A quick overnight backpack trip to Pico Blanco camp, skirting the edge of the Ventana Wilderness in the Los Padres National Forest.
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During the decent into the valley, Pico Blanco dominates the view.
Inconveniently, Pica Blanco camp is precisely on the far side of the mountain. The trail goes around clockwise, down to the left, up and over the ridge, and down to the river.
Forest Service Trailhead
The hike to camp is 6.5 miles. The first 3 miles is to the forest service trailhead, down a dirt road to the valley floor. There, in an old growth redwood forest, is the Monterey Boy Scout Camp.
The forest service trailhead is on the south side of the Little Sur river, and from there a single track trail winds up the steep flanks of Pico Blanco.
After Launtz Ridge, you traverse to the south side of Pico Blanco. You exit the forest to wide vistas. The marble mountain drains water from the soil, and with full exposure to the sun, only drought tolerant plants survive. It's a hard rugged country of grassland with scattered chaparral, along with brilliant white fields of marble.
Pico Blanco camp
Soon after contouring around to the south, the destination can be seen: Pico Blanco camp, on the South Fork Little Sur River. You can smell the fresh marine air.
Pico Blanco camp
The camp is adjacent to a sunny field on the edge of an old growth redwood forest. It has both sunny and shady areas, and great views. Pico Blanco looms to the north, and Post Summit looms to the south.
I didn't see anyone on the trail, and I had the camp--in fact the entire backside of the mountain--to myself Saturday night.
It's on the edge of a minor gorge formed by the South Fork Little Sur River. Marble boulders and rubble litter the riverbed. For scale, the two large trees on the right bank are well over ten feet in diameter.
Waterfall and Pool
Up the river and around a bend is a singular waterfall and pool. The pool is aqua and so transparent that you can you can see the six white marble boulders on the bottom of the pool. They must have crashed down the mountain and collected in the pool. I jumped in and it's extremely deep and extremely cold.
Waterfall near Pico Blanco Camp
I was the only person at Pico Blanco Saturday night, and the falls were a great place to be as darkness closed in.