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Mission Pine Trail

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Diane
Guru at the summit


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 836
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Mission Pine Trail
Post Posted: March Sat 26, 2005 6:20 pm
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Post your update here or from Bryan's Interactive Backcountry Map.
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Diane
Guru at the summit


Joined: 13 Mar 2005
Posts: 836
Location: Santa Barbara, CA


Post Posted: November Sun 27, 2005 6:51 pm
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A bit brushy between Windy Gap and Mission Pine Basin but the views are amazing. Lots of bear and mountain lion tracks.
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Bryan
I live on the trails


Joined: 27 Mar 2006
Posts: 233
Location: Goleta


Post Posted: November Mon 27, 2006 7:41 pm
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11/18/06

Hiked from McKinley Saddle to about 2 miles past MPSpring. I cleared what I could from the trail but really the trail is quite good. Its all pine and manzanita on the ridge, which doesn't get too overgrown. It might be hard to follow the trail when snow is on the ground.

I crossed paths with a trail crew that worked their way from Windy Gap to the Basin. They said the trail was quite brushy on the Big Pine side of the Basin. There was also water in the springs down the Fall Cyn Trail.
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rob.guzzon
Day Hiker


Joined: 25 Jun 2008
Posts: 3
Location: Goleta, CA

Saddle to San Rafael
Post Posted: June Wed 25, 2008 11:07 pm
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Last leg of our journey from Nira up to San Rafael. Trail is in pretty good condition considering the burn. Some parts though burn area are a little lost in loose rock/soil, but all in all looks great. Looking back down the valley towards BCS:


More pictures here:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/robguzzon/sets/72157605820500114/
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mstiles
Backpacker


Joined: 12 May 2009
Posts: 37
Location: Los Osos


Post Posted: July Wed 08, 2009 7:33 am
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Hiked from Cachuma Saddle to Mission Pine Basin around the spring equinox of 2009. The trail is generally in good shape, except hard to follow on the north facing area just before San Rafael Peak, but that was due to snow cover--and the steepness of the hillside.

Past Mission Pine Springs (I assume that's Windy Gap) will need some work soon. The amount of regrowth after the Zaca fire is amazing, and soon the trail will be overgrown.

It snowed most of the night before our walk out, and REALLY made the trail hard to find.


Mike
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TheBeeman
Litehiker


Joined: 16 Aug 2009
Posts: 35
Location: Santa Barbara

Thanksgiving Trip
Post Posted: January Sat 02, 2010 5:41 pm
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To exercise off a large turkey meal, I teamed up with fellow Volunteer Wilderness Ranger (VWR) Litehiker, Rik, to hike this trail from the wilderness boundary sign to Mission Pine Basin on a recon to check for downed trees.

I hiked this same trail right after the Zaca fire; check out some before pictures here:

http://picasaweb.google.com/beemancron/Recon3MissionPinesFallTrail#

Nice to see that the vegetation is slowly returning. Sad to see a lot of the pines are dead. The trail is passable except at a few places where number of large pines have now fallen across the trail, making for a bit of a scramble to get around them.

The MPS camp is still intact. The spring was flowing very nicely and water was also available in the creek below the camp around the bend.

A couple BIG trees are 1/4 mile from MPS camp; after that it is clear hiking until about a 1/2 mile before MPB camp at which point the trail was hard to follow. Several markers indicated a new route but I recommend not following them and look for signs of the original trail.

A large pine has destroyed the stock corral at MPB camp. Fire rings and wooden plank seats made for a nice campsite. It is going to take sometime for vegetation around this camp to rejuvenate. The Zaca Fire really toasted this area.

The following morning, we were surprised by 6" of snow; our Thanksgiving hike turned into an early Christmas.

IMO this trail is a special trail. It gives a Sierra experience and marks the beginning of the Santa Barbara "High Route" that continues all the way to West Big Pine and Big Pine Mountains.

Check out some pictures at:

http://picasaweb.google.com/beemancron/2009MissionPineBasin#

Happy Trails
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TheBeeman
Litehiker


Joined: 16 Aug 2009
Posts: 35
Location: Santa Barbara

Tree cutting pics
Post Posted: May Mon 10, 2010 9:39 pm
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As a followup to my trip along the MPS trail, I returned to MPS camp with crosscut sawyer Mickey McTigue, goat packer, Mike Smith, Titus and Matt. We cut the downed trees and reestablished the original tread. We estimate that two of the large downed trees we cut sections out were over 200 years old; the largest one measured 40" in diameter.

It was a great trip, the weather was perfect. Tread is in good condition from the McKinley Saddle wilderness boundary to the MPS campsite. Water at MPS flowing nicely out of the pipe.

Pictures of our trip:

http://picasaweb.google.com/beemancron/MissionPineSpringsTreeCuttingPr oject#

***A weekend trip recommendation is to hike from Nira via Big Cone Spruce to MPS and return to Nira. If you go, check out how the CCCs have buffed out this section of trail and thank your forest personnel for allocating funds to maintain the trails.
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TheBeeman
Litehiker


Joined: 16 Aug 2009
Posts: 35
Location: Santa Barbara

Nira to Nira Loop
Post Posted: June Mon 07, 2010 6:54 am
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The Mission Pine Springs trail is becoming my favorite hike in the San Rafael Wilderness. It gives hikers a Sierra experience and is the beginning of the "Santa Barbara High Route" that crosses the range from McKinley Saddle to Big Pine Mountain.

With the work completed from Nira to McKinley Road by a group of CCC's, this 16 mile section can easily be hiked with lightweight packs from Nira in one day. Part of the route includes the 1.2 steep "heartbreak hill" section above Big Cone Spruce.

It was nice to revisit the tree work that we had done on the previous hike. We cleared a few downed pines near Mission Pine Basin. The last 1/4 mile section before MPB has been a problem since the Zaca Fire. We removed flagging that rerouted the trail to the campsite and spent some time reopening the original trail into the basin for stock and hikers.

Since there was no water at the Mission Pine Basin, we found a small stream that crossed the trail 1/4 mile east of the big pine tree junction. During drier years, water can be found in the willows 100 yards off the trail.

Pictures in the Nira to Nira loop photo Album at: http://picasaweb.google.com/beemancron

Happy Trails.
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TheBeeman
Litehiker


Joined: 16 Aug 2009
Posts: 35
Location: Santa Barbara

MLK Weekend hike
Post Posted: February Thu 03, 2011 9:36 pm
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As part of a loop trip from Nira, I hiked the Mission Pine Trail (AKA "The Santa Barbara High Route") from Mission Pine Basin to McKinley Saddle.

Except for a two mile section of downed trees starting at Mission Pine Basin, the trail is easy to follow and in great condition. It is nice to revisit some of our sawyer work on the big pines that fell last year.

Pictures can be viewed at:

https://picasaweb.google.com/beemancron/2011NiraToNiraLoopClockwise#

More downed trees means more volunteer sawyer work.

Happy Trails
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Cowboy Clark
Day Hiker


Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 23


Post Posted: May Tue 31, 2011 9:38 am
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10 horsemen and 10 pack mule went from Mission Pine to Cachuma Saddle in early May. That part of Mission Pine trail is pretty good - other than all of the downed trees! It was tough getting around, through, or over them! But other than that, the trail from the Basin to Mission Pine Spring is better than I remember it for years. In the past it's been difficult to find, but it was pretty easy this year.
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TheBeeman
Litehiker


Joined: 16 Aug 2009
Posts: 35
Location: Santa Barbara

Mission Pine Trail VWR Project
Post Posted: July Sat 16, 2011 12:13 pm
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After reading Cowboy Clark's posting about the downed trees on the MP trail, I organized a Volunteer Wilderness Ranger (VWR) group over Memorial Day weekend.

5 volunteers joined me to hike from McKinley Saddle to Mission Pine Basin. We cleared 35 blowdowns and realigned 250 feet of new trail (authorized by the USFS) to avoid a severely eroded section near Mission Pine Basin. The weather was hot so we altered our work schedule and camped at nicer locations to stay cool and near water.

Mission Pine Springs Camp was not burned by the 2007 Zaca Fire and is a gem of a campsite with it's Sierra's environment, wonderful spring and wood fern meadow. On the other hand, Mission Pine Basin Camp was severely burned and has been slow to rejuvenate. There is one large living pine to provide shade. A number of large pines have fallen in the camp, one has damaged the stock corral. There was no water at the camp. We found some small pools of clear water in the willows down the drainage from the Fall Canyon Trail junction. A more reliable source of water is located at the Fall Canyon Trail spring approximately 1.2 miles from the MP/FCT junction (See Bryan Conant's San Rafael Wilderness Map).

Click here to view some pictures from this trip:

https://picasaweb.google.com/beemancron/2011MissionPineTrailVWRProject

A future trail survey will be from Mission Pine Basin to Windy Gap. To future hikers on this trail, please bring some loppers and a saw to tackle the brush and blowdowns that will continue to block this trail for years to come.

Happy Trails.
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Cross Tie Walker
I live on the trails


Joined: 21 Jul 2010
Posts: 185


Post Posted: August Mon 01, 2011 9:21 am
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As part of a longer trip (see http://www.santabarbarahikes.com/community/phpbb/viewtopic.php?t=884&s id=b56ca68812c70a19e9420f5d0e7e7a13), ZK and I did the Mission Pine trail from McKinley Saddle to the Santa Cruz Junction at Mission Pine Basin week before last.



Overall the trail is in great shape, especially from the saddle to Mission Pine Springs. From the Springs to the Basin it's quite clear (thx to beeman, carp_nb, masticator, and others who've been working this stretch). Just a few downed trees toward the end as you drop into MPB; watch for flagging indicating the reroute.

CTW
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toejam
I live on the trails


Joined: 08 Jun 2009
Posts: 123
Location: Pismo!


Post Posted: October Mon 17, 2011 5:46 am
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Lots of fallen trees just west of Mission Pine Basin make the going rough there. Between MPB and West Big Pine Mtn. is the real challenge. The trail follows an arid ridge with thick chaparral. The route is easy to lose in several places. You've got to roll down your sleeves and push through the brush.



When you get to the saddle at the top of Rattlesnake Canyon, the climb up West Big Pine has been recently lopped and flagged.

If you hike this, bring flagging tape and leave some more markers.
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Cowboy Clark
Day Hiker


Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 23


Post Posted: May Tue 15, 2012 8:52 am
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7 horsemen and 15 head of stock went from Big Pine to Mission Pine Basin in early May along this beautiful trail. It had been nearly 20 years since I had been on this particular stretch of heaven and the views do not disappoint.
From the Buckhorn on Big Pine past Windy Gap, the trail is in fine shape and easy to follow. It starts to get a little brushy after that and then after the Rattlesnake canyon switchbacks, we ran into a thick wall of brush... no trail at all. We started looking for the 'old cuts' on the brush and were able to make our way through about 100 yards of tangled mess until it lightened up. There were 2 more stretches like that, which we cut back enough to push through with our pack animals. Then there was a small section of trail that had slid out, which we fixed with Pulaski and shovel - though I can't guarantee it will hold up with no support. I imagine that hikers can scramble across where a horse can not. After that the trail got easy again right into Mission Pine Basin - which had plenty of water and grass.
I highly recommend this trail - tons of bear and lion sign all over it!
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TheBeeman
Litehiker


Joined: 16 Aug 2009
Posts: 35
Location: Santa Barbara


Post Posted: December Sat 29, 2012 5:30 pm
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I hiked this section of trail (AKA "The High Route" between McKinley Saddle and Mission Pine Basin Camp (MPB) in November as part of a five trail loop. Since there is no water at MPB at this time of the year, we stocked up with water at the Mission Pine Springs (MPS).

A big thanks to Mike Smith and his group for clearing the large number of downed trees in the coulter pine section. We made a dry camp at MPB. The Zaca fire has destroyed the pines at this camp and created a shadless campsite except for one living pine.

Photos posted here:

https://picasaweb.google.com/112425444439835043013/2012FiveTrailLoop?n oredirect=1

Happy Trails!
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