Machesna Mountain Wilderness

Located in the Los Padres National Forest in California.

Pine-crowned peaks, majestic rocky crags and views of the snowcapped Sierras characterize the Machesna Wilderness. The 20,000-acre wilderness became part of our National Wilderness System in 1984. Chaparral oak woodlands and conifer forests blanket its rugged terrain. The Wilderness also contains a 1,500-acre Research Natural Area dedicated to the study of a unique strain of Coulter pine. Prairie falcon, deer, mountain lions, black bear and tule elk make their home in the undisturbed landscape. Part of the wilderness is designated critical habitat for the California condor. Only 25 miles from San Luis Obispo, a unique wilderness experience awaits you!

There is one Forest Service developed recreation site in the Machesna Mountain Wilderness—Pine Springs—located in a mountain-top pine grove. It has a watering trough for stock and wilderness toilet and a fire ring. To help prevent damage to pine trees please keep stock tied to a line between the trees.

American Canyon Trail: A 5-mile hike of moderate difficulty. The trail starts in the oak woodlands of the American Canyon Campground. It gradually climbs 1,700 feet along brush-covered mountain slopes. Passing through scattered groves of oak and pine it ends in the shady Pine Springs developed recreation site. Views of the surrounding La Panza Mountains and Carrizo Plains are breathtaking.

Machesna Mountain Trail: A 9-mile hike of moderate difficulty. The trail follows pine-covered ridgelines and the walk is pleasant though challenging. Memorable views include the Temblor Mountain Range, Carrizo Plains Ecological Preserve, Bear Trap Canyon and Caste Crags.

For further information contact: Santa Lucia Ranger District, Los Padres National Forest

Published: 29 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 19 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication

  • Machesna Mountain Wilderness Area Travel Q&A

  • What's your favorite hike? Where's the best campsite? Join the conversation! Ask Your Question

park finder
step one
Where are you going?

step one
What do you want to do?

+ More Activities

Receive Gear Reviews, Articles & Advice

Preview this newsletter »


Parks Near Machesna Mountain Wilderness Area
GEARZILLA: The Gorp Gear Blog


Ask Questions