Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Most Remote Campsite in the Southern Los Padres

I haven't been getting out hiking much lately, so I thought I would see If anyone out there would be willing to share some information with us. I've been thinking about what is the most remote campsite in the Southern Los Padres National Forest. Almost every campsite here is within a days hike from its nearest trail-head. So I'm trying to think of camps that are more than a days hike away.

So, what I have come up with? How about Bluff Camp? I've never been there, but it looks like one would first hike up Santa Paula Peak, then stay at Cienega Camp, then the next day take a couple of hours to get up to Bluff Camp. It looks like if one were a real bad ass mofo they could probably get to Bluff in a long day. Has anyone out there ever been to Bluff Camp? I would appreciate any info you would like to share. Like when you were there, was there water, etc...

Then I found two other camps that I think are definitely two-dayers to get to. Cove Camp on Agua Blanca Creek looks extremely remote. From either Dough Flat or Lake Piru it looks like one would have to spend the night Ant Camp, or Log Cabin Camp respectively before moving on to Cove Camp.

The most remote campsite I could find would be Halfway Spring Camp. It's located way up some no-name tributary to Piru Creek. I think it would probably take a very long day hike to get Ellis Apiary Camp, then it looks like another very long trail-less hike up the no-name creek to Halfway Spring. I have no idea what you're halfway to once you get there. If you know any thing about Halfway Spring please let me know.

Do you know anything about these sites? Or if you know of a really remote campsite please share.


  1. Good luck with that. I don't have any of the beta you need. Still thinking about getting down to the Big Narrows. Just got unhooked from a second liter of IV saline. Needed it to aid in my recovery from the weekend.

  2. I'm just hoping somebody who has been to any these places stumbles across my blog and feels like sharing some info. I'd like to go from Dough Flat to Piru someday. I figure I might stop at Cove Camp for the night right after navigating The Narrows. Halfway Spring Camp I just saw on the USGS topo map when I was looking at Ellis Apiary Camp. I'd be really surprised if anyone knows about that spot. Hope you're felling better, looked like a tough trip.

  3. Drop me an email. I'm totally open this weekend, from Friday to Sunday night. If you've got the time, I thought maybe Cienega.

  4. I really wish I had normal weekends off when I read your blog dude. You're killing me here

  5. There is a dude that has been to Bluff Camp. He has a few pictures in black and white.

  6. Great minds think alike! Over the years I've spent a lot of time thinking about what is the most remote camp in the backcountry. First off you need to define the word "remote" as well as "camp". Remote doesn't necessarily mean most miles to get to. There are camps along the Sisquoc like Mormon or Miller Camps that are very long hikes to get to in one day, but the trail is easy and the camps see traffic - not remote IMO. Similar spots include Bluff Station, Skunk, Mansfield, Flores Flat, anything around Big Pine - all of which are long hikes but not remote as far as human visitation. Remote has to be long mileage, far away as the crow flies, hard to get to and infrequently visited. Love this topic by the way. Also for this argument I'm including camps that have been recognized as Forest Service camps on relatively recent maps. There are some old camps from the early 1900's that are just ridiculously deep in canyons but have not been spotted in maps in 75 years - not including those obscure camps. I've been to most of the camps in the Southern Los Padres including Bluff and Ellis Apiary, here are my top 15 most remote camps. I couldn't limit it to 10, sorry but the topic is just too much fun:

    1. Halfway Spring - I've not visited, but I can't think of anything more remote.

    2. Pine Canyon Camp - When you think of remote, you got to think of almost all the camps within the Dick Smith. This camp was located along a bench above Pine Canyon between Don Victor Valley and Madulce. Its out there.

    3. Sluice Box - Along Horse Gulch, San Rafael Wilderness

    4. Borracho Spring - See Halfway Spring above, just a little easier IMO.

    5. Bill Faris - Back to the Dick Smith along Alamar Trail.

    6. Chuchadas - Was impossible to get to until last summer's La Brea Fire. Still a beast of a journey.

    7. Cooper Camp - Upper Fall Canyon. Long miles, hard to find.

    8. Lower Alamar - Commonly known as Alamar Tin Shack. Rarely visited, lots of bushwhacking, FS has no plans to maintain.

    9. Cove - Agua Blanca, no argument, rarely visited, lots of PO.

    10. Bluff Camp - Sespe near Bear Heaven. I imagine it gets some use from the people who frequent Cienega.

    11. McDonald Cabin - Upper Alder Creek, Sespe. Good luck!

    12. Last Chance - Gets some use from Thomas Aquinas, but a hard hike from below and really hard from above.

    13. Poplar - Really can't get to this part of Indian Creek in less than two days without getting a ride in.

    14. Pelch - Tucked away along the Grapevine Trail, easy to miss.

    15. Rollins Camp - Alamar along the old Loma Pelona Don Victor Fire Road. Was driveable a few years ago, but that won't last long.

  7. Thanks for the great post Bryan. I appreciate the info about the Dick Smith and San Raf. I know there's a lot of great stuff up there I need to check out.

    According to Dave Stillman there's nothing at Mcdonald Cabin anymore.

    Having been to Cienega Camp now, I realize a strong hiker could get there in a day, if they were motivated enough. And I now suspect it gets used more then I had previously thought.

    I forgot that there's a camp on the Sespe West Fork that's pretty much a two-dayer to get to.

    I've done some more research, and I think Halfway Spring must have got it's name from being the midway point between Piru Creek and Cobblestone Peak. I'm not sure if the best way there is to come down from Cobblestone or to try and go upcreek from Ellis. A mission to Halfway Spring sounds like a monster!

    Thanks for contributing.

  8. EP, having just returned from Bluff, I would venture Cobblestone or Halfway Spring would be the most remote in the Sespe Wilderness.

    See for the venture to Bluff.

    Thanks for this blog, I thoroughly enjoy following your sojourns into the wild.

  9. I used to go to Ellis apiary 20 30 years ago there were two old men (ranchers) that lived at Piru lake that hated each other. After the war (WWII) they set up there in competing operations. They would sometimes give me a ride to Blue point and from there I would walk to Ellis apiary. Loads of deer there in those days.
    Anybody remeber those old guys and their names?

  10. Ive been to bluff camp. found it just a few months ago

  11. Ive been to bluff camp. found it just a few months ago