McGill Trail, Los Padres National Forest, 7.8 Miles RT 1,588 +/-, June 24, 2018

This Sunday we hiked the McGill Trail to McGill Campground in Los Padres National Forest.  We started out at the north trailhead just off Cuddy Valley Road.  The trail climbs a little over 1,500 feet in 3.5 miles at a moderate grade.  As soon as we started up, I immediately began to see Coronis Fritillary, Speyeria coronis butterflies.  There were tons of these bright orange beauties fluttering along the sides of the trail!  There were also many different species of Blues, the tiny thumbnail butterflies that most people probably walk right by without even noticing.  It was a warm morning, and I tried to catch a few shots along the trail without zapping my energy by spending too much time in the hot sun.  It’s very easy to get caught up trying to get that perfect butterfly shot and forget the sun is blasting down on you.  Plus we still had a lot of mileage to cover to reach our destination.  We wanted to make it up to the campground before my husband’s HAM radio club would be wrapping up their field day weekend at 11 am.  As we got higher in elevation, the wind picked up and helped keep us cool.  I believe it was around 10:30 am when we made it to the campground.  We said our hellos to the radio club and then took a nice, long relaxing break at one of the picnic tables before heading back the way we came.  The McGill trail is a beautiful trail.  It’s also popular with mountain bikers, and on this day we passed maybe a handful of riders who were very courteous of us and let us know how many others would be coming along the trail.  This was our second visit to the Los Padres National Forest.  It’s a very lovely area that we will continue to explore and I really enjoyed this trail.
 

 We started the hike at the north trailhead off Cuddy Valley Road.

We started the hike at the north trailhead off Cuddy Valley Road.

 The trail climbs upward and is popular with mountain bikers who like to ride it downhill.  There weren't too many bikers today, but the ones we saw were very courteous and yielded to us and let us know how many others were coming down the trail.

The trail climbs upward and is popular with mountain bikers who like to ride it downhill.  There weren't too many bikers today, but the ones we saw were very courteous and yielded to us and let us know how many others were coming down the trail.

 Coronis Fritillary Speyeria coronis were abundant along our route.

Coronis Fritillary Speyeria coronis were abundant along our route.

 Many Blues along the trail as well.  I believe this is Boisduval's Blue, Plebejus icarioides

Many Blues along the trail as well.  I believe this is Boisduval's Blue, Plebejus icarioides

 Boisduval's Blue, Plebejus icarioides

Boisduval's Blue, Plebejus icarioides

 The trail is graded nicely so not too strenuous.

The trail is graded nicely so not too strenuous.

 Another Coronis Fritillary Speyeria coronis.

Another Coronis Fritillary Speyeria coronis.

 The trail goes in and out of shade.

The trail goes in and out of shade.

 Nice views with San Emigdio Mountain to the left.

Nice views with San Emigdio Mountain to the left.

 There were also some wide meadows along the route.

There were also some wide meadows along the route.

 Looking over at Cuddy Valley to the east.

Looking over at Cuddy Valley to the east.

 We came upon this young buck with velvet antlers.  He watched us for a while until he took off into the woods.

We came upon this young buck with velvet antlers.  He watched us for a while until he took off into the woods.

 Just before reaching McGill Campground, there's a nice Nature Walk.

Just before reaching McGill Campground, there's a nice Nature Walk.

 McGill Campground.

McGill Campground.

 Heading back.

Heading back.

 Coronis Fritillary Speyeria coronis

Coronis Fritillary Speyeria coronis

 Coronis Fritillary Speyeria coronis

Coronis Fritillary Speyeria coronis

 Another Blue.

Another Blue.

 This one was pretty tattered.

This one was pretty tattered.

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 Looking down at Cuddy Valley.

Looking down at Cuddy Valley.

 Looking back at the trail above.

Looking back at the trail above.

 Almost back to the car.

Almost back to the car.