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Round Rock 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.

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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: Round Rock Camp Trail

Re: Round Rock Camp Trail

Post by RSIBryce on Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:32 pm

Date Hiked: August 24, 2017
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Roundrock Camp is one of the more remote feeling camps that I've visited in the Ventana Wilderness. It's in a cul-de-sac of its own and takes a special effort to get to. Continuing our Soberanes Burn Area survey, we found the trail to Round Rock to be a heavy bush-wacking affair, the thick chapparral growth takes some bobbing and weaving to manage, crawling at times is in order. I recall similar conditions in 2013. Poison Oak? Tons. We counted some 7 downed tree events (some of these involve multiple trees) in this short section of trail. One of these, an 18'' madrone, was at a particularly sharp and tricky angle, if anyone ever bothers to drag a saw out that way. (VWA Stewardship Program Manager Trevor Willits has photos and GPS coordinates of all the trees and other hazards of interest that we discovered on our hike). The fire did not burn down in this area.

The camp itself sits upon an alluvial shelf, I'm not sure if this is an actual ecological term or not, but maybe provides the appropriate image. Most camps along the Carmel River- and other drainages for that matter, sit upon these flats in the riparian corridor. A small meadow prevails in a clearing next to the camp, that sits surrounded by Live Oaks. Maybe the oldest and most decrepit table of them all stands proudly at the camp. See this photo of the late great Paul Danielson seated there in 2011: ... gnant_find
If I can ever figure out how to insert images into these forum posts, I will maybe post the photo I took. People have really gotten creative in how to keep this thing going (the table) with ropes and what not. It seems there's a dedicated few who have made special trips to this site over the years. A register remains at camp that did not do too well that last few Winter's. As a previous post mentions, a new log book is needed- if this tradition is to carry on. The bugs were perhaps the worse of anywhere encountered on our entire trip. Rather than brave the trail, we walked the river back to where the trail crosses downstream, which was fun rockhopping. The river, still had a healthy flow, but there were plenty of rocks to hop along to avoid getting wet where the banks disappeared. For those who are unaware, down stream of where the Round Rock Trail crosses the river are some rather amazing slot canyons. They are better accessed from the river walking upstream from Hiding Canyon camp, I recall a large waterfall that would be tough to descend without a rope and the proper skills that accompany its use.

Re: Round Rock Camp Trail

Post by alanh on Thu Jul 07, 2016 5:22 pm

Date Hiked: July 5, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked only the first portion from Carmel River Trail down to the river. Some brush at the top and a little erosion further down, but very passable. I wanted to post a report to note the lack of signage at the trail junction with Carmel River Trail. There is no sign, and in fact some branches have been laid across the Round Rock trail. This is probably to help those wanting to stay on Carmel River Trail not accidentally miss the switchback, but it certainly gives the impression that this direction is not a trail at all. But it is!
Also, a recommendation for anyone heading this way: right after you cross the river, the Round Rock trail goes left. Take a detour and turn right instead; about 100 yards downstream is a nice spot to visit!

Re: Round Rock Camp Trail

Post by christoph28 on Mon Jul 06, 2015 12:32 pm

Date Hiked: July 3, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We day hiked to Round Rock Camp from Hiding Canyon. The section of the trail from the junction with Carmel River Trail down to the river was brushy but very hikeable. There is a makeshift campsite on the opposite side of the river, though no table / fire grate, etc. From there until Round Rock Camp the tread is very faint (in some places completely gone) and serious bushwacking is necessary. The trail crosses the river again just before arriving at the camp site and right after passing a big "round rock" in the river bed. The camp was fine, but hiding canyon seemed like a nicer site. The table is barely intact, and the camp log book is full (time for a new one!).

Re: Round Rock Camp Trail

Post by Daniel S on Mon Apr 13, 2015 4:28 pm

Date Hiked: April 2, 2015
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

(trail clear down to the river, this report is for the section after crossing the river and passing the primitive camp there) Technically not "impassable" due to us making it to camp, but the trail is pretty much gone at this point. Although areas of it remain large sections are a bushwhack with literally no signs a trail was ever there. However on the areas where the trail went along steep hillsides it remains, with many deadfalls across. The flatter areas are completely overgrown. Made it to round rock and read the ledger, someone had been there just in January of this year, but nobody before that until back in 2013. I have a feeling the person in January walked up the river to camp, which is how we returned. The camp itself is beautiful, ledger nailed into a tree, cooking grill over the fire pit, the old bench seems on its last legs but is still standing. I would not recommend trying to take a full backpack up there. Fortunately there is only one major deadfall and the tread remains on the steep hills, so if people wish to rebuild this trail it wouldn't be a huge task.

Re: Round Rock Camp Trail

Post by radioshack73 on Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:20 pm

Date Hiked: March 2, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Backpacked into Round Rock from Los Padres Dam. The Round Rock Trail is overgrown and difficult to follow as the flags that were once marking the trail are now down as part of the dead-fall, however if you look for the old cuts in the brush, one can pick up were the trail is supposed to go. We did locate the proper trail and the Camp at Round Rock is a beautiful one.

Re: Round Rock Camp Trail

Post by RSI SamE on Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:35 pm

Date Hiked: October 1, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Round Rock Trail:
Twixt Carmel River Trail
And Round Rock Camp
• Trail: Difficult
• People: 0
• Signage: No sign for this trail, but register at Round Rock Camp
• Note 1: From Carmel River Trail to a trail camp on the river, the trail is clear, but from then on to Round Rock Camp the trail is overgrown and has lots of poison oak. Pink flagging helps mark the trail.

Re: Round Rock Camp Trail

Post by mikesplain on Fri Oct 05, 2012 10:16 pm

Date Hiked: October 3, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

{Ed. note- moved from Carmel River Trail report by RSIBryce]
The trail down from Hiding canyon switchbacks in front of Ventana Mesa creek directly across the canyon from the trail, to the left is the trail to Round Rock and is flagged with pink. Easy to miss if your just trotting along following the switchbacks be sure to keep your eye out for Ventana Mesa Creek as a marker. Trail is rather brushy but has a good amount of flags you want to keep an eye out for. Lots of poison oak along the last stretch into the beautiful camp. We hiked out along the river/rock hopping till the trail climbs back up, easy this time of year with low flow.

Re: Round Rock Camp Trail

Post by Jim Ringland on Sun May 06, 2012 7:48 pm

Date Hiked: May 2, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From the junction with the Carmel River Trail, the sometimes steep descent to the first crossing of the Carmel River is straightforward. The wade was knee-deep when I was there, although I could have a chosen shallower spot if I had been willing to cross more energetically rushing water. Across the river is a nice makeshift camp, but not an obvious trail. Fortunately, a tape flag pointed the way. The trail from here to the second river crossing is in marginal shape: lots of brush to push aside, including some PO, slumping trail, and places where I had to look twice to find the trail. But taken slowly, it wasn't that hard, and this stretch is not all that long: maybe only 1/4 mile. A few flags helped. The second river crossing was only mid-calf deep.

Round Rock Camp is just past that second crossing. It's a nice camp under trees, next to a open meadow. There's a fire grate and a picnic table. Somebody left a pair of frying pans on the fire grate. When I was there, a lizard decided those pans would be wonderful place to sunbathe, and when he got sufficiently warmed, he happily ducked under the pans.

Re: Round Rock Camp Trail

Post by paul__danielson on Thu Nov 10, 2011 11:29 pm

Date Hiked: October 25, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Bumbaclap and his/her companions are to be commended for the trail-clearing work and camp improvements they did this past June. We only felt the need to add a few pink flags after the first river crossing: where regrowth had occurred and where we felt there were some gaps in the existing orange flagging. The camp itself is unique and special: in its openness and extent, with its bulletin board (very few remain), its historic tabletop graffiti, and its nearby boulders with Native American mortars. Hopefully , more people will take the sidetrek from the main trail to this camp. It is a gem!

Re: Round Rock Camp Trail

Post by Bumbaclap on Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:21 pm

Date Hiked: June 8, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

The trail was completely swallowed by the post fire growth a short distance from the makeshift camp along the river at the beginning of the trail. lots of deadfall we tried to crawl under until we lost the trail. We decided to walk up the river the whole distance to round rock camp. the camp appeared unused for a long time, maybe since the fire! we repaired the old picknic table and camp sign and the fire pit/grill is in good condition. on the second day there we decided to try and backtrack the trail. we cleared and marked the trail with blaze orange trail marker strips at eye level where the trail gets questionable. we had to saw down tons of deadfall and literally bushwhack the overgrown vegetation with sticks :) some of the many river pools look like they were probably twice as deep before the erosion from the fire filled them in, but they still had many good sized fish and were 6-8 ft deep. long pants would be a must because of the poison oak and brush but the trail is clear enough to pass with heavy packs. so far this is my favorite camp due to the seclusion,fishing,swimming and sunshine the open meadow provides. Well worth a few days stay.