San Rafael Wilderness
Water Canyon Camp is 4.5 to 4.8 miles upstream on the Sisquoc from the Schoolhouse. A pretty creekside camp nestled under the oaks.
Elevation: Google Earth says the elevation is 1,352'
Distance: The camp is 4.25 miles upstream from Manzana Schoolhouse and 1.75 miles downstream from Mormon Camp.
Water Canyon Camp is a really nice to stay. The main camp area is under a scattering of oak trees and has plenty of secluded spots for pitching a tent or a sleeping bag. It is especially nice for equestrians. On the out edge of the camp you can set up a high line that will work for quite a few horses or mules. It is also far enough from the Schoolhouse that you'll more-than-likely have the camp to yourself. As a three day trip, getting to Water Canyon is a fairly long hike in or out but with an afternoon start and packing in to Coldwater Camp, you'll have no problem making it the next day. That allows you to explore most of the 2nd day, pack back to the Schoolhouse in the evening and then head out from there the 3rd day.
Jim Blakley Notes
This is an old hunting camp located on the Sisquoc River where there was a reliable source of water. Rock outcroppings forced the water to come to the surface even in dry years.
Bob Burtness Notes
Administration: Los Padres National Forest, Santa Lucia District
Access: North of Cachuma Lake via Happy Canyon Road (7NO7) and Sunset Valley Road (8NO9) to the trailhead below Nira Camp. From this point it is 12 miles to the camp via a downstream hike on the Manzana Trail (30WI3) to the Manzana Schoolhouse and an upstream hike on the Sisquoc River Trail (30W 12).
U.S. Forest Service map coordinates: 1-15
Topographical map: Bald Mountain
Elevation: 1,380 feet (420 meters)
Terrain: flat Vegetation: oak woodland
Stoves: 2 (grated)
Water: Sisquoc River (always reliable just above camp)
Historical Highlights: This an an old hunters'eamp which was so named due to its proximity to the canyon of the same name. Like many other hunters' camps, it was located near a reliable source of water. The present camp was relocated downstream some time after the flood damage caused in 1969.