Machesna Mountain Wilderness
Machesna Mountain Wilderness offers some beautiful terrain in San Luis Obispo County. This wilderness borders Garcia Wilderness and is part of the Los Padres National Forest. If there weren’t slices of private land in between the wildernesses, it would be feasible to link together a 50 mile route linking Machesna Mountain Wilderness, Garcia Wilderness, and the Santa Lucia Wilderness. As it sits 99% of such route is on public land.
During most of the year, access to the Machesna Mountain Wilderness can only be gained from the Chester Springs Entrance. This access is a 4WD road, though only the last 1.5 miles up Pine Mountain Road require 4WD. The other access point is via Avenales Ranch Road. This access is more convenient and less rugged, but it is limited to six weeks a year (normally August/September), during rifle deer season. The trail can be reached by taking Highway 58 to Pozo Road. Follow Pozo Road past Pozo, to Avenales Road. Turn right, and travel 7 miles to the sign for American Canyon Campground. Turn left, the campground is 1.2 miles beyond this point. The Wilderness trailhead is located at the upper end of the campground.
Running these trails was sublime – every bit was runnable. I didn’t see anyone (except Janet) along the way.