Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Big Pines Trail

Big Pines Trail

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby RSIBryce on Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:36 pm

Date Hiked: December 9, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Mt. Carmel Junction to Comings Camp/San Clemente Trail (Pine Creek) Junction

The trail down from Devils peak is rather steep and sometimes narrow. We saw lots of side use trails though its pretty easy to stay on the main trail.
Last edited by RSIBryce on Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:59 pm, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:48 pm

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby RSIBryce on Mon Dec 17, 2012 5:20 pm

Date Hiked: December 9, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Turner Creek junction to Mt. Carmel trail junction

Trail remains open and easy to follow though not as heavily used as Skinner Ridge trail. (Note: Skinner Ridge trail ends at the Junction to Turner Creek and becomes the Big Pines Trail. Slightly confusing for those who carry the National Geographic BIg Sur Ventana Wilderness map as it is labeled wrong on there. Sign at Turner Creek junction indicates that you are now hiking Big Pines trail at that point on. No water up here to draw from. We saw a couple of day hikers and one other backpacker. No sign at the Mt. Carmel trail junction and there is another trail that goes off in that general direction from atop Devil's peak.
User avatar
Posts: 83
Joined: Fri Oct 05, 2012 2:48 pm

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby RSI SamE on Thu Dec 13, 2012 1:12 pm

Date Hiked: December 8, 2012
General Condition: Passable

Big Pines Trail
Twixt Turner Creek Trail junction
And Comings Trail junction
• Trail: Clear
• People: 3
• Signage: Sign at Comings Trail junction is old and has incomplete info. Pointing towards Turner Creek Trail junction it reads “Spaghetti Public Camp”. The Sign says nothing at all about the Pine Creek Trail emanating from behind it.
• Note 1: Trail washed out and rocky in some places, but wide here as well.

Big Pines Trail
Twixt Comings Trail junction
And Ventana Double Cone Trail junction
• Trail: Wilderness Freeway
• People: 0
• Signage: Burnt sign at junction with Ventana Double Cone Trail and Big Pines Trail. Carver into burnt sign post is written “Pat Springs, 2 km” with an arrow pointing down Ventana Double Cone Trail to Pat Spring Camp.

Big Pines Trail
Twixt Big Pines Cut-Off Trail junction
And Danish Creek Trail junction
• Trail: impassable
• People: 0
• Signage: Burnt post with yellow, red, and blue flagging at Big Pines Trail junction.
• Note 1: Near Big Pines Cut-Off Trail junction there is lots of dead fall in the dead pine forest, climbing over large trees is necessary.
• Note 2: Trail is brushy in many parts.
• Note 3: A fire break parallels much of this trail and is easily confused for the trail, near The Danish Creek Trail junction we lost the Big Pines Trail and came out on some unknown fire roads.
Posts: 17
Joined: Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:42 am

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby mikesplain on Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:48 pm

Date Hiked: November 12, 2012
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

[Ed. note- We're moving this report, originally posted by Lori, from the Pat Springs Trail reports, as it obviously refers to the Skinner Ridge, Big Pines & Ventana Trails to Pat Springs]

Section-Turner Creek Trail junction to Ventana Trail junction-
There are a few blowdowns that do not obstruct passage (stepover or step around). The tread is in fine condition, except for a section going west up Devil's Peak (or down, if going east) - there is a short traverse where the edge of the trail crumbled and eroded - but this is not impassable.

[ Editor's note: while we accept that individual opinions will vary, a trail that has ANY deferred maintenance, including stepover logs, should NOT be classified as Wilderness Freeway. A more appropriate rating would be Clear or Passable. -- cmh ]
User avatar
Posts: 616
Joined: Tue Aug 12, 2008 3:15 pm

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby Guest 2 on Mon Oct 15, 2012 1:35 pm

Date Hiked: October 14, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We hiked the trail in the direction of Pat Spring to Los Padres Dam and found it to be passable. As noted in the previous post, the South-North "shortcut" section near Big Pines Camp was somewhat hard to distinguish because of faint tread and misleading side trails. After leaving Pat Spring, we at first missed the turnoff to the right for the shortecut, and ended up at Spaghetti camp, where we had to turn back and retrace our steps. To find the turnoff on the first try, look for two square posts without signs on either side of the trail. The turnoff is right there, appearing as a faint trail through the grass heading off perpendicularly.

To find the actual spring at Pat Spring, follow a short spur trail down from the main junction and look for the spring on your left. It is built up with bricks and waterspouts, and the water was coming out as if from two open faucets.
Guest 2

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby Rainer on Sun Oct 14, 2012 10:38 am

Date Hiked: October 13, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Los Padres Dam to Pat Spring and back. Overall, the trail is in fair condition.
There is a short section with overhead brush, but it's not difficult to push through. For
the most part, the vegetation is not more than knee high and the tread evident (there
are, however, misleading side trails), with the exception of the last section before the
Ventana Double Cone Trail, after the "cutoff trail" fork. Big Pine trail itself is very obscure
there. The cutoff trail is fine.

Pat Spring is almost dry. It's hard to draw water from there. Danish Creek has water.

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby Guest on Sat Aug 25, 2012 6:27 pm

Date Hiked: August 17, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked Big Pines trail from Los Padres Reservoir to intersection with Ventana Double Cone trail (and back). Trail is easily passable where it passes through shade (i.e., on the north side of the ridge) although there are patches of poison oak and a couple of downed trees. The trail on the ridge top and south side of the ridge is overgrown but passable. I strung some pink ribbon on the most baffling stretches.

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby Road Runner on Sat May 26, 2012 8:23 pm

Date Hiked: May 26, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I took this trail on the basis of the April 1st posting by Piero. We hiked into Pat Springs from Botchers Gap and were going to hike out along the Big Pines trail to Los Padres where my friend left the car.

Coming down from Pat Springs, taking the trail off to the right or east to Big Pines Camp, starts out fine but as you go down switchbacks, the bracken is overgrown, the trail eventually petered out to nothing.

The idea the Big Pine trail being a "Freeway all the way" is a joke. The fire break is overgrown and every once in a while we saw the trail off to the left or right. When we did take the trail on the wet side through oaks there was poison oak all over the place. The one time we took in on the Danish Creek side, the dry side, the brush in parts was 5 feet tall and blocking the trail. We just got back today, May 26th and the brush was wet, so our pants and boots were soaked. I have never been so miserable on a trail.

We missed the jeep trail off to the right toward Los Padres (how someone is to know where to turn coming from Pat Springs is a mystery to me). We proceeded along what we thought was the fire break but came to the end on a knoll looking down on Cachagua. We thought we might have to spend the night on the hill, but as we back tracked we saw an old jeep trail that brought us down by Cachagua Road a mile from Los Padres.

[EDITOR'S NOTE - sounds like you may have taken the old horse trail which heads NE from the trail along Blue Rock RIdge instead of following along the actual trail, which heads SE at that point towards Los Padres Reservoir.]

If I had known the true condition of this trail we would not have taken this hike. I feel the post of April 1st totally mischaracterized this trail. We're experienced backpackers and will never take this trail again.
Road Runner

Re: Big Pines Trail

Postby piero scaruffi on Mon Apr 02, 2012 8:56 pm

Date Hiked: April 1, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

I hesitate to file this report after reading the March 25 report at it almost feels like we're talking about two different trails. We did a roundtrip to Double Cone from Los Padres Dam.
First of all, there are two ways to start the Big Pines trail. After crossing the dam, there is an unmarked fire road on the right. Next to it there is a sign TRAIL that sends hikers further left to the marked trailhead. The trailhead joins the fire road after about one hour up the hill. We went up the hikers trail and down the fire road. The hikers trail has poison oak, but nothing too devastating if you are wearing long pants. The fire road, is poison oak-free (if there is any, it is not where you are walking). Once the hikers trail joins the fire road, there is absolutely no obstacle. Wilderness freeway except for places where the dead leaves cover the trail, but it doesn't take more than a few seconds to find the trail again. The only problem is when you reach Big Pines Camp: you get to an unmarked fork. Go right if you are heading for Bottcher's Gap, go left if your destination is Double Cone. If the latter, you will get to an infamous five-way junction with no signs. Counterclockwise from where you are standing: a trail that comes from Bottcher's Gap, a trail that leads to the campsites uphill, the trail to Pat's Spring, and the trail to Double Cone (alas, the faintest of them all).

I guess this second part of the report should be filed under "Double Cone trail". Anyways:

From Big Pines to what used to be Lone Pine camp (N36.33356/W121.71397) the trail is certainly passable and mostly clear with a few deadfalls and a few places where it is collapsing. Nothing too serious though.
When the trail starts going up (hopefully what i think used to be Lone Pine camp, see coordinates above) the bushwhacking can be intense: there is a first stretch of about 50 meters during which you don't see the trail at all (have faith and walk straight: the brush is soft and won't harm you) and then another one a bit shorter (but equally thick). Then several deadfalls of various degree of annoyance. Further uphill the trail clears up and the last hour is almost wilderness freeway.
Compared with last year, this part took a lot longer. My guess is that in two years that overgrown section will be impassable.

Pictures of both sections:
piero scaruffi

Big Pines Trail

Postby Backpacker on Wed Mar 28, 2012 9:36 pm

Date Hiked: March 25, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

This trail is covered in poison oak! Luckily it was still early in the season when I hiked it, but give it 3 more weeks or so and it will be totally covered in serious poison oak. When there was not poison oak there was thick brush that will try to tear up your legs. Pants are a must. There is really no water until the end of this trail because you are hiking on a ridge for most of it. The views are incredible, but would still not recommend this trail to someone who is worried about poison oak or thick bushes that of course are covered in ticks.


Return to Ventana Wilderness Trails

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests