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Apple Blossom at Forbush Flat
Forbush Flat is a campsite about 2 miles from the trailhead which makes
a nice destination for a short overnight backpack trip, or at least a
The trail to Forbush Flat starts out downhill first and goes down into the canyon where
there is lush vegetation and a small creek. The camp is in a meadow with
some tall trees and some old apple trees from when it was once an old
homestead a long time ago.
Be careful with hikes that start downhill if you are not in good shape.
You will start out feeling so confident of your abilities that you may
end up not appreciating how much uphill you have to do to get back to your
Forbush Flat and Gidney Ridge Updates
Update trail conditions
Posted: May 20, 2013, 5:51 pm
My girlfriend and I hiked down from Camino Cielo down to Forbush Flats for a quick overnighter. We didn't bring too much water thinking we could fill up at a creek or river in the area. We setup camp and then went looking to fill up our waterbottles. We went towards Mono and hiked down about a mile and a half or so and camp across some stagnant but still pretty clear small pools about the size of a bathtub. They didn't look great so we continued down to where I believe Santa Ynez river is supposed to be. The river bed was about 40 or 50 feet across and was completely dry... So we went back to the pools and filtered the water then boiled it when we got back to camp.
We did not get sick and everything worked out fine, but I'm not sure how much longer those pools will be there, so if you are headed to the area, bring lots of water as you may not be able to fill up! If anyone knows of any other water spots in the area I would love to know as I would like to go back further into the area for a few nights without lugging extra pounds of H2O in my pack
(Also lots of poison oak on the trail- beware!)
Posted: January 23, 2013, 3:06 pm
Hiked the Forbush Flat Trail yesterday as part of a longer loop hike. The trail is in great shape as the crews have been working on the trail, as evidenced by all the fresh cut vegitation and a stashed wheel barrow and tools I came upon. This made for a great hike as what I was wanting to do was just put miles of trail under me.
Posted: August 13, 2012, 3:43 pm
(Click here to see the entire gallery)
After reading about all sorts of trails, I settled for an overnighter at Forbush Flat to enjoy the Perseid meteor shower. The only issue with this is that the timing of the meteor shower is set like a clock and peaks every year around August 12th. Well, August 12th in the Santa Barbara mountains is quite the furnace…
Nonetheless, based on the fact that most of the hike is shaded, that the forecast convinced me it would be 85deg max and that there should be water flowing year long (at least people going there in July said there was water), I decided to go forward and plan my overnighter here with my girlfriend.
It was the first time I hiked this trail; I thought it was in good condition.
There are a few places where you get “free-bush-exfoliation” and a couple others places with steep sideways incline in loose gravel but nothing insurmountable. We hiked the 2 miles down in the dead of the heat (between 1pm and 2pm), my watch thermometer, on my wrist, stayed stuck between 98deg and 105deg the whole time. Despite the heat, the hike was enjoyable and pretty shaded. The views at certain points were nice but I wouldn’t qualify them as breathtaking. It’s too bad that gigantic power line goes through the landscape.
The camp spots were empty and in good shape. The table at the lower spot, where we stayed, is pretty worn out but very usable. One of its benches could probably get replaced. There was absolutely no water flowing in the creek
. I hiked up the creek a little bit and found a small pool of clear stagnant water, no bigger than a small bathtub. Without that and the water filter, we’d be pretty dried out. There was also an uncomfortable amount of bugs. Enough that we went through a whole bug repellent container.
There was nobody to be found all day, who would hike down there in the middle of a hot summer day! Well us I guess. The hike description
was a tiny bit confusing as you reach the campsites before your reach the rusty sign with the junction for the Blue Canyon trail; unless I was disoriented I guess.
After setting camp and hanging out a little, we decided to hike the 2 miles down to the Santa Ynez river and refill our bottles with some fresh water down there. We headed down the trail, which was pretty much in the same condition as the one to get down to the campsites. After a mile or so, we started seeing pools of sitting water, some clearer than others.
That’s when I realized I had forgotten the water filter at the campsite; we were down to our last liter of water. Now, I’m not completely unprepared as it might sound throughout the description: I did have some iodine pills. Knowing where the pools were to refill, we went a little further to try to find the actual flowing river. After hitting another dry hill, still not seeing the river and not being sure where we were heading or how far we were, I decided to head back to the pools where I knew we’d find some water. A little dip, a little iodine nasty tasting water and we were back in business. We then headed back to camp. I looked at the map today, and we stopped about 0.3 miles from the actual river.
Back at the camp, I filled the jug (the one that lives at the campsites) with water from the tiny pool up the creek and we started filtering. Oh what a pleasure to taste something that was filtered and not just sterilized by a life saving pill. We also played a little taking pictures of the sunset.
And frolicked in the field.
A group of about 15 mid-20’s people showed up right after sunset and set camp in the upper site. They were partying and extremely loud, playing music, singing, laughing, screaming until late in the night; living basically. Honestly, it didn’t bother us a bit but I’d understand people could be deeply annoyed by this. After seeing a few meteors and played with light painting, we headed to bed.
Even without the youngsters, the wildlife night was pretty loud. Some animal stayed around our tent digging through stuff pretty much until the morning. We had our tent set up without the rainfly so we could actually see some meteors through the trees, which was quite enjoyable. The tent is pretty much all mesh, I slept in my underwear and only needed the quilt in the middle of the night just because of a tiny breeze. I would’ve been just as happy with a shirt on.
We left camp at 9 the next morning because I was slow to pack, being tired from the little sleep I had both because of the animal digging around and my stomach not happy with the iodine water. We were at the car by 10:15 or so, drenched in sweat from the uphill hike in the heat. At least half of the hike was in the shade though.
I will definitely be going back but better prepared and not in August. Many lessons were learnt, whether about hiking in the heat, expecting to have water at the camp, timing the hike, etc. But heading there somewhat early in the day, setting camp then go check out the cascading pools (with flowing water) on the trail to the Santa Ynez river seems like an attractive idea to me.
Also, don’t overlook the fact that the hike is downwards on the way there and up on the way back. It’s definitely not a flat hike so even if 2 miles sounds easy, it’s still somewhat of a workout especially in the heat.
Posted: July 15, 2011, 11:37 pm
Forbush is one of the closest campsites for a quick overnight trip. My hiking friend, Rik, and I often jet over there to test backpacking gear and cure severe cases of NDD = Nature Deficit Disorder.
To drive from downtown SB to Cold Springs Saddle and then hike down to Forbush takes about 75 minutes.
The Bulkley Spring continues to flow, a record in our books.
The trail is in excellent condition. Someone has brushed the trail to within 1/2 mile of the camp. A good amount of water flows through the camp in the Gidney Creek. There are two shovels and a McCleod to help keep the camp and fire pits clean. The tables need a bit of repair to cure a case of dry rot.
I have posted a video of a recent trip to the camp here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXBdo8Vfcuo
Get outdoors and hike to Forbush for an overnight backcountry experience!
Posted: April 13, 2011, 12:16 am
Did the short 2 mile hike down to Forbush Flats from E Camino Cielo. Trail is in excellent condition, looks as if there was trail clearing within the last few months as there is a lot of cut debris off the sides of the trail. Followed the well maintained trail as it weaved its way down to Gidney Creek. The campsite is in excellent condition (apparently there are two as there was another small group camping there) and there is some water in the creek. On the way down, it is deceivingly loud but at the bottom there is running water, just not a lot. Lots of wildflowers in bloom along the way and it appears the old apple trees are blooming as well. Found a few ticks on my clothes (one also bit me) and a few on the dog so wear repellent. Was originally planning to drive down to the end of ECC but the gate is closed at the Divide Peak trail head
Apparently the SY River is still full! Great views of the backcountry including the full Gibralter complete with runoff over the dam and Jameson lake in the distance. Temperature was mild in the 60s but in the shade it feels much cooler.
Posted: March 20, 2011, 2:37 pm
Hiked up San Ysidro to Cielo then down to Forbush on Saint Patrick's Day just for a solo one nighter. Weather was beautiful, not too hot, and no ticks. The meadow was crisp and clean, looks like they cleared some oak up by the first camp-makes for good firewood. Someone left a huge water jug at the first camp, it's so big it'll probably be there for a while. Saw a rattler as I was heading down to Forbush, and then later saw a different snake swiming in a small gorge closer to the camp. Wild flowers were blooming, very special.
Posted: November 9, 2010, 1:56 pm
Did a little overnight on friday and saturday (5th and 6th), leaving at around 6:30pm. While it was getting dark, I noticed that the sections just past Bulkley Spring that were pretty overgrown a few weeks back were cleared out a bit.
Other than that, not much to report trail condition-wise, other than lots and lots of ticks out right now. I didn't notice them on the way down since it was getting too dark to see the little specks on the grass. I ended up having to pick one out of me at 5:30am the following morning after feeling a sore spot on my side. I was picking them off me left and right on the way out.
It was a beautiful morning with the clouds pouring/swirling over the ridge. Great little getaway for the night.
Posted: September 21, 2010, 2:02 pm
by: Cross Tie Walker
Dropped into Forbush from Cold Spring Saddle yesterday (Monday, 9/20/10) afternoon. Bulkley Spring is bone-dry, but still a cool and well-shaded spot to let the mutt cool off a bit. Past the spring there are a few spots on the trail that are a bit grown-in, but nothing serious. The pears at Forbush camp are coming in, and there's just enough water in Gidney Creek across from the lower camp to pull water.
Some clowns had broken off some branches from the madrone just off from the upper camp for firewood, but otherwise both sites were in pretty good shape.
Some pics at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/umotamba/sets/72157624881437581/
Posted: July 7, 2010, 10:41 am
Trail is in good condition, easy to follow. It's a bit overgrown in several spots so I'd advise wearing pants (and maybe long sleeves). There is enough water in the creek by the campsite to refill bottles with filters. Watch your step for the poison oak near the creek though. Nice hike if you want to change it up and go downhill first, then uphill to finish. I felt like I was cheating driving all the way up Gibralter road though.
Posted: March 15, 2010, 2:47 pm
Hiked down to Forbush Flats on Saturday morning as part of a longer loop hike. The trail is in excellent condition. There's a few scattered patches of wildflowers along the trail right now. The campsites looked to be tidy and well-maintained at the moment and there's plenty of water in Gidney Creek.