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Mission Pine Trail - Los Padres National Forest
Trail Distance 14.55 Miles

The Mission Pine Trail connects Cachuma Mountain Forest Road (8N08.2) and Buckhorn Forest Road (9N11.4). The trail is in the San Rafael Wilderness, So remember no mountain biking is allowed on any wilderness trails.

Trail Details

  • Trail #: 28W01
  • Wilderness Area: San Rafael
  • County: Santa Barbara County
  • Ranger District: Santa Lucia Ranger District , Santa Barbara Ranger District
  • Trail-head Latitude: 34.70408
  • Trail-head Longitude: -119.8374
  • Trail Condition: Kind of Good - Little to no bushwacking and easily followable
  • Topo Maps:
  • Activities & Features:
    • Backpacking
    • Birding
    • Wildlife Viewing
    • Wilderness Camping



Trail Stats

  • Total Elevation Gain: + 3816 feet.
  • Total Elevation Loss: - 4361 feet.
  • Overall Average Slope Gain: + 9 %.
  • Overall Average Slope Loss: - 10 %.
  • Kilometers: (km)
  • Meters: (m)
  • Miles: (mi)
  • Feet: (ft)
  • Average Slope: (%)

Trail Camps

Upload Images Aerial Overview Image Login to Download GPS File
Survey This Trail

Survey Photos:


  • Los Padres Forest Association - 10-22-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 10-22-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 10-22-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 10-22-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 10-22-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 10-02-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 10-02-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 11-15-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 11-15-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 11-15-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 11-15-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 11-15-2014

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 05-02-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 05-02-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 05-02-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 05-02-2015

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 05-02-2015

  • Paul Cronshaw - 11-21-2015

  • Paul Cronshaw - 11-21-2015

  • Paul Cronshaw - 11-21-2015

  • Paul Cronshaw - 11-21-2015

  • Paul Cronshaw - 11-21-2015

  • Duane Waite - 05-29-2016

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 09-24-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 09-24-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 09-24-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 09-24-2017

  • Los Padres Forest Association - 09-24-2017

Submitted Trail Reports

Mission Pine Trail Survey - 11-03-2017 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 11-03-2017
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Trail description:I am going to Mountain bike this trail because thats what i want to do!  

If it is ok for a horse, its ok for my bike.  
Mode of transport:Bicycle
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 09-24-2017 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 09-24-2017
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:LPFA is getting ready to host a Working Vacation at Mission Pine Spring in October 2017 and spent a day scouting the trail to make sure there are no downed trees that would block stock travel.  The trail is in great shape up to San Rafael Mtn due to 3-4 trail projects this summer spent on the first 1.5miles of the trail.  Above that is in great shape as well.  We cleared one downed tree out to MPS but other than that and small sections of manzanita encroachment the trail is in excellent shape!  Probably the best its been in decades.

The trail gets overgrown shortly after MPS and the focus of the Working Vacation will be to brush out beyond MPS towards the Basin.  INFO@LPForest.org if you'd like to help on the trail project.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Images:

Great views of Big Pine and the Basin from just past San Rafael.

Trail up to San Raf is excellent, showing great tread work completed this summer.


Great views into the Manzana from along the trail as well.

3-4 largish downed trees just past MPS Camp, they will be removed during the Working Vacation.


New wilderness sign at McKinley Saddle.
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 10-31-2016 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 10-31-2016
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:LPFA led a 10-day Working Vacation performing trail work from McKinley Saddle out to the Rattlesnake Canyon drainage past Mission Pine Basin.  We spiked at Mission Pine Basin Camp and worked out from there.  We also worked the top mile of the Santa Cruz Trail down from the Basin.

The trail is in really nice shape to Mission Pine Spring, it then becomes a little brushy in sections but very passable all the way to West Big Pine.  It is stock passable at the moment.  Water at Mission Pine Spring, no water at Mission Pine Basin.  We scouted the Fall Canyon Trail and while it remains passable, it is getting real brushy.

More photos available at the LPFA Facebook page here:
https://www.facebook.com/LosPadresForestAssociation/posts/619910411467220?notif_t=like¬if_id=1481555349387696
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 05-29-2016 - by Duane Waite
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 05-29-2016
Surveyor Name:Duane Waite
Trail description:Hiked from McKinley Springs to Mission Pine Springs. The trail is in good shape except for near the summit where the tread can be difficult to spot. There are a few blow downs. The largest, about 18 inches in diameter, lies a quarter mile behind the San Rafael summit. I followed a set of mountain bike tracks up the trail from McKinley Saddle all the way down to Mission Pine Springs. There is no wilderness marker or sign at the trail head, so it's either missing or was stolen. Either way, some mountain bikers took it as a sign that what they did was ok.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Images:

Mountain bike tracks between San Rafael Summit and Mission Pine Springs
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 02-27-2016 - by Anonymous Surveyor
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 02-27-2016
Surveyor Name:Anonymous Surveyor
Trail description:Hiked the far east end of the trail from Windy Gap to West Big Pine and back.  Easy to follow the entire way if perhaps a little brushy at times.  A couple of small tree falls across the trail but no major impediment to travel.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 11-21-2015 - by Paul Cronshaw
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 11-21-2015
Surveyor Name:Paul Cronshaw
Trail description:Trail is in good condition and easy to follow. There are 4 downed trees between San Rafael Mountain and Mission Pine Springs ranging in size from 14 - 28".  A 5th tree is hung up across trail about 1/4 mile below Mission Pine Springs Camp.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:4 downed trees
Images:

Register at McKinley Saddle marks the western end of the Mission Pine Trail

Downed Tree #2 near San Rafael Peak


Hiking in the solitude of big pines. A Sierra Nevada experience!

View to the East: Manzana River and Hurricane Deck.


Snow on trail traversing the northern slope of San Rafael Mountain.
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 05-02-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 05-02-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Like sands through the hourglass, trees continue to fall.  Another 15-20 downed pines were seen along the Mission Pine Trail between the Buckhorn Rd and West Big Pine.  Most were in the 18-30" range.

A project is planned to remove these trees later this spring.
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Images:

photo Humphrey

photo Humphrey


photo Humphrey

photo Humphrey


photo Humphrey
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 02-15-2015 - by Curt Cragg
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 02-15-2015
Surveyor Name:Curt Cragg
Trail description:

McKinley Saddle to MP Basin VWR Trail Recon Hike

Sunday, February 15, 2015

VWR’s:  Curt Cragg and Skip Boyland


Objective:  Drive up McKinley fire road from Cachuma Saddle to look at road conditions.  Check McKinley Spring Camp.  Hike from McKinley Saddle to Mission Pine Basin to check on trail conditions and tree falls from prior report in anticipation of trail project scheduled for February 27-March 1, 2015


McKinley Fire Road Condition:  Excellent, no major washouts, tree falls or slide areas.


McKinley Springs Camp:  Full.  There was a bachelor party group of 13 backpackers from the L.A. area camping at McKinley Spring.  They did an excellent job of cleaning up trash left by previous campers.  We hauled out trash so that they did not have to pack it down the road.  Counseled them on making sure that they soak their campfire tomorrow when they leave.


Mission Pine Trail from McKinley Saddle to Mission Pine Spring:  The first mile to two miles to San Rafael peak needs brush work and some tread repair which we will address on the upcoming trail project.  There are four tree falls past San Rafael Peak on the trail leading down into MP Spring camp that need to be cleared (see photos).  All can be addressed with a 4’ crosscut saw.  There are two tree falls just past the camp that also need to be cleared.  Areas of flowing water along the trail from recent rain storm.


Mission Pine Spring Camp:  Empty.  Camp is in good condition.  Bears have been chewing on the picnic table.  Water flow at spring is excellent and very fresh.


Mission Pine Trail from MP Spring to MP Basin:  First two miles past the tree falls near the camp, trail is in generally good condition with the need for some tread repair and brush work, but not overgrown.  From two miles east to MP Basin camp there are several areas that need brush work, tread repair and tree clearing.  The switchbacks leading into the MP Basin drainage probably need the most work.  Most of the tree falls are match sticks, but there are a few larger trees that need to be cleared.  This will be the primary focus of the trail project on Saturday, February 28th.


Mission Pine Basin Camp: Empty.  The trail junction from the MP Trail to the MP Camp has been lost and needs signage.  It is unclear where to leave the trail to hike to the camp and the trail to the camp is hard to follow due to brush and tree falls.  There are several tree falls across the trail that passed the camp as well.  The camp is showing promising signs of new pine tree growth, but the campsite is barren and has several hazard trees that need to be dropped.  There was water in the drainage around MP Basin Camp.


Link to photos:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ve2f5zw2zr4l992/AACO9PCItZcwbEDd56S12DYya?dl=0




Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 02-7-2015 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 02-7-2015
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:We got a great report from Jenn and Tim who hiked Mission Pine on the week of 2/7.  Great views, didn't see a soul, fantastic weather!  They did report seeing 36 downed trees from Mission Pine Basin to McKinley Saddle.  None of the trees were over 20" in diameter.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 11-25-2014 - by Shaddus Maximus
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 11-25-2014
Surveyor Name:Shaddus Maximus
Trail description:Awesome work recently done on this trail! Thanks to the volunteers who recently lopped brush back, making the trail wide and easy to follow. One one small section just east of Mission Pine Basin that's a little overgrown, but still very manageable and easy to navigate. 
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 11-15-2014 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 11-15-2014
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:The LPFA and VWR led a second of three projects to open up the Mission Pine Trail.  This project started at Windy Gap and headed West towards Mission Pine Basin.  A crew of 10 volunteers worked on the trail over two days.  They were able to work past the Rattlesnake Canyon Saddle, which is where they left off last time, and continued work to within 1.5miles of Mission Pine Basin!  AWESOME!

Picture provided by the Beeman.  Big thanks to VWR Leader Curt Cragg for organizing the efforts.
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Images:

VWR Crew lineup

Looking good, nice work!


Looking back towards West Big Pine, WOW!

This rock marked the top of the worst section, it is now clear.


It's hard to beat the views from the Mission Pine Trail
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 10-02-2014 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 10-02-2014
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:Ran into the SB County Hydrology people working on the weather station near Windy Gap (West Big Pine).  If you've ever noticed that West Big Pine gets less rain than anywhere else in the area, it's because it gets the most snow compared to anywhere else in the area.
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Images:

Photo Humphrey

Photo Humphrey
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 10-22-2014 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 10-22-2014
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:The LPFA hosted a trail project to clear the trail from Windy Gap west towards Mission Pine Basin.  We were able to get to the bottom of the Rattlesnake Canyon Switchbacks.  The trail is good to that point.  Unfortunately the worst part of the trail is from the Rattlesnake Basin up the next mile.  

We are hoping to schedule a followup trip to start on that part of the trail in the next few weeks.  More to come......

Thanks to all the volunteers who helped:  Curt Cragg, Mike Smith, Beeman, Rik C, James Wapotich, etc.....
Mode of transport:Array
Trail condition:Needs some work
Images:

That is the trail, west side of Rattlesnake Basin. Photo courtesy Beeman

Looking back at the Rattlesnake Switchbacks. Photo courtesy Beeman


Bushwhacking along East Mission Pine Trail. Photo courtesy Beeman

And after two days of trail work. Photo courtesy Beeman


So rewarding! Photo courtesy Beeman
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 08-30-2014 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 08-30-2014
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:From Windy Gap west towards West Big Pine the trail could still use some brushing for the first half mile, otherwise it's in great shape with no downed trees.

We saw a very healthy black bear but he spooked and ran away quickly. We checked the peak register and a large forest service group passed through in early August.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 09-29-2014 - by Los Padres Forest Association
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 09-29-2014
Surveyor Name:Los Padres Forest Association
Trail description:
No trees across the trail and the road is in decent shape. The trail from McKinley Saddle to San Rafael summit has become too brushy for shorts. Lots of bear fresh bear tracks & scat from Cachuma Peak all the way to the piney summit of San Rafael Mtn.


Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Needs some work
Condition details:Toejam Report
Number of trees down:0
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 05-03-2014 - by bardley
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 05-03-2014
Surveyor Name:bardley
Trail description:
Mission Pine Trail from McKinley Saddle to Mission Pine Spring camp is in great shape.  There are a few areas where some lopping might be in order.  There are cairns placed that help make the trail easy to follow.

There is water flowing from the pipe at Mission Pine Spring Camp filling my liter bottle in < 15 seconds.  There were numerous hazard trees around the camp that were felled by the work group.  After the tree felling, the trail was rerouted slightly and wooden curbs placed to delineate the trail. 

This weekend - May 2-4, 2014 a group of volunteers worked the trail from Mission Pine Spring Camp almost to Mission Pine Basin.  I believe over 20 trees were removed that were blocking the trail.  Hours were also spent brushing the trail.  It is in great shape too.

Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow
Mission Pine Trail Survey - 05-02-2014 - by bardley
Link: Mission Pine Trail
Date: 05-02-2014
Surveyor Name:bardley
Trail description:Mission Pine Trail from McKinley Saddle to Mission Pine Spring camp is in great shape.  There are a few areas where some lopping might be in order.  There are cairns placed that help make the trail easy to follow.

There is water flowing from the pipe at Mission Pine Spring Camp filling my liter bottle in < 15 seconds.  There were numerous hazard trees around the camp that were felled by the work group.  After the tree felling, the trail was rerouted slightly and wooden curbs placed to delineate the trail.

This weekend - May 2-4, 2014 a group of volunteers worked the trail from Mission Pine Spring Camp almost to Mission Pine Basin.  I believe over 20 trees were removed that were blocking the trail.  Hours were also spent brushing the trail.  It is in great shape too.
Mode of transport:Hike
Trail condition:Good shape and easy to follow


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Last Updated: Wednesday, February 24, 2016



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