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Cruikshank Trail

Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby davetm on Sun Jun 19, 2011 11:35 am

Date Hiked: June 18, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Trail is full of wildflowers in bloom.
The first ¼ mile does have thistle, not a lot, but annoying if not pushed out of the way. The middle of the switchbacks has a troublesome erosion rut running right down the middle, for a hundred yards on and off. There is other erosion damage evident on the mountain side of the tread as well.
About 100 yrds after the crest of the climb up from the road, as one proceeds on the south side of the Villa creek drainage, there are many sections of the tread that are so overgrown that it forces walkers off the path. This makes for slow and cautious walking. This next ¾ mile section, until the rusty stream, is in need of serious repair to clear the brush and restore the tread. It will only worsen until the tread gets restored.
There is plenty of poison oak along the way, mostly around calf / ankle level. But there is some growing through the brush and deadfall at one’s face and chest level.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby JasonG on Sat Jun 11, 2011 6:25 pm

Date Hiked: June 7, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The first half mile or so from Hwy 1 is quite overgrown with encroaching brush and some kind of prickly plant, perhaps thistle. Long pants and long sleeves are a must. Clears out after a while and is clear to passable for a while with nothing too bad.

Then after Silver Camp, it gets worse with a lot of poison oak. It isn't the impenetrable face-smearing nightmare I was expecting from Charlie William's description (upper Salmon Creek trail has that honor, horrible shape), but there was quite a lot of it, not entirely avoidable, and had to duck and push through some encroaching brush.

Tread was evident throughout, though there are a few false trails. Thanks to whoever put the stump across the false trail near the top of the first upward climb, I almost went that way but the stump made me pause and turn around to notice the sharp hairpin I had missed. Also, when crossing the meadow at about 2.5 miles, take the left fork straight across the meadow, not the one that turns right. They looked exactly as worn so it wasn't obvious which was the trail.

The trail was challenging for me physically (middle aged, not great shape) but doable without misery, just had to take a lot of short breaks on the climbs.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby sambieni on Mon May 02, 2011 9:16 pm

Date Hiked: April 27, 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.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby mikesplain on Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:02 am

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

posted by Scooperd on 29-Mar-2011
(ed. separated report into respective trails)

Upper Cruickshank trail was also very overgrown between Lion's Den and Silver, and much of that was poison oak. Still, a little perseverance and it there were some very excellent portions of that trail.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby gfelsman on Sun Jan 30, 2011 10:21 pm

Date Hiked: January 29, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I had the opportunity to hike the Cruikshank Trail today from Highway 1 to Lion Den with a group of intrepid Sierra Club Hikers. 20 of us made it to Lion Den and back. The weather was cool but the scenery was beautiful. The fog rolled in on the way back with a few sprinkles.

Trail Conditions are as follows.

Highway 1 to the top of switchbacks, Clear. The tread is stable and very little encroaching brush.

Once I turned into the canyon, ther trail is still clear but has lots of encroaching brush the next half mile until you start into the redwood trees. The inside brush has forced people to the outside edge in many places causing the tread to break down. After the redwoods the trail is again clear all the way to lower and upper Cruikshank Camps, both of these camps are clean. There is one large oak across the trail a short distance before Lower Cruikshank Camp. It is easy to get around.

I then headed to Silver Camp. Much to my suprise I would call this section clear as well. It has has a lot of work done making it a pleasant walk.

Silver Camp was clean, there was a bit of running water there.

It was on to the rocky outcropping the tread here was easy to follow and was in reasonable shape to Silver Creek. After Silver Creek, the tread is a bit softer as this area is prone to slides. Most of the tread was in fair shape making going in and out of the canyon to the Rocky Outcropping fairly easy. One tree down just past Silver Camp.

From the rocky outcropping the tread is easy to follow, but does have encroaching brush with many sections poison oak. Lots of ducking and weaving. especially for us taller guys like me. There are no major trees to navigate all the way to Silver Peak Road. Once on the road the trail is clear except for a few brushy areas near stream crossing.

All in all it was a nice yet cool day to be in the Silver Peak Wilderness.
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Salmon Creek Drainage on the way to Lion Den_1280.jpg
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby gfelsman on Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:59 pm

Date Hiked: November 22, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I had the opportunity to hike th Cruikshank Trail today from Highway 1 to the Rocky Outcropping. The weather was cool but the scenery was beautiful after a fall rain.

Trail Conditions are as follows.

Highway 1 to the top of switchbacks, Clear. The tread is stable and very little encroaching brush.

Once I turned into the canyon, ther trail is still clear but has lots of encroaching brush the next half mile until you start into the redwood trees. The inside brush has forced people to the outside edge in many places causing the tread to break down. After the redwoods the trail is again clear all the way to lower and upper Cruikshank Camps, both of these camps are clean. There is one large oak across the trail a short distance before Lower Cruikshank Camp. easy to get around.

I then headed to Silver Camp. Much to my suprise Iwould call this section clear as well. It has has a lot of work done since my last visit making it a pleasant walk.

Silver Camp was clean, there was a bit of running water there.

It was on to the rocky outcropping the tread here was easy to follow and was in reasonable shape to Silver Creek. After Silver Creek, the tread is a bit softer as this area is prone to slides. Most of the tread was in fair shape making going in and out of the canyon to the Rocky Outcropping fairly easy.

All in all it was a nice yet cool day to be in the Silver Peak Wilderness.
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Villa Creek Canyon_1280.jpg
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby whispersiren on Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:40 pm

Date Hiked: May 30, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We backpacked the Buckeye Trail as part of a loop around Silver Peak Wilderness. We started at Alder Creek Camp taking the Buckeye to Cruikshank, then up Cruikshank to Salmon, down Salmon to the highway, then recapturing the Buckeye taking it back to Alder Camp. Making it about a 22 mile backpacking loop. We chose to camp at Spruce Creek Camp.

The section of Buckeye from Alder Creek to Villa Camp/Cruikshank is definitely in need of maintenance, though is passable. As the trail descends below Alder Creek, through the forest paralelling the creek, there is much poison oak that is difficult to avoid. Once the trail crosses Alder Creek and begins making a climbing traverse up beautiful grass and floral slopes, the trail is invisible in some places. Worse as it drops down to meet the Cruikshank Trail/Villa Creek, it is often overgrown with shin-high flowering bushes, making the trail thin and precarious and it was easy to slip off the trail on the down slope.

The Buckeye merges with the Cruikshank for a bit at Alder Creek, crosses it and then splits off near Upper Cruikchank camp. We headed up the Cruikshank which is obviously more used and wasn't as bad at least up to Silver Camp, beyond it is overgrown with poison oak and brush in some places, with a few low branches to duck under but isn't too bad. Beyond Lion's Den the trail gets far more brushy with thick chaparral to weave through, particularly near The Coast Ridge Road. Easier for a day hiker than someone carrying a larger backpack.

From the Coast Road down Salmon Creek to about 2100 ft or about where the chaparral zone is replaced with oaks we were hiking through very dense brush, well above our heads and required keeping the arms tucked in. A group coming the other direction suggested wearing long sleeves for this part, which was a good idea (though it was too hot the day we hiked it to do this). The poison oak was also bad in some places. The trail narrows very thinly in some places, particularly over what looked like an old mud slide. Fortunately, enough hikers have gone across the slope that a use trail has formed. Beyond Estrella camp the trail is wide and well used. There was one tree to climb over at the Spruce Creek Trail junction, but the trail was otherwise is excellent condition.

From Old Salmon Station at Hwy 1, the Buckeye trail is passable with occasional sections, like the the Alder Creek portion, where the trail, particularly when traversing in the sun, is overgrown with shin-high flowering bushes and is eroding on the down slope. Watch out for poison oak in the shadier parts. Overall its in far better condition than the Alder creek part . The views are striking, as far as the Channel Islands on a clear day and Buckeye Camp has a nice spring.

The junction where Buckeye breaks away from the Cruikshank and heads back up to Alder really needs a trail sign. It is very faint and can easily be missed. We only knew it was there because we had come the other direction and recognized it.

Overall we really enjoyed all three trails, despite the overgrown and obvious neglect. It was far slower and much harder going than if the trail was in better condition. So keep that in mind when deciding your itinerary. We also saw two baby rattle snakes and heard one.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby Guest on Wed Jun 02, 2010 11:37 pm

Date Hiked: May 30, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We backpacked the Buckeye Trail as part of a loop around Silver Peak Wilderness. We started at Alder Creek Camp taking the Buckeye to Cruikshank, then up Cruikshank to Salmon, down Salmon to the highway, then recapturing the Buckeye taking it back to Alder Camp. Making it about a 22 mile backpacking loop. We chose to camp at Spruce Creek Camp.

The section of Buckeye from Alder Creek to Villa Camp/Cruikshank is definitely in need of maintenance, though is passable. As the trail descends below Alder Creek, through the forest paralelling the creek, there is much poison oak that is difficult to avoid. Once the trail crosses Alder Creek and begins making a climbing traverse up beautiful grass and floral slopes, the trail is invisible in some places. Worse as it drops down to meet the Cruikshank Trail/Villa Creek, it is often overgrown with shin-high flowering bushes, making the trail thin and precarious and it was easy to slip off the trail on the down slope.

The Buckeye merges with the Cruikshank for a bit at Alder Creek, crosses it and then splits off near Upper Cruikchank camp. We headed up the Cruikshank which is obviously more used and wasn't as bad at least up to Silver Camp, beyond it is overgrown with poison oak and brush in some places, with a few low branches to duck under but isn't too bad. The trail is also razor thin in some places. Beyond Lion's Den the trail gets far more brushy with thick chaparral to weave through, particularly near The Coast Ridge Road. Easier for a day hiker than someone carrying a larger backpack.

From the Coast Road down Salmon Creek to about 2100 ft or about where the chaparral zone is replaced with oaks we were hiking through very dense brush, well above our heads and required keeping the arms tucked in. A group coming the other direction suggested wearing long sleeves for this part, which was a good idea (though it was too hot the day we hiked it to do this). The poison oak was also bad in some places. The trail narrows very thinly in some places, particularly over what looked like an old mud slide. Fortunately, enough hikers have gone across the slope that a use trail has formed. Beyond Estrella camp the trail is wide and well used. There was one tree to climb over at the Spruce Creek Trail junction, but the trail was otherwise is excellent condition.

From Old Salmon Station at Hwy 1, the Buckeye trail is passable with occasional sections, like the the Alder Creek portion, where the trail, particularly when traversing in the sun, is overgrown with shin-high flowering bushes and is eroding on the down slope. Watch out for poison oak in the shadier parts. Overall its in far better condition than the Alder creek part . The views are striking, as far as the Channel Islands on a clear day and Buckeye Camp has a nice spring.

The junction where Buckeye breaks away from the Cruikshank and heads back up to Alder really needs a trail sign. It is very faint and can easily be missed. We only knew it was there because we had come the other direction and recognized it.

Overall we really enjoyed all three trails, despite the overgrown and obvious neglect. It was far slower and much harder going than if the trail was in better condition. So keep that in mind when deciding your itinerary. We also saw two baby rattle snakes and heard one.
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Cruikshank Trail

Postby ChasWill51 on Wed Jun 02, 2010 6:28 am

Date Hiked: May 28, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Cruickshank Trail, May 28, 2010, from Hwy 1 TH to Ridge Rd. The from Hwy 1 to Cruikshank Camp is a freeway with good tread, and open of vegetation. PO is rare but present, generally below knee height and very avoidable. There are some soft sections of trail in the grassy area at the top of the first mile or so just before you enter the "permanent" tree cover. Here, the trail is slumping on the steep slope. Looks like it will need some shovel work soon.

Between Cruickshank and Silver, it is a cross between wilderness highway and clear.

After Silver the trail is passable as the tread remains evident all the way to the ridge road. However, just past Silver, the trail narrows as it contours around a steep ravine. There is a section where the trail is beginning to slump. Fine to pass now but with the near vertical slope, the repair will take a little engineering.

Beginning about a half mile past Silver and ending about half a mile or so before Lion Den, the vegetation is closing in at many places requiring stooping and use of hands to push the bushes out of the way. Difficulty of travel is compounded by PO. It is knee high, waist high, chest high, over your head, crossing over the trail and interlaced in seemingly innocuous plants. Once you hit the chaparral and reach the top of the ridge that leads to Lion Den, the brush pulls back and most of the PO disappears (though there is a bit on the trail near Lion Den). The brush between Lion Den and the Ridge Rd is thick, over head high and takes some arm work to penetrate.
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Re: Cruikshank Trail

Postby gfelsman on Thu Apr 01, 2010 7:06 pm

Date Hiked: March 27, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

12 of hiked the Cruikshank Trail from HWY 1 to Lion Den and back. It was a beautiful day with great view, plenty of water and some wildflowers. On this day there were no flies and very few ticks on our 12 mile 3000 foot trek up and back.

Trail conditions are as follows;

HWY 1 to Upper Cruikshank Camp, Clear, some encroching brush and poison oak along the trail

Upper Cruikshank to Buckeye Junction, Clear, meadow is filling in with scrub oaks.

Buckeye Junction to Silver Camp Clear. Poison oak is present and some encraoching brush. However, it is much better than in past years. Lots of trimming has been done along this section of trail

Silver Camp to Rocky Outcropping. Clear, One tree down just past Silver Camp, easily stepped over. After you cross what I call Silver Creek. The tread is in poor shape for several hundred yards. as you emerge onto the grass slopes the tread improves with encroaching brush to the rocky outcropping.

Rocky outcropping to Silver Peak Road, then on to Lion Den, passable to clear would be the best description. A lot of brush has been removed to minimize the ducking and weaving. Being over 6 feet I had to duck more than others. There is plenty of poison oak ready to sprout and cross the trail. There are only two or three trees down along the trail. All are easily stepped over. The tread is in fair conditon lots of off camber tread and a few slip outs. All the small tributaries are running at this time. Once you hit the road it is an easy walk to Lion Den Camp. Some brush is encroaching on the trail.

Lion Den Camp was clean, the picnic table is now just a bench on two of the concrete blocks at the camp. Views were great to the ocean and Mt. Mars.

All and it was a great day for a hike, lots of tired folks when we reached the botto,
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