Ventana Wilderness Forums • Post a reply

Pine Creek 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.

BBCode is ON
[img] is OFF
[flash] is OFF
[url] is ON
Smilies are OFF
Topic review

Expand view Topic review: Pine Creek Trail

Re: Pine Creek Trail

Post by edormody on Mon Jan 04, 2016 9:49 am

Date Hiked: January 3, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Checked out Pine Creek Camp. Creek is running at the bottom of the switchbacks (1/2 mile) from Big Pines Trail and running well at the camp. Trail is passable to Pine Cree Camp. There’s a big tangle of downed madrones across the trail right before the camp but one can get around them.

Re: Pine Creek Trail

Post by RSIBryce on Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:52 pm

Date Hiked: December 10, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Big Pines trail we headed down this steep section of trail, known on my National Geographic Big Sur/Ventana map as San Clemente trail. A few creek crossings and some dead fall and slippery leaf litter. The sign at the 4 way junction with Comings Camp does not indicate this trail, though its obvious what it is. Lots of dormant poison oak in some sections. A northerly orientated small valley, gets little sunlight and would probably make a cold moist camp in the wintertime. Actually a few camps here other than the official. Plenty of water in the creeks.

Re: Pine Creek Trail

Post by RSI SamE on Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:04 pm

Date Hiked: December 8, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Pine Creek Trail
Twixt Big Pines Trail
And Pine Creek Camp
• Trail: Passable
• People: 0
• Signage: Missing sign for this camp at top of trail and missing camp sign at camp.
• Note 1: At least in fall, leaves turn this trail into a slip-and-slide.
• Note 2: Lots of water, creeks.

Re: Pine Creek Trail

Post by K Vandevere on Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:40 pm

Date Hiked: November 12, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Skinner Ridge Trail to Ponciano Ridge

The previous description is spot on. The trail is faint in places, but always easy to follow. There aren't a lot of pines along pine creek, but there are a few, and some of them are ponderosas of monumental proportions. The fire grate at the camp was crushed, apparently long ago, by a fallen madrone, which also reduced the available space by more than half (though there is still enough space for a small group to comfortably camp). The grate has been replaced by a large fire ring. We found this camp to be exceptionally dark and damp. It is probably a bit more attractive as a campsite in late spring or summer. Beyond the camp, the trail climbs to a gap in Ponciano Ridge. The top of the ridge is heavily wooded and doesn't offer much view.

Re: Pine Creek Trail

Post by Jim Ringland on Tue Mar 06, 2012 2:13 pm

Date Hiked: March 3, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

As a day hike, I followed this trail from the Skinner Ridge Trail to Pine Creek Camp and back. This area didn't burn in the Basin Fire. Trail reports from 2007 and earlier remain representative. The trail is unobstructed and generally easy to follow, if maybe just a bit faint in places. The patch of poison oak right at the top is still there, but somebody has trimmed it away from the trail. The gap isn't all that wide though. It will be back. Below that, the trail follows an obvious hillside cut down to Pine Creek. Parts of this descent have several inches of loose black oak leaves. I had no footing problems and there is no question where the trail goes. Once down, the trail follows the creek, crossing banks frequently. Pine Creek was running gently: all the crossings were simple rock-hops. The route can be a little obscure in spots, but it's easy to get re-oriented and there are some ribbons to help at the crossings. I saw less PO by the creek than the 2006 report suggested I would find. Pine Creek Camp, as marked on Jack Glendening's map, has a fire ring and a little bit of flat space. The canyon is narrow there. On a March morning it felt pretty gloomy and dank. (There's more sun elsewhere.) I continued down the creek to where the USGS topo locates the Pine Creek Camp. The trail has been re-routed so I couldn't get right to the spot without more bushwacking than I cared to take on, but there doesn't seem to be any indication of an active camp in the area.

Trail Conditions History 2002-2007

Post by Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 11:33 am

Date Hiked: February 1, 2007
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Conditions reported by: Carl A. Mounteer
Survey date: 1-FEBRUARY-2007

Section: This report refers only to the first quarter mile of this trail from the "Ventana Cone Trail" or Skinner Ridge Trail.

In the interval I hiked, this trail was heavily obscured by fallen leaves. It is very easy to lose the trail in this part. At one critical point some kind soul marked the trail with pink trail tape. Thank God!!! At one point I lost the trail and was only able to find it with the help of this tape.

This experience is the best argument for the controversial use of trail tape. I have read on the VWA forum of those who turn criticize the use of trail tape as a nuisance. That kind of disdain works fine if you are familiar with a trail. For a person who is hiking the trail for the first time, trail tape marking on an obscure trial is essential to avoiding getting lost.

There were also frequent, mysterious patches of earth, freshly exposed, for about a square foot to a square yard. Two other hikers on the trail speculated these might have been created by wild boars.

I did not reach Pine Creek. I turned back because I was having knee problems, I had never been on this trail, and the obscuration of the trail by leaves spelled trouble for me.

Things may improve in the late spring when these leaves rot into the ground and the trail becomes clearer. In the meantime, I would approach this trail from the Skinner Ridge side with the utmost caution and alertness the the progress of the tread.
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers
Survey date: 20-MAY-2006
General: CLEAR

Accompanied by a resident of White Rock, I hiked the full length of this trail. It has had excellent recent work on the section between Whiterock and Ponciano Ridge. The section down to and along Pine Creek has a heavy load of poison oak, but the footbed is mostly level and the route is carefully flagged. Note that beyond Pine Creek, the trail leaves public land. The large patch of poison oak fifty yards below the junction of the VDC trail noted by the last poster remains.
Conditions reported by: jdoelman
Survey date: 15-MAY-2004

Section: Double Cones Trail jct. to Pine Creek Camp

This trail is in fine shape, with the exception of one patch of poison oak near the beginning of the trail. There is an obvious use path proceeding up Ponciano Ridge, possibly used by hunters? The camp stove has been smashed by a fallen tree at the camp.
Conditions reported by: Jake Goetz
Survey date: 9-OCT-2002
General: CLEAR

The Pine Creek trail was surprisingly clear and well maintained. It must get a lot of use from folks coming up from the White Rock Gun Club. I only traveled down the trail 2 miles (to the intersection of what used to be the San Clemente Trail, now completely gone as far as I could tell). The trail traveled an old road down through open Madrone and Oak forest with several switch backs until it reaches the canyon bottom. It then travels along the creek passing several very nice spots to camp. The creek at this point was dry. The bottom of the canyon is predominately mature Tan Oak forest, relatively open. Pine Creek camp was a pleasant spot if you like canyon bottom campsites, and it did have water. If your seeking a little solitude, this may be the spot. The trail was well maintained, but didn't have the heavy traffic.

Pine Creek Trail

Post by Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 11:31 am

* USFS Trail # 2E01
* Parking: Bottchers gap ($5/day)
* Watershed: Pine Creek
* Junctions: Ventana Double Cone Trail
* Connects: Ventana Double Cone Trail with Pine Creek Camp
* Camps: None