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San Rafael Wilderness, 4 day, 3-28-09, Nira, manzana narrows, rattlesnake, whiteledge, out

ca

Star Star Star Star Star

Distance: 46.2 miles


Starting from the Nira trailhead, this 4 day / 3 night, 47 mile round trip hike went deep into the heart of the San Rafael Wilderness to Rattlesnake Falls.
  • Manzana Narrows and the lovely swiming hole (made for a cold and refreshing dip).JPG
  • South Fork backcountry ranger station - stocked with food!.JPG
  • down the canyon.JPG
  • Bonus waterfall before Rattlesnake.JPG
  • Rattlesnake Falls.JPG

Spring is a wonderful time to visit the area: the canyons are lush, full of water, the heat is mild, nights are cool, but not cold, and wildflowers are amazing (depending on the winter rainfalls received that year).The destination for the trip was Rattlesnake falls, a big falls by the areas standards which did not disappoint. The trip was a bit of an adventure, especially on the second half pass Lonnie Davis camp, where the trail became non-existent at times, overgrown, and hard to follow. The GPS helped, but the really helpful indicators were the various red flags flow from tree limbs, along with the cairns (I even made a few to hopefully help fellow travelers). This is probably the areas finest canyon hiking. Its a wonderful contrast from lush canyons to high, desert mountains that surround you nearly at all times.

TRAILHEAD DRIVING DIRECTIONS: From 101 South, take the Hwy 154 East, towards tiny town of Los Olivos. Turn North (left) on Figueroa Mountain Road (a brown recreation sign indicates turn). Follow this paved, windy, narrow mountain road for about 15 miles to its junction with Happy Canyon Road. Turn North (left) onto Sunset Valley road. Should be signed for Nira Campground. Follow this paved road until the roads end at Nira Campground. The Nira trailhead starts at the back of the campground. Forest Adventure pass or Federal Interagency pass (Golden Access, Age, or Eagle) required.

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