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Bear Basin Connector

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: Bear Basin Connector

Re: Bear Basin Connector

Post by mikesplain on Wed May 15, 2013 3:34 pm

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

Maybe "clear" is generous, but I found this short connector trail to be in better shape than the Pine Ridge Trail above.
Still, it could definitely use bit of tread repair and some more careful brushing- let's call sections merely "passable".
On May 11th, five University students from the UCSC Recreation Department installed a directional sign at the top,
so anyone ascending this connector should have no problem navigating when they reach the PRT.
No one else seen on the trail on this day.

Re: Bear Basin Connector

Post by Jim Ringland on Sun May 06, 2012 7:58 pm

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

As in the previous post, this report is for the 1/2 mile trail between the Bear Basin Trail (from Pine Valley) and the Pine Ridge Trail.

I'm on the edge between calling this Difficult or Passable. Let's call it Passable because, while this trail has problems, it's short and the really bad sections are shorter.

First off, I had some minor trouble finding the trail. Coming up the Bear Basin Trail from Pine Valley, right at the crest of the ridge, I saw is a faint-looking path to the left while the path ahead – aiming down into Bear Basin – looked freshly worked and was marked with orange tape flags. There were no flags on the path to the left. So I followed the Bear Basin Trail ahead, thinking the junction was a little bit farther. Wrong. Not far along, the Bear Basin Trail stumbled over a brushy deadfall then aimed down a steep slope. I retreated after not very much of that and returned to the faint path up top. A few feet on, it opened up into the Bear Basin Connector. None of that was a big deal, but I'll remember that tape flags can mislead as well as lead, and that one should not read too much into the absence of a flag.

From the Bear Basin Trail junction, the Connector is open for a little while, then plunges into some rather difficult brush. The brush looked like it had been trimmed in the not too distant past – that's consistent with previous posts – but was regrowing vigorously. I had a few hundred feet of some fairly serious effort pushing through the shrubs. The situation was not helped by a trail that was just cut through the brush without leveling the trail bed. After this ugly stretch, the trail opened up near the top of a little knoll. From here to the Pine Valley Trail there was a mix of open and brushy sections – some of the latter easy, some not – again with an inclined trail bed in spots. In all that, there are no route-finding problems.

The junction with the Pine Ridge Trail is well marked by orange tape for hikers going northbound to Pine Valley. There's no sign.

Re: Bear Basin Connector

Post by jack_glendening on Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:49 am

Date Hiked: December 21, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report is for the 0.5 mile trail between the Pine Ridge Trail and the Bear Basin Trail leading to Pine Valley.

I found the trail to be easily followed, albeit with some encroaching brush. There is evidence of recent saw marks so someone has been working on the trail (I added a few saw marks of my own). To keep hikers from following the old USFS route, a few branches have been placed across where that old trail departed the current trail (it went around the west side of the knoll instead of the current east-side route).

Re: Bear Basin Connector

Post by Coops on Tue Apr 26, 2011 10:52 am

Date Hiked: April 16, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This is a real lousy section of trail. It is barely distinguishable, and not worth the time. As of 4/16/11 this was very overgrown. The lower section of the Bear Basin Trail is in better shape and is a good climb.

Bear Basin Connector

Post by TRAILS on Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:23 pm

Date Hiked: June 5, 2009
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Reported by Lindsay Jeffers:

Specific = Impassable here refers to large sections where the trail cannot be found or followed, or where tread is non-existent or dangerous. Several Stevenson Wilderness folk did complete the route from Pine Valley to the top of Pine Ridge and were on the old trail more often than off it, but hikers who have not recently taken the trail before the fire should avoid taking it to the ridge top.

From Pine Valley to the junction down to Bear Basin, there are several step-over obstacles and two or three spots where the tread is hard to follow. Near the top, the ceanothus did not burn and brush intrudes on the trail. However, in general, this section can be followed fairly easily. Reports suggest that going further along the Bear Basin Connector to meet the Pine Ridge Trail is fraught with more difficult brush and partially burned ceanothus.

From the junction down to the turnaround on the first ridge, the tread is often brushy and soft, but there are fewer obstacles than before the fire. After the turnaround, the going is easy to the drop into the first valley, but the tread disappears; however, the brush is burnt enough to make it easy to proceed using a sense of where the trail descends at the north-east of the swale. Once started down into the first valley the going is open because virtually all the madrone and pine trees burned. Rock cairns remain to direct the hiker to the series of zigs and drops into Bear Basin; the tread here is often soft or even sliding.
Water in Bear Basin was plentiful. The campsite is overgrown with grass and ferns but still pleasant. The large tree with the dangerously cracking branch has fallen.

Beyond the camp, we started up the hill intending to go completely cross country; in fact, we ended up encountering bits of the trail quite frequently but always unexpectedly. The fires cleared out the hillsides and opened the way to scrambling, but the old tread, where we found it, was often a useful guide. We tried to avoid the unprotected traversal near the top of the ridge: the soil is soft and slides easily. However, we found it was a little easier to take our chances on the remnants of tread than to pull directly up the face of the hill. We were off the trail from the top of that traversal for about a hundred yards of cross-slope scrambling but then regained the trail near the red rocks below the final climb. Once at the top of the last ridge, we dropped onto the fern-covered top of Pine Ridge and picked a compass point to follow to the junction with the Black Cone Trail. Because almost all the pines are now blackened stumps, it wasn't possible to aim for the one with t he BCT marker, but I am happy to have missed it by only a few feet.

In general, until the trail is re-worked, re-flagged, or abandoned, I would recommend avoiding it unless you have all day, lots of water, and a good sense of the original trail's route. It took three of us with light packs an hour longer to hike from Pine Valley through Bear Basin to Pine Ridge Camp than it did to hike from Pine Ridge Camp to China Camp the following day.

Bear Basin Connector

Post by mikesplain on Wed May 27, 2009 6:37 pm

Date Hiked: May 9, 2009
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Reported by Jerry Lee:

I took this trail from Pine Ridge Trail down into Pine Valley. The entire spur this trail follows burned, but very little of it actually burned clear, so there is a lot of dead upright vegetation. It looks deceptively clear at the beginning, but a few hundred yards in the dead, fire-hardened ceanothus begins to curl together over the trail forming an interlocking barrier with fire-hardened thorns where the small branches were. I was forced off the trail numerous times, and only was able to follow the trail because I know it well. Even so, I completely lost the trail about 200 yards from the end and had to bushwhack down to the campground, still bleeding from at least six minor scratches. Where the junction with Bear Basin Trail should have been there was no sign at all of that trail. This trail is not difficult to clear with proper tools and manpower, but until that happens I highly recommend avoiding this trail. Use the Carmel River Trail only to get to Pin e Valley, and forget about Bear Basin completely.

On the plus side, all the poison oak burned in the fire, and very little has come back so far. This will make things much easier for a trail crew.

Bear Basin Connector

Post by mikesplain on Wed May 27, 2009 6:37 pm

* USFS trail #3E16
* Parking: China Camp
* Watersheds: Carmel River
* Junctions: Bear Basin Trail, Pine Ridge Trail
* Connects: Bear Basin Trail with Pine Ridge Trail
* Camps: None