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Big Pines Trail

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby sgilden on Fri Oct 24, 2014 12:19 pm

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

From Los Padres Dam to Blue Rock Ridge the trail is mostly clear and the tread is well defined. There is one deadfall on the way up to the ridge, but it is easy to get over. Once past Rattlesnake Creek trail junction the Big Pines Trail becomes slightly overgrown with waist to head high brush when you get close to Blue Rock Ridge. I recommend long pants for this hike for the short sections of overgrown trail. We hiked this as a short day trip to the blue rock on Blue Rock Ridge.
sgilden
 

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby Lynnelle n Derek on Mon Jun 30, 2014 8:30 am

Date Hiked: June 28, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Did overnight backpack Los Padres Dam to Pat Springs via Big Pine Trail. Whew, got beat up, poison-oaked, and broiled nicely in 90 degree heat, but was a good workout. Not a trail for the faint of heart.

Took Jeffrey Shaeffer's "Jeep Trail" shortcut and was easy to follow the road but with 17 degree calf-busting slope. Then it was just brushy but you could fairly easily see tread, until the Blue Rock Ridge. Then you start climbing in earnest. Thanks, Steve, for putting all the trail-marking tape! Gave us moral support to know we were headed the right way. Unfortunately, where the official trail is, in the lovely shade and gradually graded on the side of the hills, has now grown over with a fairly solid mat of calf-or-waist-or head-high Poison Oak. So, me being ridiculously sensitive to the stuff, we had to opt instead to hike the ridge/dozer cut most the way up, off-trail, sometimes on but sometimes not, on deer trails, pushing straight up or crashing straight down, through blackberries, yellow star thistles, and head-high ceanothus, so we were glad to have long pants and long sleeves. Cleared a few small trees along the way. Blue Rock is super-cool. Got my shoes full of stickers and spiky grasses, but saw chubby fat hyperactive Monarch butterfly caterpillars on milkweed, very sweet! Also many wildflowers, even though so dry. Fireweed, Wolf mint, yellow asters, 2 toned monkey flowers.

Opted to take the shady official trail on last big slope, by this time it was 90 degrees. But that's where I got PO, there's so much it's unavoidable at times. Didn't see Big Pines camp, maybe it's down by Danish Creek? No sign. After Big Pines, the cutoff trail to Pat Springs is clearly marked (Thanks, VWA, neat signs!!) and is a beautiful level clear trail for 500 yards, then it meets many big downed trees and becomes hard to follow, if not for Steve's flags. Great spirit-lifter to hear Danish Creek burbling happily away, a lot of water for this drought. Then you actually cross the creek and can take a much-needed bath in its shallow but clear, cold water. Good flow, even though only 2 in. deep. Crazy Tiger Lilies. Pat Springs also got good flow. Very few bugs, and 30 mph winds all night long kept them off us. We wanted a workout, and man did we get one.
Lynnelle n Derek
 

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby Paul David Tuff on Wed Mar 05, 2014 11:07 am

Date Hiked: February 21, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Day hike to Pat Springs from Los Padres Dam trailhead. Took the steep shortcut that Jeffrey Schaffer called the "horse trail" in Hiking the Big Sur Country, which is still in decent shape. From the junction of the horse trail and Big Pines Trail, the route is pretty good until about 6 miles in when it gets pretty brushy. Thanks to those of you who placed flags and did trail work since the last time I was here when I had to wade through knee-high growth for a considerable distance on the exposed south-facing slopes and bushwhack through over-my-head ceanothus. The last mile or so before the junction to Big Pines Camp is passable now, virtually impassable last time I was here. I took the cutoff trail (passable) over to Pat Springs and returned the same way. Still one of my favorite day hikes.
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Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby Steve B on Tue Dec 31, 2013 10:07 pm

Date Hiked: December 16, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We hiked the Big Pines Trail from Los Padres Dam to what was once Big Pines Camp (not much left of Big Pines Camp), the trail was the normal Los Padres ‘brushy’ but if you pay attention you can find the tread. You have to be careful to find the trail where it leaves the dozer line so you don’t hike the dozer line which would make a very difficult hike, look for the orange flagging.
We flagged the Big Pines Trail from Los Padres Dam to the Pat Springs Junction. We plan to come back in April and cut as many down trees as we can and possibly put Big Pines Camp back where it belongs if there aren’t too many hazard trees around the camp.
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Los Padres Dam To Pat Springs

Postby Ventana Hiker on Tue Nov 05, 2013 12:13 pm

Date Hiked: May 30, 2013
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We hiked the trail from Los Padres Dam to Pat Springs and found it to be a very difficult hike. Overgrown is putting it nicely. While the trail is fairly easy to follow at the beginning, it quickly falls to deer trail status. It is easy to make a wrong turn and have to back track. With no water until Big Pines, this was a tough hike to make in 90 degree weather. Big Pines, too, is a maze. Destroyed by fire some years back, no maintenance has been done, and finding your way through it requires good navigation skills. Pat Springs, however, is great, an absolutely perfect camp ground. We returned the same way, and while it was easier because we knew the trail and it was mainly downhill, the potential for getting lost was still great. Plus, the Rattle Snakes dominating the south facing ridge trail made for some unpleasant surprises.

Downsides: overgrown with poison oak and brush, continued exposure to the sun, and abundance of ticks and rattle snakes.

Upsides: very pretty, a good test of endurance.

Recommended: Hiking sticks, plenty of extra water, and start at Pat springs, not Los Padres.
Ventana Hiker
 

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby Guest on Thu Apr 18, 2013 9:58 pm

Date Hiked: April 18, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Two wilderness rangers went on this trail today to clear Danish Creek Camp (and potentially Rattlesnake Camp, though we failed to find the onward trail so turned back). The Big Pines Trail is evident, but in places very overgrown with poison oak. At one stretch it is flagged (with four flags). Recently, a Search & Rescue team traveled on part of the trail with ATVs, and that part of the trail is still trampled. We traveled maybe a mile and a half past the burnt marker signaling the divide between Danish Creek Camp and the Big Pines Trail, and it was easy enough to follow, but overgrown.
Guest
 

Big Pines Trail

Postby Paul David Tuff on Sat Mar 02, 2013 4:50 pm

Date Hiked: February 22, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined) to practically impassable

Hiking in from Botchers the trail is in pretty good shape, as is the Big Pines Cutoff from the junction with Ventana Double Cone down to the creek, then it degrades a bit climbing up to Big Pines Trail. There is a marker showing the junction to Big Pines Camp, but I never would have found the camp itself without Jack's Big Sur Trail Map and a GPS (GPSmap 62s [thanks for the recommendation Jack. Now I have to learn how to use the thing]). The trail down to the camp quickly disappeared but the gps got me to the area of the camp. I was standing about five feet away from the camp's fire grate but it was so overgrown it may as well have been invisible until I looked down and spotted it. Big Pines is becoming a lost camp. The trail from Big Pines Camp junction to the BPC/VDC junction is pretty good, but since a lot of the trail was covered in snow, I doubt I would have made it (this being a day hike) without the GPS.
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Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby RSIBryce on Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:42 pm

Date Hiked: December 11, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Blue Rock to the Los Padres Dam

Trail begins to heavily meander with the fire break, developed use trails on the fire break make it especially confusing. Tired from the long day of hiking we forgot to use our GPS unit to our advantage at this point and pushed forward on what turned to be not the trail. We found ourselves following a use trail and ended up on some backcountry roads and hitched out with a local who said he picks up confused hikers all the time. He was really nice, said we were lucky we didn't wander onto a neighbors property, however....
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Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby RSIBryce on Mon Dec 17, 2012 6:38 pm

Date Hiked: December 11, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Coming from the Pat Springs junction to Blue Rock

Traveling east to the Los Padres Dam one is saddened by the huge loss of many of the Big Pines in the 2008 fire. The Big Pines camp could not be found even using the GPS unit and would be hazardous anyhow to camp now due to the risk of dead fall. Shortly after where the camp should be a crazy mess of a deadfall has made the trail nearly impassable; for many not into sketchy walking over logs and such or a serious bushwhack it pretty much is impassable. Even for young bucks like me and Sam it was hard and a little dangerous with packs. An alternate route way around this brushy/deadfall mix may be developed at some point to allow this to remain hikeable for the average person. After this however the trail follows along the ridge and is quite nice with some great views and clear trail. The fire break also follows the ridge and gets a little confusing with the trail as the two seem to cross quite a bit. Need to pay close attention, though some many other trails have developed with people getting confused in this manner. Blue Rock is a really beauitful oddity sticking out on the ridge, the trail passes right through it.
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Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby RSIBryce on Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:58 pm

Date Hiked: December 10, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Comings Junction to Ventana Double Cone Trail Junction

Gorgeous walk along the ridge, open and obvious trail. Lots of burned pines from 2008 fire. Some steep sections. The junction with Ventana Double Cone is fairly clear though signage was destroyed in fire. As SamE noted below, carved into the sign is assurance of Pat Spring and the Ventana trail going off to the right at this fork.
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