Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Buckeye Trail

Buckeye Trail

Re: Buckeye Trail Passable to Clear

Postby gfelsman on Sat Sep 10, 2011 9:10 pm

Date Hiked: September 10, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

It was a wonderful day in the Silver Peak Wilderness as 18 of us hiked from Hwy 1 up the Cruikshank Trail across the Buckey Trail, then returning on the Soda Springs Trail. Overall I would rate the Buckeye Trail as passable with some Clear Sections.

Trail conditions are as follows:

Cruikshank Trail

Hwy 1 to Buckeye Trail junction same as last report. some brush the first 100 yards, the clear to the top of the switchback, then the next 1/3 mile is brushing, tread has been pushed out over the edge in many spots. Poion oak is minimal though since se cleared a lot of it on this section. After yu reach the first Redwwod Trem the trail is clear to the BUckey Trail Junction.

Buckeye Trail:

The trail starts of clear with encroaching brush as we start up the hill. The tread is easy to follow, but poison oak becomes more prevalent and is un avoidable until you reach the saddle. Heading to Buckeye Camp, the trail is in poor shape many sections of the trail have been pushed down hill becuase of encroaching brush and some poison oak. footing may be a bit sketchy in many areas. Not recommended for inexpreinced hiker.

Buckey Camp itself is in fair shape, both campsites are nice. we ate lunch under the large bay tree. The spring contiunes to run at the camp.

Leaving the camp, the trail is easy to find. The trail is in fair condition with some encroahing brush until you reach the far saddle. heading down to Soda Springs Trail. the trail has many narrow sectons and lots of encroahing brush. footing is difficult in many areas. After traveling down the hill the trails does get better, but still lots of encraoching brush and many sections have narrow tread and are falling away all the way to the Junction

Soda Springs trail is passable, tons of encroaching brush and some head high poison oak. The walk itself is easy as the tread is easy to follow. Only minor sections have narrow trails with half of the trail no below the main tread.

Unless you abosolute don't get poion oak pants are a must at this time.
User avatar
Posts: 189
Joined: Thu Aug 28, 2008 9:33 pm

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby hoosierferg on Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:31 am

Date Hiked: June 12, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I did Salmon Creek-Cruickshank-Buckeye loop hike in about 48 hours over three days (4 p.m.-4 p.m.), two nights, from the Salmon Creek Trailhead. The trail is very nice with good campsites at Spruce Creek and Estrella (recommended, especially if more than 2 or 3 people in group, many large areas). The portion of the trail between Estrella and the Ridge Road is not something I would do again (especially for us taller people, I'm 6-3). If the previous poster really cleared the most difficult points, that's great, namely a spot I had to crawl on all fours to squeeze under an arch about 3 feet over trail formed by a significant limb (3 inch diameter that couldn't be bent) of a small tree/bush. In retrospect, I wish I had dragged my pack. It was nice to have poles for the thin tread and scree/slide areas (some that the forest service told me had been fixed since winter). The upper area, about a mile or two in significant stretches is either choked by oak woodland brush and some pretty extreme poison oak (takes time and work to avoid). The last mile begins a stretch of desert brush about 8 to 10 feet tall in stretches that has overgrown the trail but will bend. You just have to power through long stretches pushing branches from knee to head for 100-foot stretches at a time. Frankly, I wouldn't recommend this stretch to anyone until it is cleared; trails like this are not why I hit the great outdoors (it might be fun if you're getting ready for basic training). If I've logged roughly 1,500 miles of trails in the last 10 years (from ages 40 to 50), this was one of the worst stretches I recall. It's badly in need of a trail crew (enter from the high side on Coast Ridge Road). Although I didn't find any of the trails too pleasant to hike between pretty extreme flies (you might want a head net and rain gear in camp even if weather's not threatening) and the poison oak and the narrow tracks (a pain if you're bigger, recommend poles), there is some beautiful country and all the campsites are nicely set and primitively, but nicely, developed since it's Forest Service and not "leave no trace." The rest of the rail from Ridge Road to Upper Cruickshank and down the Buckeye is not choked like the portion of Salmon Creek, however, like several significant stretches from Estrella to Ridge Road and the stretch from going up the mountain on Buckeye trail from Upper Cruickshank Camp, there is prolific poison oak, and the stretch on Buckeye is difficult to dance around but doable. Kids who don't know it would be hard pressed to avoid it going up that hill, so educate them well and wash up after day of hiking (I still got some, but not bad). There are also a lot of spots on the high part of the Buckeye trail (sometimes crumbly and collapsing in small stretches) where it's hard to avoid the poison oak because its hard to step around it on the narrow trails perched on steep hillsides. Also, last couple hundred yards above the trailhead it's just impossible to avoid poison oak. There were some faint spots along the Buckeye, especially high stretch after the pass coming up from Cruickshank, several divergences but all seem to end up back at the trail (I went high and to the left over rocky outcropping heading south, very steep area). There is a neat trickle of a water fall along a mossy rocky cliff near Soda Springs area (?), but it may be dry later in summer. It's a different kind of hiking than on well-established and better maintained state or national park trails, not as easy. Matter of preference, I guess. I'm a little torn because the first day and evening were nice, bug-free and warm, just perfect camping at Estrella, great experience.

I'd recommend the hike to Estrella as an out and back, and the hike from the Cruickshank trail head as far as Lion Den camp (nicely perched at a high spot with a view, but the variety of flies -- horse, deer, house that could have been temporary -- were brutal midday when I passed through and checked it out). Also recommend out and back, even just an overnight to Upper Cruickshank or Villa, which were also very nice camps. Buckeye Camp has two sites in a high open meadow (probably least appealing of the camps I saw), both under oaks, but the first one heading heading north by the spring is probably in better shape (second is across the meadow after coming out of the forest). Silver, also nothing special, but on a nice bug-free warm evening, any site would be delightful.
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2011 2:29 am

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby frank on Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:35 pm

Date Hiked: July 3, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Over the July 4th weekend, four of us hiked the Salmon Creek -> Cruikshank -> Buckeye Loop from the Salmon Creek Ranger Station in the counter-clockwise direction. Jack Glendenings’s GPS tracks accurately matched with our route.

From the Cruikshank trail we headed South on the Buckeye Trail. The north-facing slope of the hill is thick with knee to waist-high poison oak that is beginning to encroach on the trail. It’s practically impossible to avoid it.

At the top of the climb there is a great view and place to rest in the shade just beyond the small rise at the West side of the saddle.

The descent to Buckeye Camp was easy to follow, but narrow and undercut in several places. In addition, several stretches were encroached by knee-high grasses and brush.

Buckeye Camp had several nice sites and the spring was running. Two of the sites had tables. As a note to hikers traveling North through Buckeye, the trail heads NW toward the lower side of the meadow and exits the meadow through a gap in the fence between two large oaks. Other groups seemed to have a lot of difficulty finding the faint trend through the meadow.

The trail was easy to follow to the Soda Springs junction. Again, it was narrow and undercut in several places with some encroaching knee-high brush. We were pleasantly surprised to find two small waterfalls along this stretch of trail.

From the Soda Springs junction to the Salmon Creek Ranger Station the trail is significantly overgrown in some areas, the worst is the ½ mile above the trailhead. There is lots of knee to chest high poison oak hanging into the trail.
Posts: 3
Joined: Thu Jun 23, 2011 7:22 am

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby juliekath42 on Mon May 09, 2011 2:32 pm

Date Hiked: May 6, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Started from the Soda Springs junction. Trail was very evident however there are parts that are starting to undercut most specifically from Buckeye camp to the ridge before descending down to Villa Creek. Nothing crazy just makes for some sore ankles. Brush starting to encroach slightly in some places throughout the trail. Plenty water availability throughout the trail. Two fully flowing creeks from Soda Creek to Buckeye Camp with a couple tricklers in between. Small flowing creek at Buckeye and another fully flowing one just past the second Buckeye campsite. Nice flow down at Villa creek with another small trickle running through a redwood close to upper Cruikshank campsite. Loved this trail. Amazing views!
Posts: 3
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2011 4:33 pm

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby sambieni on Mon May 02, 2011 9:18 pm

Date Hiked: April 28, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I did a 3 day trip from 4/26 - 4/28 starting at Salmon Falls Trailhead, hiking up Salmon Creek Trail for a night at Lion's Den. Following down down Cruikshank to Buckeye Trail and camped at Buckeye Camp with a quick out the final day.

Weather was glorious all three days.

The first 3 miles to Estrella from the trailhead were fine. What was expected - some narrow bits, but totally passable and good conditions. We did find the lack of clear signage when arriving at a makeshift camp 1 mile in, Spruce Camp, and Estrella Camp a bit frusrating forcing us to wander to figure out how to meet the trail on the other side. It was not a trail condition concern as much as bad sign posting or rather lack thereof.

Above Estrella was a great challenge. There were a few washouts and quite steep bits throughout that gave good pause. There was only one creek with water about 1/2 mile north of th4e campsite. No other water until Lion's Den. So water up at Estrella if you head north as past that is not reliable. The trail overall was VERY overgrown ranging from brush when exposed to LOTS of poison oak all around in the shaded areas. Two areas were so overgrown we had to crawl and drag our packs up behind us. Trail can be passed, but makes for very frustrating hiking.

Ridge road to Lion's den and South to Cruikshank intersection is perfectly clear and easy to follow. Only one really steep stretch just north of Silver camp. Limited poison oak on this stretch even. Buckeye trail from the intersection has some poison oak, but manageable and not terribly overgrown . Relatively avoidable. Trail is good condition.

If you are coming from the North to Buckeye be aware that it is spread over two meadows. This was not clear to us. The first camp site clearing is a suitable site with water, but 5 minutes north is larger clearing with the more clearly labeled Buckeye camp. We did not stay at this one since we found the prior site that worked well and camp with a rickety table and a firepit. But it was certainly not clear if this was the actual Buckeye site or not.

From Buckeye to trailhead was clear and passable the entire way. Some slightly overgrown areas and narrow points, but overall fine. Quite steep at points.
Posts: 7
Joined: Wed Mar 16, 2011 4:53 pm

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Emily on Tue Apr 26, 2011 9:35 pm

Date Hiked: April 23, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The trail is clear--no problems following it whatsoever. There is a lot (and I mean a LOT) of poison oak along and across the trail. There are several sections that are impassable without dragging yourself through PO. Camping areas are also in great shape.

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Nico on Mon Apr 25, 2011 11:00 am

Date Hiked: April 24, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Did a short overnighter from the trailhead at Salmon Creek Station to Villa Creek and back over the weekend (4/23-4/24). Saturday had nice weather and beautiful views over the ocean. Lots of wildflowers in bloom including a few small pockets of lillies on the way to Cruikshank from Buckeye. Saturday night saw a heavy drizzle start around 7:00 p.m. that continued well on into Sunday late morning. Things got pretty soggy overnight with a heavy cloud cover sitting on top of us. Ended up getting soaked from the trailside brush whle walking but managed to stay dry for the night under the tarp despite the big fat drops falling off the overhead trees all night.

Overall, the trails and camps are in good shape. The tread is very evident and well-worn, and there are only a couple of small deadfalls to step over. Sections of the trail are however getting encroached upon with new spring growth along the sides of the trails, complete with everyone's favorite, PO. There are also various spots along the way where the outside edge of the tread is starting to fail and slip. All were easily passable but some require a little care, especially if the ground is wet/muddy. Ticks are abundant, especially through the grasslands.

From the trailhead to the intersection with the Soda Springs Trail:
The brushiest part of the entire walk was found along the lower portion of this stretch just out from the trailhead. The tread is very well worn but the adjacent growth just about completely overhangs the trail. There is quite a bit of PO mixed in here and no way to avoid it. As you get out of the canyon and start through the grasslands on the upper hillsides, the trail is clear and easy to follow. Quite a few ticks to be found along this section, but otherwise, it's quite nice.

From Soda Springs Intersection to Buckeye Camp:
Spring growth is starting to encroach on the trail a little but otherwise it's not bad. There's water in all the creeks but all of the crossings are cake. There's a few spots along here where, like mentioned above, the outside edge of the trail is getting soft and starting to slip. Both creeks at Buckeye have steady water, with the lower creek running much better.

From Buckeye to Cruikshank:
Pretty much the same as the previous section. The poison oak is a little more abundant and encroaching on the trail a bit more; otherwise it's easy walking up and over the saddle separating the two valleys. On the Buckeye side of the saddle, as you're approaching the top, there are few more sections that are a little exposed with failing tread. It's still easily passable, just pay attendtion to your footing.

Cruikshank to Vila Creek Camp:
Totally clear, easy walking. The crossing of Villa Creek is a little tricky but I managed to do it with dry feet on the way in. It ended up raining/drizzling all Saturday night and my feet were wet from just walking the trail on the way out, so I just trumped right through the creeks yesterday. Much easier!


Postby Scooperd on Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:37 pm

Date Hiked: March 27, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Camped Saturday night at Buckeye Camp, and that spot was definitely the highlight. I didn't see the Sun the entire day on Saturday until just after I got to camp, when the sky started to clear and I looked up and saw the entire hillside bathed in a beautiful pinkish-red hue. What a great way to end a very strenuous 9 miles of rough hiking. The night sky was pristine, crisp, clear, and just full of bright stars. And Sunday was a perfect sunny day. Having done the long trek on Saturday, it was nice to have the majority of Sunday to just lay my wet stuff out to dry and sit back and soak up all the natural beauty.
Here is an important part of this message: I FOUND A SET OF CAR KEYS AT THE MAIN BUCKEYE CAMPSITE, NEXT TO THE PICNIC TABLE. LOOKS LIKE THREE DIFFERENT FORD KEYS. I hope that the person who lost them had a spare, or at least lived nearby! Anyway, if you are reading this, and these keys are yours, my email is .
To finish up, Sunday mid-afternoon I began the short downhill hike back to my truck along the Buckeye trail. This trail is in great shape and now I know to start on this side, and just camp in one of the many spots along this trail, rather than hiking the loop. (Maybe a bit later in the Spring, and with a machete, it will be easier). Amazing trip, beautiful landscape, many wildflowers and flowering trees, wildlife, fresh air, GLORIOUS!

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby Farley on Tue Dec 28, 2010 11:54 am

Date Hiked: December 24, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked in from Salmon Creek Guard Station. Trail was clear with some Poison Oak and ceanothus encroachment forcing folks to the outside edge - especially at the first few switchbacks. All in all, trail is clear and wonderful. Singing meadowlarks, honking elephant seals and spouts from 9 at least 9 whales...
User avatar
Posts: 32
Joined: Mon Aug 09, 2010 12:54 pm

Re: Buckeye Trail

Postby bluesago on Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:30 pm

Date Hiked: October 24, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We started at Spruce Camp, passed by Lion's Den for lunch and intended to hike to Salmon Creek Ranger Station via the Buckeye Trail. The trail was extremely overgrown from Estrella to the fire road just before Lion Den, had lots of poison oak everywhere, but was in passable condition with only a couple deadfalls. However, about 1 mile before reaching Buckeye Camp, we found ourselves at a unmarked fork on top of a grassy ridge. The fog was pretty thick that day so we couldn't easily tell which trail went where and both directions looked similarly tread on. Based on the general direction that we wanted to end up at, we chose the right fork (which headed S/SW). WRONG!!!! The right fork quickly turned into a muddy steep slide down the southwest side of the mountain that landed us in a small secluded community that did not like trespassers (the fog kept us from realizing we were headed to a private area until we had already dropped nearly 1000 feet in about a mile). Between the extremely angry resident who screamed our ears off, and the roaming guard dogs, this was pretty intense. The private property was actually just south of the Cruikshank Trail and dumped us about 4 miles north of the Salmon Creek Ranger Station.

So long story short, when you reach the fork on top of the grassland, make sure you take the left fork.


Return to Silver Peak Wilderness Trails

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest