San Rafael Wilderness
San Rafael Wilderness camp on Manzana Creek just over 3 miles upstream from Nira. A nice, small camp, good for kids with a nice side canyon to explore.
Facilities: Small camp at the mouth of Fish Creek with one metal grate.
One of the nice things about the Fish Creek Camp is that it is just far enough upstream from Nira to give you a good headstart on your way deeper into the heart of the San Rafael Wilderness. Often I would head up to Nira the afternoon before and hike in to Fish Crek for the night. If your destination is White ledge or even South Fork, being 3 miles in and on the trail early the next day makes it easy to make it to either without wearing yourself out.
Originally the Fish Creek Camp was located a ways up the creek but floods in 1969 completely washed that out. Now you'll find a small camp located on the upstream side of where the creek comes in. It is small with several open areas for pitching tents or laying your sleeping bag out but all in all it is a rather sparse camp. However, hiking up the creek is a delight. There is a small use trail but mostly you'll find yourself working your way up the creekbed. About 10 minutes hike in you'll come to a nice waterfall and pool that you can work your way aorund on the left.
Continuing on up the creek leads to a fork. The main drainage is to the right. Not too far beyond this point the canyon narrows and turns into a series of cascading waterfalls and pools. If you scramble up far enough eventually you'll come to Sunset Valley Raod but beware the rock scrambling can be a bit tricky and it is pretty easy to slide down into one of the pools.
Jim Blakley Notes
The camp was established because of good fishing in the vicinity. The flood of 1969 washed out the original camp site. The camp was moved up the Manzana to the mouth of Fish Creek. At one time there was a grated stove and fire rings. Water is available from Fish Creek.
Bob Burtness Notes
Administration: Los Padres National Forest
Santa Lucia District Access: Happy Canyon Road 7NO7) and Sunset Valley Road (8NO9) to Nira Camp and then 3 miles up the Manzana Trail (30W 13) to a point where Fish Creek intersects with Manzana Creek.
Topographical map: Bald Mountain Elevation: 2,000 feet (610 meters)
Terrain: sandy plateau Vegetation: oaks, pines, sycamores
Stoves: I (grated)
Water: Manzana Creek
Historical Highlights: Fish Creek was so named because of its proximity to Fish Creek Canyon. The water supply is reliable, and, at one time, supported a large trout population. The original site of this camp was destroyed in the 1969 flood, thus necessitating a move to a new location.