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Lopez Canyon Backpack Award

The Lopez Canyon Backpack is designed to be done overnight and has a duration of about 10 backpack hours. It is intended to enhance knowledge and appreciation of the relationships between land and water are the variety of uses that man has devised for these two primal natural resources.  The start is Lopez Canyon where Lopez Canyon Road turns northwest, 2.9 miles beyond the gate entrance for Camp French. The route travels up Lopez Canyon for 4.0 miles along the unimproved Lopez Canyon Road to the Big Falls Canyon trail junction. One option is to visit the Big Falls along the 1.2 mile side-trail. The backpack continues up Lopez Canyon along U.S.F.S. trail for 3.2 miles to the primitive Sulfur Pots Campground with its characteristic odor. Upper Lopez Campground is located another 1.0 miles north along the trail. The overnight stay can be done at either Sulfur Pots or Upper Lopez Campground; then the Canyon and trail take an abrupt to the West. Continue on the trail 2.1 miles upslope to the U.S.F.S. Trailhead on the East Cuesta Ridge. Follow the East Cuesta Ridge in a north-westerly direction for 4.8 miles to finish the backpack at the Cuesta Pass gate.
WARNING:  This backpack should not be attempted in rainy weather; backpacking in the canyon becomes very hazardous under this condition.


  1. Comply with the GENERAL REQUIREMENTS.
  2. At least one adult must have successfully completed a Council Adult Backpack Awareness course.
  3. Prior to the Lopez Canyon backpack, all participants must have completed two HAT training hikes.
  4. All participants must complete at least one hour of service to the U.S.F.S.  The service project must be approved in advance by the Los Padres U.S.F.S. and completed during the backpack.
  5. The route must be followed; doing the trip in reverse does not qualify for this award.
  6. B.S.A. Council Tour Permits must be obtained in advance. A copy must accompany the award application.
  7. TOPO maps include: 
    1. Lopez Mountain
    2. San Luis Obispo
    3. Santa Margarita
    4. Tar Springs Ridge