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Boronda 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: Boronda Trail

Re: Boronda Trail

Post by Padamson on Sat Jan 06, 2018 7:18 pm

Date Hiked: January 6, 2018
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Wide, clear, well maintained trail all the way to Timber Top camp. Beautiful hike!

Re: Boronda Trail

Post by jack_glendening on Fri Nov 03, 2017 2:31 pm

Date Hiked: November 2, 2017
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

The Boronda Trail is wilderness freeway.

But someone has apparently being running an ATV up the Boronda Trail, as well as along many of the old abandoned ranch roads. At some points they created new paths through the grass when the overhang along the trail was apparently too low for them. See photo for one such case.
Trail goes left, ATV goes right

Re: Boronda Trail

Post by Fatpopi on Thu Jan 07, 2016 2:03 pm

Date Hiked: December 28, 2015
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Trail is wide open,needs a little haircut on some of the wirebrush towards the top...Next time i run thru il bring loppers.

Re: Boronda Trail

Post by smd on Sat Dec 12, 2015 10:26 pm

Date Hiked: December 5, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Clear all the way up to Cold Spring Camp

Re: Boronda Trail

Post by fat popi on Thu May 07, 2015 3:19 pm

Date Hiked: May 4, 2015
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Boronda is in amazing shape. Some bulldozer came and cleared the trail up to the private turn off. Very clear.

Re: Boronda Trail

Post by Solid Snake on Tue Oct 28, 2014 8:19 pm

Date Hiked: October 26, 2014
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and/or well maintained)

This trail is almost completely clear. I remember the last time I came up this trail (a couple of years ago) there was a pretty big re-rout around a section that had some deadfalls and a bunch of thistles and poison oak. That section has been recently cleared:


Other than that not much has changed, The Boronda Trail still affords the hiker with wonderful views of the Big Sur coastline, and it's still as steep as any trail has a right to be. Lafler Creek has a healthy flow at the 2100 elevation mark, thanks to the rain it received the day before:


To get there, just make a left at the big dead oak tree, instead of a right which continues up the ridge. Follow this short side trail down into Lafler Canyon to find the water. I hiked up to Timber Top, cleaned some trash out of the camp site, and hiked back down. When I stopped for a snack, this cute California native kept me company:


There's one or two deadfalls up near the top, but they really aren't worth mentioning, and I seem to recall a tiny amount of knee high brush, but there's nothing that should deter anyone capable of climbing 3000 feet in three miles from attempting this lovely trail.

Re: Boronda Trail - N Coast Ridge Road - DeAngulo Trail

Post by Samantha S on Mon Oct 13, 2014 3:43 pm

Date Hiked: October 11, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We took the Boronda Trail up, camped one night at Timber Top, then took the North Coast Ridge Road to the DeAngulo Trail down to Highway One.

No water was available on any of these trails or at Timber Top campsite where the spigot was dry. We packed in 14 liters of water for two people and two dogs, one medium and one small. We had about 16 ounces left over when we landed at the bottom of DeAngulo Trail the next day. And this was after deciding to forego our planned breakfast of tea and oatmeal to ration water for the hike down since it was hot that weekend and we were not sure if North Coast Ridge Road and DeAngulo would be as exposed as Boronda. They were not, but it was still very hot and any sun exposure demanded hydration.

Other than that, the Boronda is very exposed to the sun and I would recommend hiking it when it's 75 degrees or below outside which would make it a lot easier. We're not athletes, but probably in above average shape with the ability to hike 15+ miles with 20+ pound packs with minimal elevation climb and 40+ pound packs for the Boronda trail elevation increase. However, the sun exposure and the heat really tested us, especially combined with the steep terrain. We had to go from shady spot to shady spot and stop to cool down before moving on and there weren't very many shady spots. Granted the increase in elevation is a butt kicker but the views are totally worth it.

So in summary, pack in your water (about 2L p/person p/day) and take it slow if you choose to go on a hot day. If I had to do that over I would add an umbrella. Having portable shade would have made all the difference.

Editor note: To others thinking of a similar excursion. while water is never available at Timber Top Camp (there had been a well but it was decommissioned), water is normally available (though in this extreme drought nothing is sure without a current report) at the 2100 ft level on a short spur off the Boronda Trail, so you would only need to hump it up the last 1/3 of the climb.

Re: Boronda Trail

Post by booss on Mon Sep 02, 2013 1:40 pm

Date Hiked: August 25, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Trailhead coordinates: 36.198344, -121.717733

There aren't many clues at the trailhead except for a green gate, a wilderness boundary stake, and a weathered "no autos" sign. Trail is in good shape with some encroaching brush towards the top. Except for some light deer paths there isn't much to get confused about besides what has been mentioned previously. It's a steady climb, and worth every penny when you reach the top!

There is a blowdown blocking the right hand side of the trail at this junction. Take the left path:
Blowdown around the right here, stay left, up the hill.

jack_glendening and K Vandevere's tips were much appreciated -- it would be easy to lose the trail at the fork with the left path going down the ravine (stay right, headed further up).
Stay right here, do not go left and down into the ravine!

Right before Timber Top camp there is a gate where the trail curves to the right, pass through it and within a few paces you will be at timber top.
Pass through this gate and Timber Top is straight ahead!

When I reached Timber Top camp, there was horse poop everywhere, even near the picnic table. I chose to camp further up past the water tower, where there is a cluster of rocks that are perfect for viewing the sunset.

The peace was disturbed a couple of times just as the sun was going down by cars driving north on Coast Ridge Road (the signed intersection of Boronda Trail and Coast Ridge Road is only 1/4 mile from camp).

Re: Boronda Trail

Post by jack_glendening on Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:56 pm

Date Hiked: June 15, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The picnic table at the top has been moved! On my past visits it had been in an open flat spot south of the "Timber Top" sign, but is now amid some small pines north of the sign. Likely the shade of the latter motived the move - it also provides a peek north to the coast. The site is sloped, however, so required some excavation and the table is now propped atop two concrete blocks. There is also an elevated grill there, which I do not remember seeing before.

I was comparing the grand views up and down coast with the one captured in Tom Killion's "Timber Top" etching, noting how some features were transformed by his artist's eye.

I met a college-age couple who'd been told about the trail by locals, but they turned back 2/3 of the way up - they were not used to such a trail and remarked upon the lack of signs. Based upon clearness of the tread, some people have been continuing into the now thistle-overgown road section 1/3 of way up (but not geting through it, as there was no tread at its upper end!) and also toward the spring 2/3 of the way up, at the large dead oak tree, so I placed branches at both places to hopefully guide people to the correct route to the top.

Timber Top table

Re: Boronda Trail

Post by K Vandevere on Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:37 pm

Date Hiked: June 15, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Trail in pretty good shape. At the big dead oak about half way up, the old road cut that heads left and drops into the ravine now looks more heavily used than the actual trail (which turns to the right through deep grass under the oak). It's a safe bet that people have been missing the turn there. People have also been camping near the oak and have left their dental floss, toilet paper and other crap lying around. The first quarter mile of the trail is also festooned with toilet paper. The upper portions of the trail are gradually getting overgrown with deerweed (L. scoparius), so people with sensitive legs may prefer long pants. There's also a deadfall to duck under in the ravine just before the summit. A few poppies and lupine still blooming up top.