America! hike has awesome views when the fog moved around. nice single trail track well maintained for first 2 or so miles then sketchy in spots so watch ur footing. poles recommended and good shoes. fogged out in top but still saw great landscape...red hawks abound as does the poison oak- wear long pants and sleeves..have fun!

2 months ago

It was somewhat sketch and I was hoping for something physically challenging but not rich in risky footing challenges, lots of poison oak, etc. Sweaty Betty has a great review to this effect.

It was definitely super beautiful though. The first 2/3 up was great but the last 1/3 or so was just a little too much for my taste. I would've taken more aggressively uphill but the narrow path is not something I like much.

2 months ago

Second time hiking this trail! Beautiful Spring day, with temperatures in the high 70’s low 80’s... On this attempt we were able to get to the top. The previous try was thwarted by heavy overgrowth that I wasn’t prepared for. I enjoy this hike, and except for a brief polite encounter with a Rattlesnake on the way down, it provides some stunning views in all directions!

3 months ago

Heat, Height, and Vertigo warning ⚠️
Prudently and honestly assess your abilities before committing to this Trail. It is strenuous, exposed, frequently tick infested, peppered with poison oak, has no water access, is overgrown, sketchy in parts and little better than a goat trail along a precipice past the 1/2 way “Point of No Return.” You must be sure footed and mindful of your feet. If hiking in summer, give yourself an early am start or the brutal heat will be relentless.

If that does not deter you, then you are in for a fabulous treat of wildflowers in spring and stunning mountain ⛰ views of the Coastal Range year round. Experience views of the scenic Big Sur River from virtually an aerial perspective, and contemplate the fire adaptive abilities of CA Native plants as they regenerate underneath burned standing tree sculptures. The false Peak offers 360 views of the Ventana Range and Pt Sur Lighthouse. The actual peak offer views of telecommunications equipment. Skip it.

hiking
4 months ago

this trail definitely is hard... and deceivingly so. starts out not so bad, then gets more intricate. very thin trail, constantly uphill, goes through various environments. the views at the peak are incredible, huge mountain ranges covered in beautiful clouds. intense, but if you do it, it's worth it!!!

trail running
Monday, May 19, 2014

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,

hiking
Saturday, September 28, 2013

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.

hiking
13 days ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
1 month ago

hiking
2 months ago

hiking
3 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

hiking
4 months ago

recorded Manuel Peak Trail

hiking
5 months ago

hiking
8 months ago

hiking
Sunday, September 20, 2015

hiking
Sunday, December 15, 2013