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Lost Valley Connector 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: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Post by lancew04 on Thu Jun 22, 2017 11:25 am

Date Hiked: June 17, 2017
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)


Two day hike. Hiked from Escondido campground to Fish in 5 hours. It was over 100 degrees this weekend so we needed to be off the trail by 1ish made it by 1:30. The trail is over grown in a lot of places. Lots of bush whacking, rattlesnakes were resting on the trail under the overhanging brush. It seemed like an easy hike but the elevation goes up and down. Very exhausting. Fish camp is beautiful, has much needed water and plenty of shade. Caught some brook trout too!

Next day fish camp to Santa Lucia Memorial Campground 10 miles using the connector. This is an long hike and uphill 2/3 of the time. Leaving at 6:30am we made it to the end at 1:30. We took only short breaks for a few minutes, needed to get off the trail before the afternoon heat. The connector has many trails segments that are completely collapsed, loose gravel covering the once trail. One slip and it is a long way down. Additionally the trail is non existent in many areas. The only way we knew to go forward is to look for the soil that is more compact and look at our gps. Without the gps we might have had to turn back or worse.

This coordinate is essential to follow the trail. 36° 7'49.35"N 121°33'21.45"W [36.13037,-121.55596]

It looks like the trail follows the ridge line up, but it does not!

There is a trail that goes right at the coordinate above. Follow this. Kind of not intuitive because it goes down and around the right side of the ridge. At this point you are on your way but the trail will completely disappear before long. Check your gps and make sure your on the trail and push through the bushes and trees and down trees. Eventually it will open up to North Coast Ridge Trail. We ran out of water on the way down but the Forks usecamp had a river flowing and got some much needed water and jumped in to cool our core down.

My brother and I are in good physical shape but this is an exhausting hike. If the weather is too hot would not recommend taking this trail. Cheers and happy trails! God Bless.

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Post by jjjjeremy on Tue May 30, 2017 9:21 am

Date Hiked: May 28, 2017
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We only made it .3 miles coming SW from Lost Valley Trail. Even with a GPS the trail wasn't easy to find. There are plenty of markers, but they lead to nowhere. Following markers going SW we found ourselves around 150' off the GPS trail. Having never done this trail before, and without someone else who had, we headed back to Fish Camp.

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Post by Jim Ringland on Sun May 15, 2016 7:08 pm

Date Hiked: May 13, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked from the Coast Ridge Trail down to the junction with the Lost Valley Trail. The old sign up top, the one that was laying in the grass last time I was here, is now mounted on a metal stake. It is clearly visible from a distance. No more hunting around for the trail. Behind it, the obvious trail drops off the ridge and onto a cut on a fairly steep hillside. Almost immediately, it becomes very, very brushy. Over head-high shrubbery has grown across the trail. A few deadfalls and some poison oak add the complexity. That really nasty stretch was short. My GPS log –- I set a waypoint when I emerged -- says the bad section was less than 200 feet long and took only 5 or 6 minutes. It was a very long 5 minutes. After that awful section, though, I saw no more than a few modestly brushy spots. The route is recently flagged and, for the most part, pretty obvious. The only potential issue, I think, would be at about 3000’ where, after going down (more or less north) one ridge, the trail turns east (for me, right), drops through a saddle to another ridge, and then follows that ridge north and down. If it’s not clear where to go at that saddle –- there’s downed wood, scattered low shrubby growth, and fewer flags than one might like -- just aim up to the high point on the second ridge. The flags and trail tread will appear.

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Post by Hillary on Thu Apr 21, 2016 6:30 am

Date Hiked: April 18, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Dropped our packs at the sign that points down to Lost Valley and did an out and back on the Lost Valley Connector Trail. The trail was very well flagged, which was nice because it would have been harder to follow. The terrain is a lot of bare earth so sometimes it is hard to see what route to take, but there was enough tread to figure it out - I never felt like I lost the trail. Lots of fallen limbs and small brush to step over. Overall, I thought it was a great little trek but I was glad I didn't have my pack on because it is pretty steep and coming back down with my pack would have been harder. Beautiful views at all moments along this trail. Flies were starting to be a problem - it was 80 degrees but there was a nice breeze that kept them away. I never busted out my headnet so that says a lot. If you are ever doing the Lost Valley trail and want a bigger view, this is a great little excursion. I would avoid this trek between May - September... too hot, too exposed, and too many face and biting flies. Spring is best for this one.

Looking North East

Looking South East toward Escondito Camp

Looking North into Lost Valley

Day 3 GPS.png

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

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

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

Did this from top to bottom. some PO and brush at beginning. some steep sections. faint tread and easy to lose at times. a short section of downed pines slowed you up for a bit. one of our party got off trail about 2/3 of the way down and ended up bushwhacking to lost valley.

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Post by Jim Ringland on Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:21 pm

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

I did this bottom to top.

From the junction with the Lost Valley trail at about 2300’, the connector more-or-less follows a ridge up to about 3000’. While steep, this was pretty straightforward. Up at 3000’ or so the trail make a right turn, drops about 40’ to a saddle, and then climbs to and along the next ridge west. While I found no problems getting through, the trail is a bit faint through that saddle. There are several not-too-hard-to-manage deadfalls on that next ridge, most at a place where the routing is just a bit east of the ridge crest. That second ridge reaches a low crest at about 3200', at which point the trail makes another vague right turn, goes down just a little, and then heads up to yet a third ridge. There are a few more trees and larger shrubs here -- nice -- but that richer growth meant about 300’ vertical feet of climbing (topping out at about 3530’) was a bit brushy. No route finding issues here though.

Once back in the open, I was more than delighted to be buzzed (within about 50') by two condors!!!

After running along this third ridge for a while, the trail makes one more right turn, drops a bit, contours along a sometimes steep slope, and then pops up to the Coast Ridge Trail. I almost missed that right turn: it looks like the trail should just keep going up the ridge. Then I saw a pink ribbon and the absolutely obvious opening where the trail goes. The footing on the contoured section is sometimes a bit loose. No real problems, but awareness is in order. The very last, short pitch -– only 10 or 15 vertical feet -– is very steep. It looks like the trail once went elsewhere and this is a make-shift.

Once up top, take a look west and little down towards Lost Valley. There is a lone large live Santa Lucia Fir in what was once a grove of them.

(Note: edited after posting to correct some of the elevation details after reviewing my GPS track.)

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Post by bobbomcc on Fri Mar 27, 2015 12:43 pm

Date Hiked: February 25, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Our Stevenson crew hiked north, down off the North Coast Ridge trail to Lost Valley camp. The Lost Valley Connector trail junction was easy to find (it was flagged and signed) and the beginning part of the LVC trail down was easy to follow and passable despite some downed trees and encroaching shrubs (which we cleared) for the first 1.0 mile of the descent. Once on the firebreak, the trail slips off to the west. It is easy to miss, but some flagging was evident, and we added some more. The lower part of the descent is steep, slippery and heavily eroded, but easily passable to the valley floor.
Lost Valley Connector 2.JPG
Lost Valley Connector.JPG

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Post by Tony R on Mon Feb 23, 2015 6:23 pm

Date Hiked: February 20, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Note that I never hiked the ridge trail or the Lost Valley connector. I hike from Madrone camp with the intension of revisiting the lost valley. I am reasonably certain I was at the top of the connector with great views of Cone peak, double cone and Mount juniper Serra all at once. I saw foot prints. I bush wacked some wondered around for maybe an hour but just was not sure enough that I wanted to solo scramble over a small ridge to see if I could make out the trail. It was getting late also and I was tired so I found upper bee camp with water and was happy I wouldn't be hiking back down 1800 feet to madrone camp. After day hiking north on the coast ridge trail the next day I believe I saw the only plausible rout which probably went down a rocky ridge. Next time I will start earlier in the day so I have time to find the trail.

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Post by greg meyer on Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:34 am

Date Hiked: March 8, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We hiked up the LVC from Fish Camp and found it generally easy to follow. There are some cairns, some flagging and a few places where you just have to stop and look around. As stated in previous reports, knob cone pines have created cluttered deadfalls along the way but they can be stepped over and negotiated. About 1 long mile up, the trail turns to the west in an open area on the ridge and it would be easy to miss this and wander around. From there the trail to the Coast Ridge is brushy but easy to follow. This is a classic Ventana trail - steep and brushy with downed trees, abandoned tread and no signage.

At the top, if you are hiking south along the Coast Ridge be aware that the trail does not go up the steep firebreak but the Coast Ridge hooks out to the southwest at a much more moderate accent.

Re: Lost Valley Connector Trail

Post by Rob on Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:51 pm

Date Hiked: November 4, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I started at the bottom and for most of the way it wasn't bad -- the old sign was still there, and the tread was impossible to lose for most of the way. But near the top the brush closed in -- this part seemed to have burned in the last fire and brush filled it in. Nasty.

Mostly it was in decent shape except for the top part. Great views.