San Rafael Wilderness
Small camp 5.5 miles upstream from Nira located where the alder trees begin to appear. Typically the first camp where you'll find water during the drier months. Thanks to good friends Dave Weaver and Joe Duran, named after me.
Elevation: 2,380'; Distance: 5.5 miles upstream from Nira.
Facilities: Metal grate firepit, table and a small open area near the creek.
Notes: Ray's Camp is the perfect place to stay for the night if you have time to head out in the afternoon and get in at least two hours of hiking before dusk. The hike is a little bit over 5 miles with just over 500' in elevation gain and relatively mellow. Once there you'll be past the Narrows and up on the Deck in early morning, with an easy hike to White Ledge or all the way to South Fork and plenty of time to explore the rock formations along the way.
This is a camp I used to stop with my students on the way in. The camp didn't have a name then and wasn't a sanctioned Forest Service camp but we stopped there because we could always count on there being water. Even in the drier months there is almost always water at the camp when further downstream at Lost Valley or Fish Creek camps the streambed is bone dry. The camp is just off the main trail at a point where it drops down near Manzana Creek so it is easy to spot and the water is right there. The alders also make the area pleasant as well.
Thanks to Joe Duran and Dave Weaver from the Santa Lucia District, the VWR Wranglers and a host of volunteers, this past year the metal grate was installed Susie Thielman packed in the table with her mules and a camp sign was installed. Joe and Dave were even able to get it added to the newest version of the LP Forest mpa so it's now an officially sanctioned camp!