Click on photos for larger images. Sometimes you have to refresh the page to re-activate this feature. Hide Slide Show (you will have to refresh the page to see it again)

Condor Trail / Los Padres National Forest, CA

Mar 30 - Apr 6, 2019 -- $1250 ★★★, Only 1 Spot Left

The California Condor is a critically endangered bird species that still lives along the fairly new Condor Trail in the Los Padres National Forest. Although we didn’t see any on our last trip here, come join Fitpacking this March on a new route where hopefully we’ll see one. Our hike will traverse the lower Sisquoc Loop which follows Manzana Creek in order to be close to water in this desert ecosystem. Weather is fair, campsites are plentiful and views are abundant.

The Condor Trail lies only a few hours from Los Angeles in a wonderful seldom-visited area called the San Rafael Wilderness. This wilderness contains oak shaded grasslands, dry plateaus, occasional waterfalls, wind carved sandstone formations, a California condor sanctuary, black bears and reclusive mountain lions.

Our journey will begin at Nira camground. We will head up Manzana Creek before cutting across Hurricane Ridge, where no hurricane has ever touched down. From there we will descend to the Sisquoc River, following the river downstream before crossing over to the historic Manzana Schoolhouse, the lowest elevation on the trip. We'll turn back and head up the Manzana River before finally completing the entire loop at the starting point, Nira.


Weather is always an important concern when backpacking. Spring is really one of the best times to visit since the cool days are great for hiking. Nearby, Santa Ynez Airport weather averages. show that daytime temperatures are in the 60s and nighttime temps are in the 40s. The climate is arid and California has been under a historical drought so it's possible that fires may be present. We just don't know this far ahead, but will let you know anything if it develops.

Trip Leaders

Steve Silberberg
Rick Romine


$1250 per person double occupancy. Here, double occupancy means that you will share a hotel room with another trip participant. You will also be responsible for transportation to and from Los Angeles (LAX) as well as personal equipment, restaurant meals and any gratuities.

Covered expenses include one week trip, 6 days of trail meals, ground transportation, permits, fees and awesome guides.


Please be aware that there may be active fires or trail conditions that are affected by fires that have been put out. We will make alternate plans should this happen. There may also be scarce amounts of water in certain places which would necessitate us carrying up to 8 liters of water on some days.

Back to top


Packing List
Guides for this trip
Important Note
Difficulty (Please Read)
Packing List
Sign up Now!


Saturday, March 30, 2019

Fly or drive into Los Angeles (LAX)

Take free airport shuttle to our local hotel La Quinta Inn & Suites LAX, 5249 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045, 310-645-2200

Equipment shakedown

Distribution of trail mix

"Before" body composition measurements taken

Trip to REI, 1800 Rosecrans Ave, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266, (310) 727-0728, for forgotten or last minute equipment. Hours 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Go out to welcome dinner, not included in trip cost

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Second set of before body composition measurements taken

Store off-trail bags at hotel. Please limit the size and number of bags you are storing.

Free hotel breakfast

Check out of hotel

Shuttle 3+ hours to Nira Campground in the Los Padres National Forest

Begin Hiking at Nira, elevation 1788'

Hike 4.6 miles to Ray's, elevation 2381'

Camp at Ray's, elevation 2381'

Distance today: 4.6 miles. Total to date: 4.6 miles

Possible Bailout: Nira

Monday, April 1, 2019

Hike 2.7 miles to the Manzana Trail, elevation 3143'

Turn left and hike 3.4 uphill miles to Happy Hunting Ground, elevation 3507'

Hike 3.6 downhill miles to Lonnie Davis, elevation 2664’. The water is beautiful here.

Camp at Lonnie Davis, elevation 2664’.

Distance today: 9.7 miles. Total to date: 14.3 miles

Possible Bailout: Nira

Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Hike 0.6 miles to South Fork, elevation 2480'. There is reliable water and a ranger station here.

Turn Left on the Condor Trail

Hike 9.5 miles on the Lower Sisquoc Trail to Cliff, elevation 1791'

Camp at Cliff, elevation 1791'

Distance today: 10.1 miles. Total to date: 24.4 miles

Possible Bailout: No good options, over a day away

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Hike 6.7 miles on the Condor Trail / Lower Sisquoc Trail to Water Canyon, elevation 1329’

Camp at Water Canyon, elevation 1329’

Distance today: 6.7 miles. Total to date: 31.1 miles

Possible Bailout: No good options, over a day away

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Hike 4.1 miles on the Condor Trail / Lower Sisquoc Trail to Manzana Schoolhouse, elevation 1162'

Manzana Schoolhouse is the lowest elevation on this trip

Turn left off the Condor Trail and hike 4.0 miles on a dirt road following Manzana Creek to Horseshoe Bend, elevation 1431'

Hike 1.4 miles on the Manzana Trail to Coldwater, elevation 1534'

Camp at Coldwater, elevation 1534'

Distance today: 9.5 miles. Total to date: 40.6 miles

Possible Bailout: Private dirt roads near Manzana Schoolhouse

Friday, April 5, 2019

Hike 2.8 miles on the Manzana Trail to Sunset Road, elevation 1739'

Hike 0.4 miles on Sunset Road to NIRA, elevation 1788'

End of Hiking

Distance today: 3.2 miles. Total to date: 43.8 miles

Shuttle 3+ back hours to LA Hotel La Quinta Inn & Suites LAX, 5249 W Century Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90045, 310-645-2200

"After" measurements taken

Dinner and awards Ceremony (Dinner cost not included in trip cost)

This is the official end of the trip. You are welcome to spend the night at the hotel, however if you drove and would like to get on the road or if you flew and would like to schedule a late flight (or a red-eye if this is a West Coast trip) you can definitely do so.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Leave Hotel

Free airport shuttle

Back to top