Forums
Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Bear Basin Trail

Bear Basin Trail

Re: Bear Basin Trail

Postby runcyclegirl on Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:23 am

Date Hiked: November 24, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Seventeen hikers marched up Bear Basin Trail from Pine Valley to the Pine Ridge Trail using the Bear Basin Connector. We found the trail leading out from Pine Valley just as others have reported- clear of encroaching brush, tread present and easy to follow.

The half-mile section of the Bear Basin Connector is brushy, mostly ceanothus, as described. However, tread is present and when we crashed through brush it was because it encroached from the sides of the trail and not growing in it. For this reason, I would describe it as difficult but very passable. There are a couple of knee high obstacles and a branch jam to hunch through but we found ourselves on the Pine Ridge before we knew it.

I do recommend protecting exposed skin- long sleeves, long pants, maybe sun glasses to protect your eyes might make the hike more comfortable for some. The hike up from Pine Valley was good and sweaty (the first half is very steep) and offered impressive views of the high meadow and in certain places along the route you can see Jack's Cabin! As the the entire trail follows the ridge (which separates Pine Valley from Bear Basin) toward the Pine Ridge, one is also treated to unobstructed views into Bear Basin.The spine of this ridge is most obvious along the connector as you get alternating views of Bear Basin and Pine Valley.

If you go now, you're sure to catch the fall colors :-)

php4Mi9fwPM.jpg
Fall colors on Bear Basin Trail toward "Connector", photo by Burkhard Siedhoff.
runcyclegirl
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 1:58 pm

Re: Bear Basin Trail

Postby Robin on Thu May 17, 2012 11:04 pm

Date Hiked: May 15, 2012
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

Section: Bear Basin connector to Pine Ridge/Divide Camp

Whoa. The ceanothus is SO thick. Feel the trail with your feet and bull through. The tread is intact, so it's doable, but. Several deadfalls in the thick of it add to the ruggedity. That's a word. In the Ventana, it is.

The flagging at the top of the ever increasingly encroached Bear Basin Trail up from Pine Meadow leads you right past this sneaky left hander and plunges South, so be looking.

It was worth doing, to get where I wanted to go...and to give me renewed appreciation of the Trail Crew! Y'all are awesome.
Robin
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 17, 2012 10:23 pm

Re: Bear Basin Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Sun May 06, 2012 7:52 pm

Date Hiked: May 2, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Section: Pine Valley to Bear Basin Connector junction

I had to cast around a bit leaving the Pine Valley Camp to find where the trail headed up the hill. If it says anything, it was about 50 feet west of where I first looked. Once on it, I found clean, clear, if steep, trail most of the way to the junction with Bear Basin Connector. Right near the top, things deteriorated a bit. Where before the trail had been cut a little into the hillside to give a flat trail bed, here there were sections where trail bed was just a swath cut through the brush – with re-growth narrowing the opening – on a sloped hillside.

I had some minor trouble finding the Bear Basin Connecter junction. 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 and then aimed down a very steep slope. I retreated after not very much of that and returned to the faint path at the top. It turned out to be the Bear Basin Connector I was seeking. 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.
User avatar
Jim Ringland
 
Posts: 69
Joined: Sat May 07, 2011 12:02 pm
Location: Oakland, CA

Re: Bear Basin Trail

Postby jack_glendening on Thu Dec 22, 2011 10:55 am

Date Hiked: December 21 2011
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

This report is for the section between the Bear Basin Connector intersection and Bear Basin Camp.

There are many relatively recent disturbed earth paths heading in different directions - I think too many to have been created by a single individual. I have no previous familiarity with the Bear Basin Trail but did have a GPS track from a previous hiker, which I attempted to follow but found very little real tread anyplace, ending up following whichever disturbed earth track seemed to best agree with the GPS track. I did find some trail evidence along the way, e.g. cairns and cut branches.

Not really sure I found the current "Bear Basin Camp" - below is a photo of the fire ring I did find, which did lie along the GPS route I had. The camp location given by Schaffer, which is 200 ft south of the GPS track I had (and Schaffer reported it to be similarly south of the trail) is currently a mess of vines and difficult to get to, so not likely to be used.

Some of the "disturbed earth" tracks went around the intersection with the Bear Basin Connector, bypassing it. I suspect that was done by someone who lost the trail and was just looking to get to Pine Valley as best they could. I placed some flags in that disturbed earth area which would instead lead hikers to the Bear Basin Connector, so someone looking for that intersection would not inadvertently bypass it.

A backpacker unfamiliar with the Ventana (using the Wilderness Press map) reports that he looked for but could not find the southern terminus of the Bear Basin Trail (a good thing, given that trying to follow this "trail" would likely have been more of an adventure than he would desire). He ended up finding and taking the Bear Basin Connector and the northern end of the Bear Basin Trail to Pine Valley, which appears to be the route which has supplanted the old southern section of the Bear Basin Trail.
Attachments
bear_basin_firering.jpg
Bear Basin firering
Big Sur Trailmap: http://bigsurtrailmap.net
User avatar
jack_glendening
 
Posts: 603
Joined: Thu Oct 29, 2009 12:03 am

Re: Bear Basin Trail

Postby mikesplain on Wed Feb 09, 2011 12:48 pm

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

There seems to be a lot of confusion on what is / is not the Bear Basin Trail,
so to disambiguate, this is the stretch which begins at a 4-way intersection on Pine Ridge (3E11)
Pine Ridge Trail passes NE & SW, Black Cone Trail begins (SE) & Bear Basin Trail begins (NW.)
In other words, not to be confused with the "Pine Valley Connector" or "Bear Basin Connector" (3E16)
which descends from the Pine Ridge Trail about 1.5 miles NE of Pine Ridge.

Section- Pine Ridge to Bear Basin-
The start of the trail is so cluttered with deadfall and regrowth that I didn't bother trying to find it,
instead traversing NW in an attempt to locate the crucial drop-off which leads N & then NE into Bear Basin.
This was no easy task & I finally resolved to descend via the path of least resistance (a relative statement)
within about 1/4 mile I reached an open forest of incense cedar, Santa Lucia fir and ponderosa and Coulter pines
with fantastic views down the Carmel drainage.
This being one of the most beautiful areas in the Ventana Wilderness (IMHO),
I took the time to discern the true route of the trail.
The fire seems to have mostly spared this north-facing slope & a few cairns here & there mark the route.
Below this point, additional cairns mark a precipitous descent through burned shrublands
in which tread is sometimes evident, but I eventually lost the route
(pretty sure I strayed too far north)
& opted to drop NE toward Bear Basin proper, which was fairly easy, thanks to good visibilty.
This situation will certainly change as regrowth obscures the route.
Bear Basin, being ground-zero for the namesake lightning strike that started part of the Basin Complex,
appears to have burned really, really hot.
The basin is easily traversed, but I had difficulty staying on the correct trail for much more than a few yards at a time
(lots of deadfall, most notably large ponderosa pines.)

Section- Bear Basin to Pine Valley Connector aka Bear Basin Connector intersection-
I crossed 2 heavily flowing forks of Bear Basin Creek
& then found that a number of use trails have emerged.
Choosing what seemed like the best of these,
I ascended grasslands to a spur ridge
& then followed it to a wall of burned Ceanothus that was a real pain to get through.
In retrospect, I strayed way too far west.
Don’t make the same mistake-
aim for a conspicuous grassy saddle & you’ll climb to the “connector” ridge in short order.

Section- Pine Valley Connector aka Bear Basin Connector intersection to Pine Valley
This stretch is essentially wilderness freeway,
one downed oak that’s easily bypassed on the uphill side.
I suspect most folks report on this trail under the PV / BB Connector heading,
so best take a look there for the most current report.
Finding it from Pine Valley (for those headed uphill) might be a little challenging-
Look for flagging behind the “official” camp in Pine Valley, you’ll find it.
User avatar
mikesplain
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:15 pm

Re: Bear Basin Trail

Postby Brandt Bates on Sun Jan 02, 2011 2:52 pm

Date Hiked: December 15, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Recently I went on a three day trek from China>Pine Ridge>Pine Valley (using the Bear Basin trail as a connector for pine ridge to Pine Valley). Starting at the Basin trail/ pine ridge trail junction, I had great difficulty finding the start of the basin trail. I ended up using my familiarity of the area and began to trail blaze my way down into the basin. Because of the fires and new low growth I found it quite enjoyable. The trail would appear here and there however, the longest stretch of noticeable trail seemed to be about 100 ft or so. Careful when dropping into the basin from pine ridge (very lose soil and slippery rocks). As I continued to dropped into the basin there were some beautiful showings of native carex grasses, this succession put a smile on my face. Heading towards pine valley, out of the basin camp, the trail was very faint and at times non-existent. Pine valley trail is in good condition from the connector. I would suggest staying out of Bear Basin unless you have previous knowledge of the general direction of the trails and location of the camp. Enjoy and watch out for those ankle roles!
Brandt Bates
 

Re: Bear Basin Trail

Postby Brian Manley on Wed Mar 24, 2010 6:20 pm

Date Hiked: March 22, 2010
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

My group descended from Pine Ridge Camp to Pine Valley Camp using the Pine Ridge Trail and Bear Basin connector, then the lower stretch of the Bear Basin Trail. (For clarity, when I say the "Bear Basin connector," I'm referring to the trail leading from the first junction one encounters after leaving Church Creek divide heading toward Big Sur on the Pine Ridge Trail, NOT the stretch of the Bear Basin Trail that descends into Bear Basin Camp from the junction with the Pine Ridge and Black Cone Trails).

The trail that connects the Pine Ridge and Bear Basin Trails was surprisingly evident and clear for the first several hundred yards. Gradually, deadfalls and brush began to encroach, until we lost the trail roughly 150-200 yards prior to where the trail splits and descends into Bear Basin or Pine Valley. Several large deadfalls covered a 40-50 foot length of the trail, and we had to climb on top of and around this mess until we miraculously picked up an extremely faint tread on the other side (after 10-15 minutes of searching). The only way we were able to pick up and stay on the trail was by finding old cut stumps, and I know I would have had much more difficulty finding the trail if I hadn't used this route before.

Once we passed the turnoff to Bear Basin Camp and began descending into Pine Valley, the trail was incredibly clear and easy to follow. Our only problem on the entire trip from Pine Ridge to Pine Valley was the brief stretch of extreme difficulty I've described above. Other than this, I was surprised to find the trail in beautiful shape, comparable to the Pine Ridge Trail. I'm confident that a small group with an arsenal of saws and clippers could clear the length of this trail with a few hours' work.
Brian Manley
 

Bear Basin Trail

Postby TRAILS on Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:46 pm

Date Hiked: July 4, 2009
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Reported by Paul David Tuff:

Pine Ridge to Bear Basin: couldn’t find the trail. Bear Basin to Pine Valley: difficult.

Most of the big trees at the top of Pine Ridge are all gone or are blackened stumps. At the presumed junction with the Black Cone trail I found, on the ground, the small metal sign pointing the way to Black Cone and Strawberry. I tried to find the trail down to Bear Basin but ended up heading virtually straight down the side of the ridge, much of which is bare with very loose footing. There used to be numerous Santa Lucia Firs on this side of the ridge but most of them are gone.

Coming into Bear Basin I waded through thick vines and ferns. I was apparently downstream from the upper camp and, heading downstream, inadvertently found what I think was the lower camp, with its rock fire ring. I was unable to find the trail leading towards Pine Valley so I bushwhacked my way up to the ridge, found the nearly impassable Bear Basin Connector trail, and headed towards Pine Valley. I soon came upon some Stevenson Expedition folks who were at the Bear Basin trailhead, but the flagged trail didn’t look much better than the path I had just followed.

The trail down into Pine Valley was visible most of the time but required a lot of bushwhacking.
User avatar
TRAILS
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:28 pm

Bear Basin Trail

Postby dknapp1 on Wed May 27, 2009 11:40 am

Date Hiked: May 24, 2009
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Jdoelman
The trail intersection on the Pine Valley side is easy to find, but not signed. From there onward the tread is extremely indistinct. We followed the "trail" by looking for cuttings on the burnt brush. After contouring along for a way, the trail route becomes more obvious and the going is relatively easy off-and-on-trail down into the Basin. We found an orange "pre-attack" sign near the creek at the basin-bottom and a burnt off sign next to it. The sign was not at a pleasant camping spot, so we were wondering what it would have shown prior to its burning. We located the best and most used bear-basin camping site at the south-west end of the basin. On the way out (south) we did not attempt to follow the trail, going was easy thanks to the burnt vegetation. Locating the Bear Basin trail from the pine-ridge trail seems like a near impossibility. From that side proceed through knee deep ferns along the ridgeline heading for large unburned trees to the west. N
ear those trees the trail is marked by cairns amidst dispersed pines and sparsely vegetated terrain. The trail seems to head down the westernmost side of the Bear Basin.
User avatar
dknapp1
 
Posts: 174
Joined: Mon Jul 28, 2008 11:09 am

Bear Basin Trail

Postby Site Administrator on Thu May 07, 2009 4:01 pm

Date Hiked: May 4, 2008
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Conditions reported by: Adam
Survey date: 4-MAY-2008
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Pine Valley to Bear Basin - Clear

This trail is in good condition. Very little signage, but the trail was recently flagged with orange tape. Few fallen trees and a path mostly clear of brush make for a pleasant walk.

Section: Bear Basin to Pine Ridge Trail - Difficult

The trail becomes progressively worse, with more and more fallen trees, and more and more space between the trail markers. I lost the trail entirely just north of the junction between it and Pine Ridge Trail, and found it again by chance after about a half hour of bushwhacking.
===========
Conditions reported by: Paul Caccamo
Survey date: 31-MARCH-2008
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Pine Valley to Bear Basin Connector - Clear

The trail is in fine condition.

Section: Bear Basin Connector to Pine Ridge Trail - Difficult

From the connector down into Bear Basin and back up to Pine Ridge the trail is in horrible condition and I recommend using the connector and Pine Ridge Trail to get to Pine Ridge. Bear Basin trail is followable thanks to flags left by some kind soul, but in particular the climb to Pine Ridge from Bear Basin camp is borderline impassable. Multiple deadfalls.....it took me almost two hours to negotiate a way to the ridge. Would have been impossible to follow the "trail" without the flags. This section needs much work indeed. Not recommended.
===========
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers (Stevenson Wilderness Expedition)
Survey date: 2-MARCH-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Stevenson crews thoroughly cleared the trail from Pine Valley to the Bear Basin Trail. From there to the Pine Ridge Trail enough clearing has taken place that the trail is clear.
===========
Conditions reported by: Chad
Survey date: 4-MAY-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Brush is encroaching on the trail, and had to push through it, or duck into the tunnel it created quite a bit. Tread is good and easy to follow. The junction with the Bear Basin Connector is flagged, there is no sign. Its easy to identify with a topo.
===========
Conditions reported by: Reed Thayer
Survey date: 29-FEBRUARY-2007
General: CLEAR/PASSABLE
Specific:

The tread is in good shape from Pine Valley to Bear Basin but is much worse from Bear Basin to the Pine Ridge Trail. There are several large deadfalls. Please do not remove the flagging from Bear Basin to Pine Ridge. Without it, the trail would be impossible to find in the snow and very hard to find in dry conditions.
===========
Conditions reported by: Stevenson Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: 13-FEBRUARY-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Church Creek Divide to Pine Valley - Passable/Difficult

Stevenson Wilderness Expedition leaders cleared the trail from Pine Valley to Bear Basin Camp and flagged where the trail becomes vague. They also began to clear up the hill towards the Pine Ridge Trail and cleared that to Passable condition almost to the top of the first ridge. The remaining section should be completed by the end of February, according to our current plans. However, at the moment, it is very brushy and would be hard to negotiate that top half mile.
===========
Conditions reported by: Fred Miller
Survey date: 12-FEBRUARY-2007
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Pine Valley Trail to Bear Basin Camp - Passable

Trail is well flagged.

Section: Bear Basin Camp to Pine Ridge Trail - Difficult

The trail disappears between camp and Pine Ridge. Getting brushy. For a great lesson in Ventana's rowdy geology, drop downhill below Bear Basin Camp to see an entire hillside slumping in 5' high waves into the creek.
===========
Conditions reported by: Stevenson Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: 13-FEBRUARY-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Bear Basin Connector to Pine Ridge Trail - Passable

The Stevenson crew reflagged and cleared brush the length of the trail. The trail has some rough tread, but it is visible the whole route. Slumping and sliding footbed near the top of the brushy section leading out of Bear Basin will require attention, especially for loaded backpackers. There was only a trickle of water running across the camp area, but the main stream had adequate flow, and other streams around the Basin were flowing.
===========
Conditions reported by: Greg Minter
Survey date: 24-SEPTEMBER-2005
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Bear Basin Connector to Church Creek - Difficult

Lots of encroaching brush. Tread evident but faint. Lots of pollen and dust stirred as you pass.
===========
Conditions reported by: Ryan Masters
Survey date: 29-JUNE-2005
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Brutal, but passable. At times, disorienting. At points the tread is completely lost in overgrowth and you have to feel your way blindly. Slow going to say the least.
===========
Conditions reported by: Dave Eshleman
Survey date: 1-JUNE-2005
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Very difficult going with brush completely obscuring the trail. Had to push forcefully through 7-foot high chamise.
===========
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers - Stevenson Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: 14-FEB-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Pine Valley Camp to the Pine Ridge Trail Junction : Passable

Stevenson Expedition staff brushed out and cleared most downed limbs from Pine Valley Camp to the Pine Ridge Trail junction. Ceanothus still impinges on the upper sections despite clipping, and several step-over branches remain. However, this route should not prove difficult for a backpacker familiar with Ventana trail conditions. Rapid growth on the upper sections of this trail above the Bear Basin Trail will doubtless overcome our clipping during this wet growing season.
===========
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers - Stevenson Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: 15-FEB-2004
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Bear Basin Trail (Pine Valley through Bear Basin to Pine Ridge)

The Stevenson Wilderness Expedition cleared and re-flagged the trail from Pine Valley to Bear Basin Camp. The trail needs attention where it drops down the ridge into the valley above the Basin. There are rock cairns and some flags, but it helps to know where the trail is supposed to go. From Bear Basin Camp to the top of the Pine Ridge, the trail is open and flagged, but again, opportunities abound for losing the way. This is especially true where it comes out into the flat area on top and turns south east to meet the Pine Ridge Trail. This area of ceanothus and deadfalls has rapidly growing ferns and shrubs. We clipped the trail open, but it will rapidly re-grow and obscure this route again. We clipped open the trail for a hundred yards from the junction at the top of Pine Ridge a second time at the beginning of March, 2004.
===========
Conditions reported by: Rob Yang
Survey date: 19-APRIL-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:



This trail appears to have been cleared and flagged recently. I hiked from the junction with the Pine Ridge and Black Cone trails down to Bear Basin camp, and then up and over into Pine Valley. The camp was inviting and showed signs of recent use.

There is some deadfall, and I did some sawing where I could. There is also a bit of sloping tread, and some intermittent brush, but the trail is otherwise very pleasant. The flags help a lot. I ran into a few other groups going the other way, so that should help.

[Between the PR/BCT junction and Bear Basin camp is a flat spot with views, incense cedars and what looked like lots of volcanic rocks. It was quite different from most of the rest of the forest. What a treat !]
===========
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers
Survey date: 15/16-FEB-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Pine Valley to to Pine Ridge Trail via Bear Basin Camp:

From Pine Valley up to the Bear Basin Connector junction, the way is clear after we did some cutting and clipping. The foot bed is in good condition.

From the junction down toward Bear Basin, we cleared a way and rebuilt foot bed around a large laurel that had fallen along the trail about 100 yards from the junction. One still needs to straddle another tree trunk, but an experienced hiker can negotiate the obstacle safely. From there to Bear Basin Camp, the trail is clipped out and newly flagged in the many obscure parts. There is one other tree at about 4 feet above the trail that can be swung under on the trail down from the first ridge where the route tends south before dropping to the first flat section.

From Bear Basin Camp up to the Pine Ridge Trail on Pine Ridge, our group clipped, re-flagged, and cleaned the foot bed up to within a few hundred yards of the Pine Ridge Trail junction. The last section to the junction was not finished because of darkness. The final section of the trail should be flagged before the end of February when another group uses it. However, I would not advise hikers to take this section of the trail unless they are comfortable with the possibility of losing the trail and having to make their own way.
===========
Conditions reported by: Ted Merrill
Survey date: 9-OCT-2002
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

From Pine Valley, the first mile of this trail is in good repair, up to the saddle where there is a Y. There is no sign at this junction with the Bear Basin Connector trail. The continuation of the Bear Basin trail falls downhill steeply into Bear Basin, and is marked with a small log across the trail (likely gone by the time you get there). I didn't go into Bear Basin but did notice that the junction of the Bear Basin trail with the Pine Ridge trail is basically invisible; but if you go North at the junction of the Black Cone trail (a burnt out tree trunk with a plaque and tagging) then, based on prior experience, you should find the way pretty easily.
===========
Conditions reported by: Jim Yurchenco
Survey date: 14-21-APRIL-2002
General: CLEAR BUT VERY STEEP
Specific:

Clear but very steep; a couple of minor blowdowns; it snowed on us here, but didn't stick.
===========
Conditions reported by: Stevenson School Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: FEB-2002
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Pine Valley to Pine Ridge via Bear Basin: The route is open and flagged. The trail out of Bear Basin is steep but easy to follow after we cut in the foot bed and re-flagged the trail. The route is much more difficult, though, than the slightly longer route up to the Pine Ridge Trail junction and along the Pine Ridge Trail to Pine Ridge turn-off. On a map the Bear Basin cutoff may appear to be a shortcut, but it requires a lot of steep climbing to hike out of Bear Basin.
===========
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers
Survey date: 14-JAN-2002
General: PASSABLE TO VERY DIFFICULT
Specific:

Robert Louis Stevenson School's Wilderness Expedition leaders and co-leaders were out the weekend of Jan 13 to do some trail clearing and flagging into and out of Bear Basin Camp. I'm sending along my impressions of the trails and the results of our flagging.

Pine Valley to Bear Basin Camp: The Bear Basin Connector Trail is fine up to the Bear Basin (Camp) Trail. We flagged and cleared the trail down to the camp, and that route is now in good hiking condition, although not one of the more frequently used trails. The new flags can be depended upon down as far as the camp.

Pine Ridge/Black Cone Trail/Bear Basin Trail Junction to Bear Basin Camp: We cleared and flagged the trail from the Pine Ridge Trail junction approximately a third of the way down the hill. The top section is now flagged and can be followed easily. After it drops over the ridge down into the bare section of brown gravel, we added flags to the existing cairns. Flags now show the route over the edge of the canyon for the final drop into Bear Basin, although the tread has mostly disappeared. The flags follow the original trail down and across the worst of the side-slope traversal at the top of the ridge before the trail begins to zig-zag. We kicked in and clipped enough to make that route clear to the top of the first switchbacks. But our flags stop there. The other part of our group came up the trail after clearing the trail into Bear Basin Camp. The original trail in the basin near the camp no longer exists, and a number of alternative routes make finding the original trail up the ridge extremely hard for someone coming uphill towards Pine Ridge. Our group coming uphill tended too far south and flagged a route that meets the line of flags we ran down from the summit. That route can be followed by backpackers, but it lacks switchbacks and may become overgrown. We will try to continue flagging the original trail down from the top as far as Bear Basin in February. Meanwhile, hikers are warned to expect difficulty finding a complete trail between Bear Basin Camp and the Pine Ridge Trail.
===========
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers
Survey date: AUGUST-01
General: DIFFICULT to IMPASSABLE
Specific:

Pine Ridge Trail at Black Cone Trail Junction to Bear Basin Camp

The trail is largely invisible. I have been over it five or six times in the last five years, in both directions, but I confess I was off the trail as much as on it. Even when it exists, it is generally not continuous but exists as remnants of trail. From the Pine Ridge Trail junction, a half dozen faded flags and occasional foot bed indentations lead one through fern and burned tree trunks to within sight of the final short uphill ridge. Here one keeps slightly right of the direction the trail has come from and heads for the low spot in the ridge. A cairn on the other side confirms this is a way people have come before. From here the trail tends down and eastward across red gravel. At some point the trail turns northwest and down. I found traces. When it gets to an area of mostly burned ceanothus, I lost it and missed the drop over the ridgeline when the trail curves north and northeast. I made a cross country loop and regained that trail part way down. Looking back up, it did not appear there was much, if any, tread to follow down the steep side-slope even if I had stayed on it. I followed the trail and made my own down to Bear Basin Camp, crossing several new drainage cuts, some of which are over ten feet deep. The camp itself is in good shape and the main creek is running nicely. However, I would not recommend anyone attempt this route to the camp unless they have been on the trail and remember it well from four or five years ago. There is something unusual about the trail section above the camp and up to the gravel slope near the top. The whole area seems to re-make itself; at least it has done so over the last three years. It responds drastically to winter rains. Some new stream channels that were mostly dry five years ago in the winter now seem to flow all year, and their beds have cut seven or eight feet deeper. Trees have fallen over or burned away completely. New hedges of brambles, thimbleberries and nettles have grown up to cover previously dry forest duff. On the whole, if this trail is being abandoned, there are good excuses for doing so: it would need to be rebuilt after every rainy season if this dynamic process continues.

Bear Basin Trail - Bear Basin Camp up to Bear Basin Connector

This trail also exhibits signs of abandonment, especially in the two level basins one reaches before climbing the last ridge out to the main Bear Basin Connector trail. Much dry ceanothus covers the trail as well as other brush. Some spots require crawling. Worse than that, though, the trail repeatedly vanishes in the duff under the madrone and bay and oak trees in those basins. Although I have always found them beautiful and friendly places, I was off the trail more than I was on it this time through. In fact, I eventually just made a cross-country trek for the ridge I thought was the correct one and picked up the trail there with no sign I had ever crossed the actual trail. From that ridge up the last two hundred yards to the junction, the trail is easy to follow but is crossed by more ceanothus and scrub oak. After a couple of downed trees, the trail meets the much clearer trail between Pine Valley and the Pine Ridge Trail. Although this was recently brushed out to a considerable width, it is time to bring some clippers and handsaws along it once again.

My personal opinion about Bear Basin is that the trail in from the Pine Valley - Pine Ridge Trail should be reworked and not abandoned. The camp is a beautiful, remote spot. It is generally protected from storms (except from the north) and it was not severely burned in either of the last two big fires so the camp is under old oaks, pines and madrones. There are even Santa Lucia Firs in the camp area. But rebuilding the trail will require work to establish the foot bed as well as to clear existing brushy sections. A first step would be a good survey and new flagging to supplement the old cairns and flags which too often point to dead ends.
===========
Conditions reported by: Neil Lahaie
Survey date: NOVEMBER-00
General: DIFFICULT to IMPASSABLE
Specific:

Bear Basin Connector to Bear Basin: PASSABLE WITH DIFFICULTY.

The trail is passable but difficult from the top of the connector down to the top of Bear Basin with the trail disappearing every so often. The trail is overgrown in many places on the way down. There are a few yellow tags still in place down to the top of Bear Basin that will get you to a place where 3, count em, 3 trees in a row have fallen right into the foot bed. If you head straight down the basin from the middle of the first fallen tree you will pick the trail back up and that will take you down to the creek next to the old Bear Basin campground.

I found a remnant of the campground sign on the ground by the old campsite. It looks like someone used the rest of it for firewood or it got washed downstream.

It is my feeling that this trail will become impassable in the near future if some effort to clear brush and fallen trees isn't made

Bear Basin to Pine Ridge: IMPASSABLE

I spent several hours scrambling over the ridge trying to find the trail up to Pine Ridge with no luck. One of the previous posters said he could find the trail because there was grass growing in it. In November most of the hillside was green so that method of finding the trail didn't work. I spotted a couple of old ducks and tried to ascend from them but had no luck.

The trail location from the USGS and the Forest Service maps were inaccurate.

I camped at the old Bear Basin camp site that night. It turned out to be one of the nicest backcountry camp sites I've ever camped in with a nice view of the valley and the cones. The next morning I scrambled around on the ridge for a couple of more hours without luck, and finally decided to head back up to the connector and reach the Pine Ridge trail that way.
===========
Conditions reported by: Stevenson School Wilderness Expedition 2000
Survey date: APRIL-2000
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Pine Ridge Trail Junction (on Pine Ridge) to Bear Basin Camp=DIFFICULT

Although the signs that used to be here on Pine Ridge are not visible, once at the correct spot, the beginning of the trail becomes obvious by looking for old cuts in fallen timber along the ridge to the west. Similarly, the start of the Black Cone Trail is moderately clear but unsigned. Without brush walls to define the trail to Bear Basin, trail signs become limited to a faint foot bed, sawed tree trunks, and a stripe of green grass in the old path. Heading out along the ridge, the trick is to decide where to cut northwest over the little rise and pick up the more pronounced trail on the other side, which is newly cairned and runs northeast for a while before going back to the northwest. Cairns and flags help define the trail for the next section.

Downward, the views are better than ever; all the ceanothus is gone. One sees the Double Cone, Uncle Sam Mountain, Hennickson's Ridge, and Monterey Bay beyond. On re-entering the area of standing trees, the trail makes a traverse, first horizontal and then descending, which tries the nerves of a backpacker. The trail is deep in leaves, the foot bed steeply angled down, and the views down slope open and unprotected. The ground is still soft enough to kick steps in, and the slope steep enough to steady oneself with a hand on the hillside. Fourteen heavily laden people with me went down nervously but without a fall.

Entering the first flat area, one might think one has reached Bear Basin, but the camp is still more than a quarter mile ahead and much lower. Unfortunately, the trail and flags seem to disappear. The whole basin has been changed by gravel flows, new water channels, fallen trees and burned out undergrowth. So the process of reaching the traditional campsite is one of cross-country navigating. The original trail reappears in twenty-foot sections but soon disappears into new streambeds or under fallen madrone trees.

The original camp retains its welcome; it is on a flat just north of the old camp sign near the trail crossing of the main stream out of Bear Basin. A new stream brings water closer to the camp. Fire was very sporadic in Bear Basin. Some large trees burned and fell, but most remain. The lower bushes burned, so there is less under story, but the forest canopy seems intact.

Bear Basin Camp to the Bear Basin connector=PASSABLE WITH FEW DIFFICULT PLACES

Crossing the stream and rising into the next basin (waterless), the trail is clear and obvious. Once in the basin, leaves and some fallen trees obscure the trail. As it rises to the northeastern wall of the basin, a fallen tree hides the trail for a way. A few flags mark the route up through the leaves. From there the trail is clear to the final ridge that meets the Pine Valley - Pine Ridge Trail . The last hundred yards have been very well cleared and shored up.
===========
Conditions reported by: Steve Wilson
Survey date: 2-APRIL-00
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Boon Hughey and I hiked the Bear Basin Trail from Pine Ridge to the junction with the Bear Basin Connector on a gorgeous day in early April 2000. The tread itself is very faint, but Schaffer's map depicts the route fairly accurately except that he doesn't show the section from Pine Ridge to Bear Basin; the USGS is a little off. The junction with the Pine Ridge trail is recognizable by a unearthed post on the very top of Pine Ridge; veer right and stay on top of the ridge, gradually ascending through burned Ponderosa. It's interesting that the trail was recognizable in parts in this section because the only grass that was growing was in the tread itself. As you near the red rock outcrop at the top look to your right, or the northeast, for a cairn that marks the start of the descent. The section from Pine Ridge down to Bear Basin passes through an oak forest, quite open, that burned in the 99 fire. But the trees are still standing and they are shedding their copious quantities of dead leaves down to the forest floor, really collecting in the trail tread. If they truly died then watch out for major deadfall in the years to come. Spots of the trail are on steep side slopes with little tread and tons of ball bearing like leaves, quite similar to walking a steep icy snow bank. Look for pink flagging, ducks, and old blazes in trees that have healed and filled in over the years. You'll enter the floor of Bear Basin with its multiple stream channels and pass fine Ponderosa shaded Bear Basin Camp marked on Shaffer's map. The floor of Bear Basin escaped major fire damage, and is a delightful, isolated, untrammeled place provided the flys aren't too robust. The tread is pretty indistinct through Bear Basin, but following Schaffer's map and very old tree blazes you'll reach a metal marker and wooden sign at the foot of the slope and next to the stream just beyond the other campsite marked on Schaffer's map. Here the tread becomes more distinct as it climbs up to the top of the ridge. We lost the trail in a flat bowl about two-thirds up the hill. Follow Shaffer's map and veer to the left (NW) and climb to the top of an ascending ridge. The tread is once again visible and takes you straight to the junction with the Bear Basin Connector. If not marked, this junction is easily recognized as the connector trail heads up the ridge to the right (east) and the Bear Basin Trail immediately descends to the NNE into Pine Valley. By the way, this trail is shown as the Carmel River Trail on the USGS topo.
===========
Conditions reported by: Steve Wilson
Survey date: January 1999
General: VERY PASSABLE
Specific:

From Pine Valley to the Bear Basin Connector Junction:

Just a couple of deadfalls, a very few spots with slightly encroaching foliage, but overall a delightful trail. When heading up the trail from Pine Valley, head towards the spring from the meadow (with the official camps in it that's circled by Ponderosa), then veer to the left. You can't miss it.
===========
Conditions reported by: Jon Benner
Survey date: January 1999
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

From the Connector Junction into Bear Basin and beyond to Pine Ridge:

The trail through Bear Basin itself and climbing out of the basin to the junction with the Pine Ridge trail at the top of the ridge can be indistinct in parts. Immediately after crossing Bear Basin Creek (heading towards Pine Ridge), you have to scout around a bit to pick up the trail again, and climbing out of the basin the tread can be lost in leaves, especially in fall. Some maps show the trail as descending into Bear Basin but not connecting with the Pine Ridge trail on top, but this isn't true; it's passable the whole way, just a little indistinct in parts.
===========
User avatar
Site Administrator
Site Admin
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:43 am

PreviousNext

Return to Ventana Wilderness Trails

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests