San Rafael Wilderness
San Rafael Wilderness camp .5 miles from South Fork Station and camp. A small camp under a number of oak trees on the east side of the South Fork of the Sisquoc a half mile upstream from th main river.
Elevation: Google Earth says the elevation is 2,639'.
Distances: It is 2.29 miles up to White Ledge Camp or .5 downstream to South Fork Station.
Facilities: Three small camps, with the nicest in an open area under a large oak. No tables but metal grates at each of the campsites.
The Davis family played an incredibly important role in the homesteading and history of the upper Manzana and Sisquoc Rivers. An avid hunter, Lonnie apparently established the camp both for its hunting and fishing potential. Over the years I've only ended up camping here one time because it just isn't in the right location if you typically are doing longer trips and on those where I did want to spend the night, I'd always end up at South Fork Camp. The one trip I did spend the night in late May, 1978 was a memorable one.
For a number of years I'd wanted to hike down the South Fork from the top of the San Rafael Mountains and finally we did it. The top of the South Fork begins just below Mission Pine Springs Camp at the point where the trail leading the the Basin makes a turn to the east. Initially the hike down is faily gentle with beautiful pine forests on either side but then it begins to drop rapidly, with an elevation loss of almost 3,000' in just a few miles. The trip was spectacular with lots of deep pools, places you need to wade through chest deep and one of the nicer falls we named "Blue Falls" about halfway down.
The adventure took most of the day and by the time we reach Lonnie Davis we'd pretty much put in a full day's work. One of those with me, Tim Loughlin, still had enough energy and the foresight to bring along a small fishing pole. When he came back to camp a half hour later he had a string tof trout and we enjoyed an incredible fish dinner that night.
Zaca Fire: The Zaca Fire in 2007 burned thorugh much of the mountainside above the South Fork and it is just now regrowing.
Jim Blakley Notes
The camp is named after a member of an early homestead family from the lower Sisquoc area. It is believed that at one time he decided to file a homestead on the site of the camp but changed his mind as he felt it was too far up river. He used the camp site as his fishing and hunting camp. Located on the South Fork of the Sisquoc River, 1/4 mile above the South Fork Ranger Station. The camp is at the end of a short trail branching off the main Manzana to South Fork Trail. This trail crosses the creek to the camp on its east side.
Bob Burtness Notes
Administration: Los Padres National Forest, Santa Lucia District
Access: 13 miles above the trailhead at Nira Camp via the Manzana Trail (30W 13) which leads out of the Manzana watershed on a series of switchbacks above Manzana Narrows Camp and then down White Ledge Canyon where it intersects with the South Fork of the Sisquoc River.
U.S. Forest Service map coordinates: J-16 Topographical map: Hurricane Deck
Elevation: 2,640 feet (805 meters)Terrain: bench in a river canyon
Vegetation: oaks, sycamores, alders Tables: none
Stoves: 3 (grated)
Water: South Fork of Sisquoc River (dependable) Firewood: yes
Historical Highlights: This camp was named after the head of one of the pioneer families that settled in the Sisquoc River area during the latter part of the nineteenth century. Their homestead is at the junction of Dry Creek and Manzana Creek and is still owned by the family. Lonnie Davis was also one of the early forest patrolmen.