Friday, December 30, 2011

Rinconada Trail Hike 2011

Today I took a short hike up to the spine of the Santa Lucia Mountains in the Los Padres National Forest in the backcountry of San Luis Obispo County on the Central Coast of California. My buddy and I parked at the Rinconada Trailhead located at the site of the now-abandoned Rinconada Mine and hiked the relatively short distance to the top. The following images are shown in the order I captured them.

The trail starts out in thin oak woodland.
But soon wends its way into chaparral.
The preceding image shows the trail in this brush field but around the end of this spur of a spur ridge.
My Tequila-monster reading the odor mail on the trail.
This highly mineralized ridge (viewed from the south) contains the Rinconada Mine on the north side.
Higher elevation view of the trail as previous with Black Mountain in background.
Pozo Road wending its way from the Pozo Valley in the background and the Los Padres National Forest beyond.
The trail is perfect for hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking but motorized vehicles are prohibited.
Nearing the top the trail gets steeper and features more broken serpentine.
The area burned in the 1985 Las Pilitas Fire but 26-1/2 years later is ready to burn again.
The gate near the top.
View from the top where the trail starts down towards Lopez Lake.
View down Lopez Canyon and out to the south towards Santa Barbara County in the far distance.
My buddy Mike and my buddy Tequila.
This elongated dell struck me as looking like a rift valley.
This lone oak seemed out of place on this rocky and wind-swept saddle in the Santa Lucia Range.
View up the spine of the Santa Lucia Range to the northeast.
Zoomed-in view down into the canyons above Lopez Lake and beyond into Santa Barbara County to the south.
View down the spine of the Santa Lucia Range to the southeast.
Despite no mining activity up here at the top there are plenty of mineralized zones like this outcropping.
View down the spine of the spur-ridge up which the Rinconada Trail wends with this being an offshoot of the trail.
Notice the Nike symbol in the hillside? Rock formation in the distance is within Santa Margarita Lake Park.
Rinconada Mine viewed from across the canyon.
What remains of the Rinconada Mine mill including a retort.
The adits entrances have all been covered with boulders they used to honeycomb the ridge above and behind the mill.

All photos by Kim Patrick Noyes (all rights reserved)


  1. Nice. Like the pics of the old mill/forge. Miss the Klau.

  2. Thanks, Andy! I so miss the Klau/Buena Vista myself... let's go up there together soon before the mud returns.... and maybe the two of us could talk to Harold about more frequent and extensive access, eh? BTW, I have added captions to this now so please check it out again if you get around to it.

  3. Thanks for sharing, Kim. Nice pics. Collecting is allowed? Is there still decent stuff?

  4. Beautiful


    Steve From Modesto

  5. Oh Boy! I loved these pics very much! It felt like I took the journey with you! ;-P Thanks for sharing! ~~Alice Bordelon

  6. I'm glad you all enjoyed the images.... collecting is just fine out there but the 2004 remediation of the site moved most of the remaining collectible material from reach. However, both diligence and continued erosion make it possible to find new material worth taking home. I have retrieved a couple of smaller specimens of cinnabar that the government missed.