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North Coast Ridge Trail

Trail Report

In the form below, enter a Subject line or title (optional), the date you hiked the trail, and a a rating as to the general passability of that trail then follow up with a more detailed narrative of the specific conditions or problems encountered. For the longer trails some folks like to segment the specific conditions part of their reports, reporting conditions in a serial fashion between landmarks such as camps or junctions. This is fine so long as the entire report is specific to a particular named trail.

Enter the code exactly as it appears. All letters are case insensitive.
Wilderness Freeway: Heavily used and well maintained.
Clear: No obstacles and tread well defined.
Passable: Some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident.
Difficult: Brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread.
Impassable: Completely overgrown or tread obliterated.

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Topic review

Expand view Topic review: North Coast Ridge Trail

Re: North Coast Ridge Trail

Post by pantilat on Tue Dec 12, 2017 5:52 pm

Date Hiked: December 10, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Gamboa Trail JCT to Arroyo Seco Trail JCT: Clear. Recent brushing means this section is mainly clear but there are a couple remaining spots where the brush is starting to encroach a little bit.

From Arroyo Seco Trail JCT to Rodeo Flat JCT: Passable. As this is an old road bed the path ahead is never in doubt but the brush has really filled in the past couple years and there are dozens of blowdowns over the trail that have accumulated. The fire crews stopped at Rodeo Flat but in this case it would have been nice if they kept going a little bit to clear out this section of substantial blowdowns and brush.

From Rodeo Flat JCT to the north end of trail: Clear. While rarely used, this section is a wide open road cleared by the fire crews last year in the Soberanes Fire. This was becoming very brushy in sections before the fire so it was nice to be able to focus on the great views from the ridge instead of the brush. After only a year new brush is sprouting in the road and about a foot tall in spots but it won't start seriously encroaching on a path for some time. There was quite a bit of bear scat observed on this section which fits with the theme of seeing more evidence of bears in this quiet part of the Ventana.

Re: North Coast Ridge Trail

Post by pantilat on Wed Mar 22, 2017 2:42 pm

Date Hiked: March 19, 2017
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From the end of the Cone Peak Road to JCT with Gamboa Trail (Passable):
Lots of rocks, gravel and debris have landed on the tread from above to the point that the tread is barely evident in spots. The trail crosses a shallow gully that is dry in all but the biggest storms but had water flowing this winter resulting in a washout of the tread revealing more bedrock. One can either carefully cross the bedrock at the elevation of the trail or lower down a few feet where the bedrock is not as steep. There are a few step-overs of old snags that toppled over the trail, but no troubles getting over or around them.

From Gamboa Trail JCT to Cook Spring Camp Trail (Mostly Clear, one section Passable): Some brush is beginning to encroach on the trail, particularly in the last 100 meters or so before the trail rounds the corner into the Sugar Pine forest of the Cook Spring area. Some of this brush tunnel was improved, but it could use a little more work to get a Clear rating. Once rounding the corner into the Sugar Pines it's now Clear to the Cook Spring Camp Trail JCT after some minor brushing.

From Cook Spring Camp Trail to Tin Can Usecamp (Wilderness Freeway): Brush was beginning to encroach (particularly waist level manzanita) but it's been cleared and now Wilderness Freeway.

Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Post by Jim Ringland on Sun May 15, 2016 6:02 pm

Date Hiked: May 12, 2016
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I hiked a combination of the Coast Ridge Road and the Coast Ridge Trail from the Marble Peak Trail junction to the Lost Valley Connector junction. I got to the Upper Bee junction on the 12th and went from there to the LV Connector junction on the 13th.

Nothing difficult on the road, of course. Vehicular traffic is allowed for the few residents so it's a wide open walk. The views both ways are wonderful, as were the flowers: lupines, owl clover, popcorn flower, scarlet bugler, and poppies in the grass, monkey flower, paintbrush, and (native) morning glory on the road cuts. Add golden yarrow and foothill Penstemon in the shrubbier spots. Plus lots of Ceanothus, black sage, and yerba santa, all in bloom too.

The trail section has all the same, but in some cases too much. The warty Ceanothus and some of the other shrubs have really grown since I was last through in 2013. There were spots where you just have to push your way through. In many places, this is more a “route” on the old road cut than a “trail” with a defined track. The very worst route-finding and worst pushing-through don’t happen together, but there are places which do ask for some of both. As a consolation, there was lots of that wonderfully bulbous Grinnell’s Penstemon and you may have to dodge the hummingbirds working the scarlet bugler. For that matter, the gorgeous deep blue on the warty Ceanothus would call for words of praise … when other words don't come to mind first.

Added note: The brushiness and route-finding problems occur throughout segment of the Coast Ridge Trail I walked. The two worst sections might be (a) the 1/2 mile from the north end to the Bee Camp Trail junction and (b) a ridge-top section of similar length just a bit north of the beginning of the last descent to the saddle where the trail meets the Lost Valley Connector. Part (a) was getting bad when I was here in 2013. Part (b) was a little wild but wasn't that bad in 2013. I was surprised how much it had grown in.

Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Post by cehauser on Tue Jan 12, 2016 3:25 am

Date Hiked: January 1, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked the North Coast Ridge Trail, from Cook Spring Camp Trail north to the gate at the end of the North Coast Ridge Road (and then continued north along the North Coast Ridge Road up to Marble Peak, which is just south of Anderson Peak). Along that stretch of the North Coast Ridge Trail, the trail gradually became more obstructed as I hiked north (first with fallen trees, then both brush and fallen trees). Generally, the fire break sections are mostly clear (with smaller brush), and the road "bypass" road sections (the sections of road that bypass the steep firebreak sections) tend to have more brush and dead trees. The trail sign at the Rodeo Flat trail junction is mostly burned up, unreadable, and is lying on the ground in the bushes about 30 feet from the trail intersection. Hiking northbound, it is very easy to continue walk down the dozer trace which becomes Rodeo Flat Trail. I tried to find Volunteer Spring, walking down the short dozer trace, but I could not locate it. Redondo Spring had a trickle of water flowing out of the short white PVC "elbow" pipe, and turning the handle on the taller black PVC "faucet" allowed me to fill my bottles quickly. I saw the stone markers and the start of the trail to Upper Bee Camp, but then it seems like it took over an hour of hiking to walk the quarter mile between Bee Camp and the gate at the end of the North Coast Ridge Road... this unexpected time was partly due to the increased brush in this section, and partly because I think I got sidetracked on steep firebreaks instead of following the road. I think the key to staying on the North Coast Ridge Trail: If you are hiking on a road or firebreak on which a 2-wheel-drive vehicle could drive (assuming no boulders, brush, or dead trees), you are probably on the right track (because this trail was once a road), but if you are hiking on something that is very steep or very rutted, you've probably drifted onto a firebreak or another trail.

Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Post by Carl Mounteer on Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:06 pm

Date Hiked: June 3, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The trail is clear from the trailhead at the end of the Cone Peak Road to about a half mile past the Gamboa Trail junction. Then the trail becomes only passable because the brush starts to substantially encroach the trail to the junction with the Cook Springs Camp trail. An example is shown in the photo below. (This attachment is 90 degrees off to the left. Click on it to see it in the correct position.)

The bugs are pretty numerous and aggressive all along these intervals. My experience is this nuisance will continue to escalate through the summer months and taper off around October. So a head net and DEET-based insect repellant will help alleviate some of this.

The Forest Service has recently made finding these branch trails much easier with brand new signs that look very nice. The only problem with them is they do not give distances. This surprises me since that information is not only important but also easy to find in numerous printed sources that are readily available.

Example of brush encroaching near the junction of the Coast Ridge and Cook Springs Camp Trails.

Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Post by mfisher on Tue Jun 02, 2015 11:39 am

Date Hiked: May 25, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Dates: 25 May 2015 - 26 May 2015

Hiked the Coast Ridge Trail/Road from the Gamboa Trail junction to the junction of Terrace Creek Trail.

Clear along Coast Ridge Trail from Gamboa Trail to Cook Spring Camp. Could not ascertain the water availability at Cook Spring Camp. At the Cook Spring Trail junction, the spur trail descends and then forks right and left descending steeply. There was no water at the fork. I followed both forks for about 2 minutes and there was no water in either direction for 2 minutes.

Passable to difficult from Cook Spring to Bee.
Bushes are growing all over the trail and in many cases, the actual trail is not discernible. The trail at the junction of Rodeo Flats is not obvious, although more distinct sections are visible in the distance. There are some sections that are so thick with growth, you have to simply find the path of least resistance and push through. There is water at Redondo. We were able to get 4 liters from the reservoir, and then afterward the reservoir fill rate was 1/2 liter every 15 minutes. The creek at the saddle south of Redondo is dry (Is this volunteer camp?). The Lost Valley trail sign is lying on the ground amidst brush and is easily missed.

The Bee junction is difficult to find. 50 yards before the junction on the Coast Ridge Trail is a little knoll. The trail proper turns left around the knoll, but it's not obvious which way to go as both directions -- 1) left around the knoll and to the other side, or 2) straight ascending and descending -- are choked with brush. On the other side of this knoll is a nice spot to fit a couple tents on the ridge. The top of the knoll is an amazing spot to view the sunrise. 50 yards along the trail proper left of the knoll keep your eyes peeled for a cairn on the left -- which is easy to miss due to the brush. The cairn is directly across the trail from a lone, 20' pine tree. I believe this cairn marks the Bee Camp spur "trail". This Bee spur "trail" was almost impassible -- there is nothing here that resembles a trail from the ridge. We pushed through the path of least resistance and found a gully with a small open area. There was no water in the gully. We worked our way to the bottom of the main drainage and heard the sound of water -- a small stream choked with dense brush and poison oak. We were able to bushwhack through and dip a cup in the stream to fill our water bladders.

From Bee to the Coast Ridge Road is difficult. It is about a 1/2 hour bushwhack session. You literally have to push through stands of brush 8 feet tall to reach the road head.

If you are not comfortable with map and contour reading / interpretation / orienteering, I would not recommend the Coast Ridge Trail.

Coast Ridge Road from south east road head to Terrace Creek Trail: No issues. We actually descended through the clouds on this section of the hike. It was pretty cool.

Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Post by Al Normandin on Thu May 07, 2015 12:44 pm

Date Hiked: May 6, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Started the hike from the end of Cone Peak Road. The first 3 1/2 miles to the Arroyo Seco trail turn-off were generally clear with encroaching Ceanothus and Yerba Santa bushes making it a little scratchy for those in shorts. The next three miles looked like it hadn't been maintained since Nixon was in office. But the trail is a former dirt road where you could get around the 6 foot bushes growing in the road. At the end of the 6 1/2 miles that I hiked, I then turned around because there was several hundred yards of pure bush wacking to do. But looking ahead it seem lke the trail was fine once again after the bush wacking.

Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Post by Carl Mounteer on Tue May 05, 2015 10:18 pm

Date Hiked: May 5, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report covers the North Coast Ridge Trail from the trailhead at the end of Cone Peak Road to the junction with the Gamboa Trail.

The trail is clear until the trail emerges from the base of Cone Peak. There, brush is encroaching on the parts of this trail. Otherwise, it would be a wilderness freeway.

Mention should be made of the superb condition of Cone Peak Road. Although brush is also encroaching parts of it, the Forest Service has recently done a superb leveling of the surface of the road, putting it in the best shape I have seen it in 12 years.

Re: Coast Ridge Trail

Post by Jim Ringland on Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:26 pm

Date Hiked: April 15, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Lost Valley Connector to Cook Springs

Previous reports are fine here: not too much has changed since I was on this trail in 2013.

Except for some threading around ceanothus, deerweed, and the like, the route is essentially clear between the Lost Valley Connector junction and the Rodeo Flats Trail junction. Redondo Spring has water. Volunteer Camp doesn't, but it appears to have been seeing more use than it had two years ago. The four miles between the Rodeo Flats trail and the Arroyo Seco trail junction has many simple-to-manage deadfalls and a few sections that require more threading through the shrubs. Then it’s mostly clear up to the Cook Springs junction.

There are new signs at the Arroyo Seco junction and at the Cook Springs junctions.

Coast Ridge Trail

Post by bobbomcc on Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:25 pm

Date Hiked: February 24, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Our Stevenson crew hiked from Indian Valley up the Marble Peak trail to the junction with the North Coast Ridge road and then SE on the North Coast Ridge road / trail to the Lost Valley Connector. The road was obviously clear to the gate, and the Coast Ridge Trail beyond was easy to follow despite some brush and numerous step – overs. We never did find the trail down to Bee Camp, although we spent a lot of time trying. We saw one cairn marking the supposed start of the Bee Camp trail but there was no clear trail to camp. However, finding the good water supply off the trail was no problem. The trail from the Bee Camp trail junction to the Lost Valley Connector was brushy but easy to follow.