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San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby pantilat on Mon Jan 05, 2015 4:52 pm

Date Hiked: January 3, 2015
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Dutra Flats spring is flowing and the meadows are turning green. Some cows were brought into the area and they have done a good job tearing up the trail near Dutra Flats Camp and south. We accessed Dutra Flats via County Line Ridge/Mount Mars taking the Baldwin Ranch Shortcut part way down and then a different use path that crosses Baldwin Ranch Road and goes directly down to Dutra Creek, the site of a Lost Ventana Camp. There is an old shed/cabin structure near where we left the Baldwin Ranch Shortcut located in some Monterey Cypress with some not-so-old trash strewn about. The Baldwin Ranch Shortcut spring is flowing well. The use path down to Dutra Creek is easy to follow but also torn up by the cows. On the opposite side of Dutra Creek (east side) the use path heads uphill through pine and oak forest but then peters when it reaches the grassy hillside. Travel is easy enough up the grassy slopes and the old use path reappears as it curves around the east side of Point 1890 to the Dutra Flats Trail at the southeast end of the flats near a large Ponderosa Pine. The trail is in good condition heading down the Spruce Creek drainage to the Salmon Creek Trail with only a couple minor step-overs. I noticed some Santa Lucia Firs growing high in the upper Spruce Creek drainage, likely one of the southernmost groves of Abies bracteata.

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Green hilllsides near Dutra Flats


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Approaching the saddle between Dutra Creek and Spruce Creek; Silver Peak beyond


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Climbing grassy slopes above Dutra Creek


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Excellent views down the Dutra Creek drainage


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Heading up Mount Mars in the morning
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby mgdigger on Sun Oct 19, 2014 4:46 pm

Date Hiked: October 18, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Did a two night trip to Turkey springs camp over the weekend. As reported earlier the spring at Durta Flats is dry. There is a good flow of water a half mile past there right on the trail. I camped above Turkey springs camp just as it starts down hill to camp and found some non moving pools of water that were ok to filter. Walked down to Turkey springs camp and found water running in Dutra Creek and a nice flow at the camp site. Over all the trails and camps were in good shape. The toilet paper gardens are getting a little out of hand tho. I cleaned up some behind Dutra Flats camp YUCK.
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water on trail 1/2 mile past Durta Flats camp
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Dutra Flats spring
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby gfelsman on Sat Sep 27, 2014 7:31 pm

Date Hiked: September 27, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Ten of us hiked this trail today. As reported before the weather was perfect, with on a few bugs.

The trail is generally clear to the saddle with plenty encroaching brush along the way. Some work has been done on this trail knocking down a lot of the Poison Oak, and made the Spruce Creek slide area easier to pass. A few trees are across the trail. Easily stepped over. Once at the saddle we found a bunch of trash left from a previous camper. Looks like they also used the fire ring despite restrictions being in place. Dutra Flat Camp was clean. Found only a few cigarette butts. The fire ring had also been used recently.

We packed out all the trash at the Dutra Saddle.

Note: There is no water at Dutra Flat. The pipe was not running and the trough was completely empty.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby gfelsman on Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:44 am

Date Hiked: April 18, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

14 of us Hiked from Salmon Creek Trailhead on Hwy 1 to Dutra Flat. The weather was perfect. Lots of flowers, including Iris, Hounds Tongue, California Buttercups, Shooting Stars and more.

The trail from Spruce Creek Junction is passable. As the trail is easy to follow but lots of poison oak encroaching on the trail for the first mile up this trail. Once at the switchback poison oak decreases, But still lots of encroaching brush. From the saddle to Dutra Flat the green hills were a delight to traverse.

There were a total of four trees across the trail. Two before the Spruce Creek slide area. All were easy to step over. Two after the Spruce Creek Slide and before the switchbacks. these you had to duck under. Again relatively easy on this day.

We had a pleasant lunch at Dutra Flat under the shade of many trees.
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San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby jbl on Thu Mar 13, 2014 5:40 pm

Date Hiked: March 8, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

SECTION HIKED: FROM JUNCTION OF SALMON CREEK TRAIL TO DUTRA FLAT CAMP [with continuation on Murray Mine Road and beyond to Mount Mars]

Section: Salmon Creek Trail to Spruce/Dutra Saddle: Clear. Spruce Creek is flowing nicely now (compared to October when it was bone dry); increased moisture has translated into increased, aggressive PO; there's an 8" or so madrone down about 1/2 mile from the top, we cut the branches that were blocking the way so it's now an easy stepover of the trunk:

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New Downed Madrone

The grass in the Dutra drainage is finally turning green as shown in this picture taken at the saddle:

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At the Spruce/Dutra Saddle

Section: Saddle to Dutra Flat Camp: Wilderness Freeway

Water was flowing from the pipe at Dutra Flat:

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Water Flowing at Dutra Flat

I spotted some PO growing in a holly bush in the middle of camp:

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PO growing in the middle of Dutra Flat Camp


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The Group at Dutra Flat Camp


We headed out on the Murray Mine Road and found that Dutra Creek was flowing at the crossing:

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Dutra Creek Flowing

The old outhouse along the Murray Mine Road has deteriorated further and will not be of much use:

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Outhouse on Murray Mine Road

Once we got up onto the coastal ridge, the view was spectacular:

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At Coastal Ridge

We got to the summit of Mount Mars and enjoyed the inland views towards the South Coast Ridge:

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On Summit of Mount Mars

As always, the view to the ocean from the face of Mount Mars was unbeatable:

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On the Face of Mount Mars

We reluctantly headed down the face of Mount Mars to the end of a great dayhike. The face was very green, making for much easier walking on the very steep incline:

Headed down.jpeg
On the way down
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby body942 on Fri Oct 11, 2013 9:45 pm

gfelsman wrote:Date Hiked: September 28, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked this trail on Saturday, the weather was great, very few bugs on our trip to Dutra Flat and back.

The trail is fair shape and easy to follow, with encroaching brush and a couple of downed trees near Spruce Creek. The one tree that used to hang over the trail about 1/10th mile past the Salmon Creek Junction has been cleared. Thanks to the folks that removed this tree. Still a few trees left, but a much nicer hike.


Check out the link in my post below, it has video of me clearing those trees. Fun physical challenge. Glad somebody noticed. :)
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby gfelsman on Tue Oct 01, 2013 7:43 pm

Date Hiked: September 28, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked this trail on Saturday, the weather was great, very few bugs on our trip to Dutra Flat and back.

The trail is fair shape and easy to follow, with encroaching brush and a couple of downed trees near Spruce Creek. The one tree that used to hang over the trail about 1/10th mile past the Salmon Creek Junction has been cleared. Thanks to the folks that removed this tree. Still a few trees left, but a much nicer hike.

Dutra Flat Camp itself was relatively clean except for the trash piled in the fire pit and two full fuel canisters we found at the camp. We packed all the trash and fuel canisters out.

Water at Dutra Flat is now questionable. The cattle trough was full when we were there, but the pipe filing the tank was barely dripping. maybe one drip every 3-5 seconds.

Hope it rains soon.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby KMacVicar on Fri Jun 28, 2013 4:07 pm

Date Hiked: June 6, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We set out from Salmon Creek and the trail was nice and clear until the turn off to Spruce Creek Trail. Noticed a few slides, but footing was solid. Very overgrown with poison oak until we hit the flats, however, trail was defined. 2 fallen trees in this section of path. Path disappeared after first cowboy gate, at first clearing (beginning of the flats). The "trail" isn't defined at all in places from the flats onwards. Often, my group would have to explore, then backtrack a mile or so to try and find different "path". Frustrating. Very little trend. Finally made it to Dutra Flat Camp. The site is very nice. Attempted to find Turkey Springs/Dutra Creek but failed horribly. Trail is nearly impossible to find and keep, mostly random cow paths that lead to dead ends. Lots of poison oak along the way. Make sure you
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby body942 on Sat Jun 22, 2013 9:22 pm

Date Hiked: June 14, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked solo in to Dutra Flat Camp on a last minute whim. I'd never been before, but have read about it here. I've been to Spruce a bunch, and was surprised how dense the vegetation became. I've read about the old slide area, and footing was a little dicey. There were two major trail obstacles I encountered on my way up, I cleared them both on the way down. I put a detailed trip report https://www.hammockforums.net/forum/showthread.php?t=75002 over at Hammock Forums if anyone is interested.
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Re: San Carpóforo Trail (aka Spruce Creek, Dutra Flats)

Postby jack_glendening on Thu Jun 20, 2013 10:16 pm

Date Hiked: June 19, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

For the trail south/east of Dutra Camp to San Carpoforo Camp

Amid the "clear/passable" trail reports (often for the trail north/west of Dutra Camp), I'm putting this "difficult" report to warn hikers unfamiliar with this trail that the tread often disappears in the grassy sections, so previous experience or good map reading skills or a GPS (or being lucky) is necessary to negotiate those areas. Intersecting the San Carpoforo trail from off-trail near the old Dutra homestead (not the Dutra campsite), neither Paul Danielson or myself could see any indication of where the "trail" was and had to rely upon experience (for him) and a GPS having a trail track (for me) to continue from the homestead meadow to higher terrain, where tread then appeared.
Big Sur Trailmap: http://bigsurtrailmap.net
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