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Fall Canyon Trail

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Diane
Guru at the summit


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

Fall Canyon Trail
Post Posted: March Sat 26, 2005 6:05 pm
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Post your update here or from Bryan's Interactive Backcountry Map.
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Cowboy Clark
Day Hiker


Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 23

Anyone tried Fall Canyon Trail??
Post Posted: April Wed 15, 2009 8:53 am
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Hi there.
Later this month, a few of my friends are going to attempt going up the Fall Canyon trail from Mansfield Camp to Mission Pine. We assume that after the fire, at least the brush will be cleared out.
Has anyone tried to hike it since the Zaca Fire?
Any info. would be greatly appreciated as we will likely be flying by the seat of our pants!

Thanks in advance!

btw, if at all possible, we will be opening the trail up for horses - so we have our work cut out for us!
boots
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Cowboy Clark
Day Hiker


Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 23


Post Posted: April Fri 24, 2009 11:40 am
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hmmm...
I guess no one has checked this trail out in a while...
Well we will be trying to open it up next week - wish us luck!
hills
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Cowboy Clark
Day Hiker


Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 23

Fall canyon trail cleared!! mostly....
Post Posted: May Wed 13, 2009 8:24 am
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So we made our ride. It took us a full 10 hour day of hiking up and clearing trail down but the Fall canyon trail is passable now. We re-routed above the lower spring through the burn to avoid the unburned brush. We also flagged it to where it again joins the original trail. We brushed it out to ~1/4 to 3/8 mile to Mission Pine Basin where we followed the steep meadows. The two remaining problems are: just above the higher spring is a slide we dug tread through unfortunately encountering a rock that the pack animals couldn’t pass. So we had to unpack, carry & repack. The trail should probably be rerouted ~ 50’ higher to avoid more slides; secondly, the last 1/4mile below Mission Pine Basin should be brushed out. Every other place was OK.
It's a beautiful trail - keep traveling it to keep it open!!
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Cowboy Clark
Day Hiker


Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 23


Post Posted: June Fri 04, 2010 11:37 am
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A few cowboys made the trek up Fall Canyon this year again. Trail was till in good shape, although all of our flags were gone! I can't imagine that anyone would do that, so we think it might be birds who like the bright orange tape! A few more improvements were made, but this trail needs travel!
Please use it or lose it!
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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 6:33 am
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With 3 day weekend and lightweight packs, we hiked a 45 mile loop that started at Nira and ended at Nira via the Fall Canyon Trail.

There was water off the trail just before the trailhead to Fall Canyon a 1/4 mile past the big pine tree junction. Look for the willows.

I reflagged the upper section where the grass had obliterated the trail. Lets hope the birds don't take the markers.

Wildflowers were in full bloom and marked the middle section of the trail. There is no tread so your ankles get a good workout on the sloping terrain; easy to follow thanks to the hoof prints from the cowboys who rode it last year. Lots of water in the creek marked by a spring on Bryan's map.

The last mile from the small mesa down to the switchbacks above Mansfield was hard to find, a GPS and topo map was helpful in finding the original trail section.

A few pics in the Nira to Nira photo album at: http://picasaweb.google.com/beemancron

Happy Trails.
boots
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TheBeeman
Litehiker


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

Hiking up the Fall Canyon Trail
Post Posted: January Sun 23, 2011 11:23 pm
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Over the 3 day MLK weekend, I hiked up the FCT as the day was ending. We lost the trail just above the little creek crossing after the switchbacks.

The flags from previous hikes have disappeared (taken by birds?) in the lower section so we reflagged the original trail. The good news is there is still no signs of ticks, the Zaca fire burned them all up.

The 5.5 mile section is surprisingly easy to hike uphill from Mansfield, I give credit to someone who built this trail back in the 30's.

The slide section above Cooper Springs is intact. We lost the trail near the top but made a good guess on a traverse and came out in the meadow section that leads to the large, snagged pine, the visible landmark from the junction with the Mission Pine Trail.

Pics of this trip are posted at:

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

This trail makes for a great 3 day loop with a lightweight pack, or 4 day with traditional weight pack. I have now hiked this loop in both directions. Despite the hard 1.2 mile "heartbreak" section between Big Cone Spruce and McKinley Saddle, I still prefer the counterclockwise direction:

Day 1; Nira to Mission Pine Springs (16 Miles)
Day 2: MPS to SouthFork down the FCT(14 miles)
Day 3: SF to Nira (16 miles)

As Cowboy Clark posted: Hike it or loose it to Mother Nature

Happy Trails
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Cowboy Clark
Day Hiker


Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 23


Post Posted: May Tue 31, 2011 7:00 am
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In early May, 10 riders (including myself) with 20 mules and horses went from Heath to Mansfield then up the FCT to Mission Pine. The trail is still beautiful, but the brush is growing fast and I would guess that within the next 3 years will be impassable.
We cleared out a downed tree just below the lower spring and I expect that to be another issue soon - the trees that died in the fire are starting to fall. Just above the lower spring, the trail is still hard to follow, but some flagging was there (thanks Beeman!)and near the top we lost the trail, but the bush-whacking isn't so bad.
However, all of us agreed that this trail needs help soon or it will fade back into the forest - like it was for 40 years before the fire.
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Gravityh
Day Hiker


Joined: 16 Apr 2009
Posts: 6
Location: NEWBURY PARK, CA

Fall Canyon - Battle of the Thorn Bushes
Post Posted: November Sun 06, 2011 4:19 pm
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I hiked up this trail on October 23rd from Mansfield Camp first thing in the morning and found the trail in great condition... for the first mile or so... There were some route finding issues in the chaparral and then the trail opened up following flags through gullies. Just when I thought it was going to be easy trail it got choked with long spiny thorn bushes. The branches were easily 10 feet long and wrapped around my fully clothed body like a giant squid. I managed to find a large piece of pine bark and strapped it to my chest and powered through the thorns and within a few hundred yards found the trailin a grassy wooded area that hooked up to the Mission Pine Basin trail. Great trail but needs some major cleaning from the top down for about a mile or so. No pics of the bush wacking but here are my pics from the long 2 day loop;https://picasaweb.google.com/gravityhrocks/NiraLostValleyHurrican DeckFallCanyonCachumaSaddleLoop?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCKvSiurDkunUv QE&feat=directlink

Garmin Connect Tracks here:http://connect.garmin.com/activity/127040428
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Cowboy Clark
Day Hiker


Joined: 15 Apr 2009
Posts: 23


Post Posted: May Tue 15, 2012 8:39 am
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7 horsemen and 15 head of stock went from Mission Pine Basin down to Mansfield in early May of this year. From the trail junction to the summit meadow was in great shape and easy to follow, but as you make your way down through the meadows it gets dicey. I saw where the old tread of the original trail went but you'd have to crawl there now (not the best for a horse!). So we wandered around looking for flags and sign...
Eventually we found the trail and started pushing through the brush and thorns to the first spring. This was the first time I've been to that spring and not seen water there, but it popped back up 100 yards downstream.
After that spring, the trail is in pretty good shape - a little brushy, but the tread is all there and it's easy to follow - lots of flags and fairly clear sailing all the way to Mansfield. I think the Beeman is one of the main fellas to thank for this. Hats off to you sir!
In summation, if you have the fortitude to whack through that really bad mile or so near the top, it is a great trail.
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toejam
I live on the trails


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


Post Posted: November Tue 27, 2012 5:19 am
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Last weekend several of us on foot saw essentially the same thing as Cowboy Clark. Only I never was sure I saw the original tread. There is thick brush below the summit meadow and we beat a path in the direction indicated by the Beeman's gps until the trail reappeared. Best to take this trail with waypoints or someone who's hiked it before.
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