Lower Sisquoc Loop Trail Patrol & Recon,
March 22-24, 2016
Cypher & John Franklin in service at Lower Manzana Creek Trailhead near
NIRA Campground, Tuesday morning, March 22, 2016.
downstream to Manzana Schoolhouse.
i. Three other cars at trailhead.
ii. Trail in generally good shape & easy to
iii. Creek running strong the whole way. Several
creek crossings over-the-boot deep.
iv. A large tree fallen across the creek &
trail from the south bank at Potrero Camp. This happened since I last visited
v. Two more large trees down across the trail
between Potrero & Coldwater Camps.
vi. Camps all clean & in good shape. A small
group staying at Coldwater and a bigger group at Horseshoe Bend.
vii. Manzana Schoolhouse Camp Conditions:
flowing in Manzana Creek and Sisquoc River
Lots of long
grass – Sisquoc River Trail out of camp may be hard to find for those
A tree has
fallen and remains on top of the metal campsite sign.
Some of the
shady oaks at campsites have no green leaves. If these trees are dead, they
will become hazards that must be removed.
upstream on Sisquoc River Trail
i. Long grass caused us to lose the trail many
times. There is no distinguishable trail tread in many places.
followed the footprints of a single horse headed in our direction while
searching for the trail. It appeard that a rider with one horse had completed
the Lower Sisquoc Loop all the way back to NIRA a few days before us.
ii. Three large trees down across trail between
Manzana Schoolhouse and first Sisquoc crossing.
iii. Got wet feet at every Sisquoc River crossing
the first day. Sisquoc River exceedingly silty all the way above South Fork.
iv. Mapped camps in good shape – clean with
v. Ran into a solo hiker (male from Santa
Barbara) downstream from Water Canyon. He hiked with us to our camp.
vi. Camped at Miller Canyon Base. Ate Miner’s
Lettuce from bumper crop. Muddy water from river doesn’t taste too bad after
Miller Canyon Base to South Fork Station Wednesday, March 23, 2016.
where it goes high on north bank downstream from Abel Canyon.
flowing strong & muddy at Abel Canyon Camp.
oaks fallen across trail just east of Abel Canyon Camp. Many large logs, one
> 40’’ diameter. After thorough investigation we recommend re-routing the
trail to the north of the fallen trees. This would deviate from the original
tread by just a few yards, but eliminate the considerable time and risk
involved in clearing the mess.
nearly lost in long grass. Didn’t find a shovel. Large, flat grassy area could
serve as a spike camp for several workers and stock, if the river is still
across trail where it leaves camp to climb the south bank below the cliff.
south bank near Cliff Camp is narrow in places, but clear. Some hikers don’t
like the climb, but we suggest this original route be maintained since it’s
more sustainable than a creek-bottom alternative.
tree near Big Bend Canyon is causing travelers to drop into the creek bottom
and miss the ramp up the south bank.
The trail up
onto the south bank near Big Bend Canyon is faint and imperceptible in places.
In other places it is very narrow or completely sliding off the hillside. We
recommend repairing the tread as the most sustainable option, but it will
require using a gps to find the route and lots of dirt-work to establish the
obscures the tread along the bottomlands downstream from Sycamore Camp. Many
creek crossings need to be made more plain.
either installing carsonite trail signs or constructing large rock cairns at
creek crossing downstream from Sycamore Camp and also downstream from Cliff
Camp where the river is wide and a tread cannot be maintained.
repairing the old trail leading downstream out of Sycamore Camp up the south
bank – it will require a slight deviation from the old route to a better stream
crossing at the camp, but eliminates a stretch of sandy and rocky use trail and
an un-maintainable river crossing
Camp in generally good shape.
i. Has a small picnic table in good shape.
ii. Has several acres of flat grass for stock.
iii. Has a McLeod but no shovel.
iv. Toilet wall needs to be repaired.
v. No sign of recent beaver activity where there
was a dam at the crossing upstream from camp.
South Fork in decent shape – same as it has been for last few years.
i. Trail has had a slight re-route above a
Station clean and in good shape.
i. One backpacker staying in the cabin – left it
clean. Two more backpackers arrived in the evening and stayed at campsite by
ii. Best source of firewood is from fallen trees
along river below campsites.
iii. Sisquoc River flow less than expected for
this time of year. Water is muddy.
iv. South Fork water clear, sweet, abundant.
South Fork Station to NIRA Campground on Thursday, March 24, 2016.
Trail is in
good condition and easy to follow, with minor challenges in rocky sections on
the climb from South Fork.
A large log
high across the trail near South Fork. Two small trees across trail near Lonnie
Davis. One large log across trail at Happy Hunting Ground. One large log across
trail near Lost Valley Camp.
water – flowing at Alcove Camp and over the fall. Swimming hole at Manzana
Narrows has beautiful, clear water.
fairly clean and looking good (Fish Camp always has some trash).
Saw 3 men
camped at Alcove, 7 backpackers headed up trail, and 5 day hikers from NIRA.
groups camped at NIRA. Lots of cars in parking lot.