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Cook Springs Camp 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: Cook Springs Camp Trail

Re: Cook Springs Camp Trail

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

Date Hiked: December 10, 2017
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The Cook Spring Camp Trail is clear. The junction with the North Coast Ridge Trail has a nice relatively new sign. One switchback down from the junction sign north coast ridge trail is an unsigned junction. The main path goes right and does a wide switchback down to the camp while a usepath on the left takes a more direct, steeper descent. The usepath has a minor step-over blowdown. This is a beautiful area in the "Sugar Bowl" forest of old-growth Sugar Pines. The Cook Spring is flowing but fairly slowly (20oz takes about a minute). There's a nice incense cedar right above the spring and the Sugar Pines surrounding the camp are beautiful.

Re: Cook Springs Camp Trail

Post by cehauser on Tue Jan 12, 2016 2:43 am

Date Hiked: December 31, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

From the North Coast Ridge Trail (near Trail Spring), I hiked a short distance on the Carrizo Trail toward the northeast, then took the Carrizo - Cook Spring Connector Trail to Cook Spring. I spent a cold night at Cook Spring (lots of snow and frozen ground there), then the next morning I continued hiking north on the North Coast Ridge Trail. On the Carrizo Trail, the section that I hiked was very clear. The Carrizo-Cook Spring Connector Trail is very narrow, and the only way I knew I was on a trail was because I was following bear tracks through the snow. Cook Spring was only a trickle, but there is a tiny 8-inch waterfall where you can use leaves and stones to divert the trickle of water into a water bottle. Flow is about 1 liter per minute, and it is good water. The next morning (January 1), I hiked up the Cook Spring Camp Trail, which is a wide switch-backing bulldozer path, completely clear. I did not find the Cook Spring Use Trail shown on Jack Glendening's Google Earth KMZ map, but the snow may have obscured it.

Re: Cook Springs Camp Trail

Post by Carl Mounteer on Wed Jun 03, 2015 10:48 pm

Date Hiked: June 3, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

But for the requirement that the trail be "Heavily used..." I would have rated this trail a "Wilderness Freeway".

At the junction of this trail and the Coast Ridge Trail there is a brand new sign that lists "Cook Springs Camp" and underneath that "Carrizo Trail Connector". The problem is that, like all of these new signs, there are no distances shown for the places listed. So one does not know if the Carrizo Trail Connector appears beyond Cook Springs Camp or at Cook Springs Camp. There is what looks like a trail leading east from the Cook Springs Camp Trail in the direction of the Carrizo Trail. This appears about 50 yards down the Cook Springs Camp trail as you leave the Coast Ridge Trail. But there is another very obvious trail leading east from the upper camp at Cook Springs Camp that could also be the Carrizo Trail Connector. Again, the use of distances on the signs would have clarified whether latter was the connector or whether the connector was beyond Cook Springs Camp. The new signs are wonderful. But the lack of distances to the places indicated on the signs is puzzling because this information is so necessary and easily obtained in readily available printed sources.

The spring at Cook Springs Camp can be found from the obvious trail starting just below the upper camp fire pit and leading west from the camp. About 70 yards down this trial is the water source. This is generating water but very little. It is still a slight stream of water but if it was any less it would be merely dripping. I estimate that this water source is producing about a gallon of water in 45 minutes. It may disappear altogether in the coming summer months. I anticipated this from previous trail reports so I brought my own water and was glad I did. Getting water from this source now must be a real chore.

What surprised me was the number of mosquitos attracted to this meagre water source. There must of been five at a time clinging to my tent's windows continuously. There are a lot of bugs here, especially mosquitos, and they are very aggressive so a headnet and DEET-based insect repellant might help alleviate this problem.

The silence at this camp is breathtaking, especially after the sun goes down.

Re: Cook Springs Camp Trail

Post by mfisher on Wed Jun 03, 2015 12:03 pm

Date Hiked: May 25, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I could not ascertain the water availability at Cook Spring. At the Coast Ridge Trail / Cook Spring Trail junction, the Cook Spring 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. I then returned to the Coast Ridge Trail to continue hiking northwest bound.

Re: Cook Springs Camp Trail

Post by Jim Ringland on Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:28 pm

Date Hiked: April 15, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The junction with the Coast Ridge Trail is now marked. Easy and clear down to camp. The use trail has been worked since I was here two years ago and seems to be the more active route down.

Cook Spring is flowing, but all the water is just oozing down the rocks. There’s nothing coming out of the pipe or dripping off the bottom of it. To get water, I had to dip from the little basin below.

The connector to the Carrizo Trail is fine. That little trail wash-out that I noted in 2013 has been worked.

Re: Cook Springs Camp Trail

Post by Rob on Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:24 pm

Date Hiked: January 18, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

A few small trees down, easily stepped over, otherwise clear. Spring had a pretty good trickle after the December storms. Camp seemed to be in good condition.

Re: Cook Springs Camp Trail

Post by Rob on Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:40 pm

Date Hiked: February 17, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Still clear. The spring was dripping even slower than last year. Someone built a new fire ring right in the middle of a nice tent site, WTF ? But a nice place to camp nonetheless.

Re: Cook Springs Camp Trail

Post by Jim Ringland on Sat Apr 20, 2013 4:05 pm

Date Hiked: April 17, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

There is no marker at the junction of the Cook Spring Camp Trail. However, near the junction there are 2 large logs, maybe 40' long and 2' in diameter along the east side of the Coast Ridge Trail. There's a 10' (or so) gap between them. That's the entry to Cook Spring Camp Trail. It's a big, wide, and steep trail descending east. After the initial plunge, the trail eases up a bit, then comes to a junction. Either way works. The route left drops precipitously to the Cook Spring Camp. The route right has steep sections, but more moderate grades too. Both are wide and open. The only obstacles are whatever sugar pine cones have wandered into the tread.

Cook Spring Camp is a lovely big camp under oaks and sugar pines. There is room for a couple of parties to have separate camps. One area has a picnic table. Lots of morning sun. When I was there, acorn woodpeckers were all over the place, more displaying and chasing each other around than pounding on trees. I don't know if the display was for territory or mating or both, but it was quite a show. The spring itself is about 250 feet from camp. It takes a bit under 2 minutes to collect a liter.

There is no forum entry for the Cook-Carrizo Connector, but I'd rate that one as "Clear" too, with a few caveats. As noted in earlier reports, it leaves from the southern-most point on the less steep branch of the Cook Spring Camp Trail. It's not marked but the trail junction is flanked by two little rockpiles/cairns/ducks. Right at the south end -- oops NORTH end (corrected 5/4/13) -- of the connector, the trail has washed out. There's no trouble getting through, but one has to choose four or five foot placements thoughtfully. Beyond that, the trail runs along a hillside. There has been some erosion, giving much of route a little bit of a camber. No vegetative obstacles to speak of. The junction with the Carrizo Trail is marked by a post but no sign (yet).

Re: Cook Springs Camp Trail

Post by Betsy M on Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:51 pm

Date Hiked: February 10, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

A VWA Trail Crew worked on the Cook Springs Camp Trail over two weekends in February, 2013. On the second weekend, most of our work was in the snow, and we enjoyed getting warm around the fire.

We cleared 4 trees that were blocking the trail, and also pushed the fallen pine at the start of the trail slightly to the side.
The Cook Springs Camp Trail leaves the Coast Ridge Trail at the cut section of this tree.
After two switchbacks, the trail splits: the way to the right is less steep, the way to the left is very steep. The connector to the Carrizo Trail leaves the less steep trail at its southernmost end, at a small rock cairn.

Re: Cook Springs Camp Trail

Post by Betsy M on Tue Oct 16, 2012 5:05 pm

See Rob's photo from January 22, 2012, for an excellent photo showing where the Cook Springs Camp Trail leaves the North Coast Ridge Trail. Look for a gap where a small section of tree was sawed out. A 4-foot sugar pine, in the background, lay across the NCRT for many years.

The trail to Cook Springs Camp is clear with the exception of one tan oak at head height across the trail. Thank you VWA Trail Crew for removing fallen trees, many times, over the past several years. As you come down from the North Coast Ridge Trail, you come to an intersection. The way to the left is insanely steep. The way to the right is merely steep. Both are tractor trails, and both go to Cook Springs Camp.

The Cook Carrizo Connector leaves from the way to the right (south), allowing access to the Carrizo Trail.

NOTE: WATER at the springs is greatly diminished. Possibly due to a large tree above the spring that has recently fallen. Be prepared to wait several minutes for your water bottle to fill.