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Cruikshank Trail

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby RSIBryce on Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:36 am

Date Hiked: October 29, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section: Buckeye/CruickShank junction to Lion Den Camp and South Coast Ridge Road

The signs at the Junction are well marked, from the meadow one can travel down to Upper Cruickshank near where you'll find a spring crossing the trail before you drop down to Villa Creek. Beautiful down at the Creek, we saw clusters of Lady Bugs all over where the trail crosses over to Villa Camp, lots of big redwoods. A few nice dip spots to get wet down there also, creek is flowing. Once back up to the trail we traveled up to Lion Den, the trail up gets steep and narrow, and a bit brushy at some points and a few deadfalls to navigate, but nothing too difficult. A beautiful stand of Sargent Cypresses greets you towards the top of the ridge in a strange serpentine soil, a unique landscape. Lion Den has a great spring to get water from and the camp is beautiful with views of the ocean and Silver Peak. We camped there and greeted two other campers that came in after us. They reported getting lost trying to find the Cruickshank Trail from Lion Den, amidst the rocky landscape. I was a bit surprised as the trail down to Lion Den once you reach ridge seems to be an old road. Once leaving Lion Den we made our way to South Coast Ridge Road. The trail in from the road is marked only with a skinny Forest Service sign, no mention of Lion Den or Cruickshank.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby mikesplain on Wed Oct 17, 2012 10:55 am

Date Hiked: September 29, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

[Ed. note- moved from Buckeye trail, posted by Jeff on 17-Oct-2012]

Back on the Cruikshank trail, we began our climb to the Lion Den campsite. It was a fairly steep climb and was made worse by the temps in the high 80s and having to wear long sleeves/gloves to avoid the PO. Once we reached the top, the terrain changed to rocky and arid but was very interesting. At the Lion Den campsite, the small creek was flowing enough to get all the water we needed. We camped on the upper campsite because it has a great view of the ocean (or fog in our case), but the ground is much harder than the leaf covered lower campsite.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/87549442@N06/8096112988/
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby gfelsman on Sat Jul 28, 2012 7:17 pm

Date Hiked: July 28, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

20 people hiked the trail today. The trail is considered passable and no longer clear from Highway to Upper Cruikchank Camp.

Brushiest areas are. Hwy 1 for the first 0.1 miles prior to switchbacks. Brush is encroaching heavily with lots of PO.

Once at the top of the switchbacks the section that was cleared in October 2011 is now grown over agains.

People are once again stepping off the main tread to get by.

Once you reach the redwoods the trail opens up again all the way to Upper Crruikshank Camp.

Not many bugs on this day.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby mikesplain on Tue Jul 10, 2012 9:28 am

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

(Ed. note- this was originally posted by heisenberg as part of a Buckeye trail report & the "passable" rating was inferred from the rest of that report)

Cruickshank Trail (east from Upper Cruickshank Camp to Lion Den Camp): Silver Camp (skipped) was nothing notable, but with a moderate spring. Between Silver Camp and Lion Den Camp there were several areas of deadfall and spots where landslides had washed out the trail -- potentially dangerous, but managed to cross very carefully. Never saw a junction for the Silver Peak use trail. At one point was worried that I had accidentally turned off onto the use trail, because I seemed to be summiting a peak with an interesting-shaped silver granite rock (Ed. note- serpentine), but my compass reassured me I was still heading east. Lion Den Camp was nice and large with a open westward view to watch the sunset, but no water source anywhere nearby so skipped and continued on to Estrella Camp.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby Jeff Wheelwright on Wed Apr 18, 2012 8:34 pm

Date Hiked: April 15, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Mike and I, starting at about 9:45, hiked up and connected with Buckeye and continued on up to the saddle above Villa Creek, where we had lunch. Beautiful day, fog making feints, but never getting into the canyons. Full-on blooms of ceanothus, indian paintbrush and wild iris. Poison oak needs whacking on many portions but also easily avoided for now. Four or five spots where uphill vegetation has caused people to veer and break the tread on the low side. Again, can be repaired easily. I ought to volunteer to do this work myself. Thanks to those who do.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby C M Heard on Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:21 am

Date Hiked: December 16, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hiked from Hwy 1 to Outer Cruikshank Camp and found the trail to be in generally better condition than it was when I hiked it on Labor Day — it was unaffected by the recent wind event. There is one oak tree down across the trail a short distance before Lower Cruikshank Camp, but it has been down for a long time, and there is an easy way to detour around it.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail Clear to Passable Getting Better

Postby gfelsman on Sat Sep 17, 2011 5:20 pm

Date Hiked: September 17, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

While others may of been doing beach cleanup or creek cleaning, Darlene and I headed up the Cruikshank Trail.

We did not go far as we spent several hours brushing the worst section of trail. We did alot but it still needs more work as anyone can guess.

We restored several hundred feet after you turn into the canyon. The weather was perfect and we worked in the shade most the morning. We saw four different groups using the trail today. The usage has definitely gone up in past years due to better trail conditions and the ability to reach Lion Den Camp and Coast Ridge Road.
Cruikshantrail Work.jpg
Some of our finished product
Attachments
Cruikshank View 2 from our working spot.jpg
Looking toward the Alder Creek Saddle
Cruikshank View from our working spot.jpg
Our wonderful view while working
Cruikshank Trail Work 2.jpg
More finished trailwork
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Re: Cruikshank Trail Passable to Clear

Postby gfelsman on Sun Sep 04, 2011 4:39 pm

Date Hiked: September 4, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

My wife and I had a chance to hike the Cruikshank Trail today from Hwy. 1 to Villa Creek Camp. The weather was perfect still a few flowers out and all the creeks are running well. We had no flies or ticks and great views.

The trail conditions are as follows:

As one leaves Hwy 1, the trail is a bit over grown for the first 100 yards, then opens up to clear conditons to the top of the switchbacks. Once at the Wilderness Boundary Sign, the trail turns into the canyon. The trail for the next 1/4 mile would be considered passable with lots of encroaching brush. Though the trail is brushed from overhanging trees and bushes side growth has pushed good portions of the trail off the original tread. Darlene and I fixed a few places where the trail was pushed entirely over the edge. We also cut back a good portion of the posion oak that was hanging across the trail. The 14 mile section of trail is still overgrown and definitely could use some work.

Once you reach the first redwood tree, the tread and trail open up to clear condtions all the way to upper Cruikshank Camp. There is one downed tree from a couple of years ago just before Lower Cruikshank Camp, which has been circumvented easily.

We then headed down to Villa Creek Camp along the Buckeye Trail. The trail is clear all the way to the Camp.

All the camps were clean and well maintained at this time.

Lastly, we ran into two groups of backpackers and a couple of hiking groups of 2-3 people each

Happy Hiking, Gary and Darlene :)
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby hoosierferg on Sun Jul 10, 2011 3:35 am

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

Preface: Stretch of Cruickshank I did from Coast Ridge Road to Upper Cruickshank camp (did not do Hwy 1 to Upper Cruickshank camp) was fairly good aside from some poison oak and a few crumbly stretches of narrow trail on steep hillsides.

Larger post for loop hike: 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 Salmon Creek 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.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby frank on Sat Jul 09, 2011 3:30 pm

Date Hiked: July 2, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

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 ridge road down to Lion’s Den Camp was wide and clear. The camp was in good shape and had a small flow of water. The view was fantastic!

From Lion’s Den to Silver Camp the trail was easy to follow even as it plunged through section of overhead brush. The trail has been well cut through the brush making it very passable. The approach to Silver Camp is very narrow across a steep slide with lots of loose gravel. The camp appeared to be in good condition.

From Silver Camp to the Buckeye junction the trail was clear and easy to follow.
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