San Rafael Wilderness
A small camp located along Coche Creek at the base of the major climb up to Mission Pine Basin. Severely damaged during the 2007 Zaca Fire.
Elevation: Google Earth says the elevation is 3,420'
Distance: It is .29 miles down to the Grapevine Trail and 3.35 miles up to Mission Pine Basin.
For those who've either stayed at Coche Camp or passed it by, you know it wassn't one of the great wilderness campsites. Coche's best features were that it has water nearby and wass located at the base of the steep climb leading up to Mission Pine Basin. That means you can get an early start and make it up to the Basin before the day gets hot. But that's about it. Better to spend the night just downstream at Kellogg Camp.
Jim Blakley Notes
A Mexican-Spanish name for hog. At one time, feral hogs that had escaped from a rancher or homesteader lived in the area. A Forest Service Trail Camp was constructed here when they were building the Santa Cruz Trail between Little Pine and Mission Pine Basin. The original camp was almost at the junction of the Grapevine Trail but a later trail crew moved the camp up stream to a better location.
Bob Burtness Notes
Administration: Los Padres National Forest, Santa Barbara District
Access: State Highway 154, Paradise Road (5NI8) and the Oso Canyon Road (5NI5) to the trailhead at Upper Oso campground. Coche is 18 miles further via the Santa Cruz Trail (27WO9).
U.S. Forest Service map coordinates: K-17Topographical map: Big Pine MountainElevation: 3,350 feet (1,025 meters)
Vegetation: oak woodland, willows
Stoves: 2 (grated)
Water: Coche Creek
Historical Highlights: Coche, Spanish for "hog," was established in 1924 during trail construction between Little Pine Mountain and Mission Pine Basin. Three stories relate to the name's origin. One tells of hogs coming to this area after being turned loose from the San Lucas Ranch when hog prices were lower than the corn that fed them. Another tells how pack animals scraped nearby trees which eventually acquired a greasy appearance, reminding someone of hogs. A third tale tells of some hogs that escaped from the Grand homestead near the Peachtree, went wild, and relocated in this area. There are reportedly still a few left, but most have been killed by bear whose numbers have been increasing in this locale.