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Carmel River Trail

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby gshanklin on Wed Jul 13, 2011 9:37 pm

Date Hiked: July 8, 2011
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Hiked from the Los Padres Dam to Carmel River Camp.

First leg of the hike from the parking lot to where the trail meets the river is, of course, wilderness freeway. Once you cross the river, good luck. In very few areas is there a discernible trail. In stretches where you can see a trail, it may just be the aimless wanderings of someone who is lost. Now when I say lost, you can never really get that lost in a canyon that narrow where the trail never gets that far from the river. The problem with keeping a good trail is that what's not covered in blackberry vines, poison oak and stinging nettle, is covered in deadfall. What I was hoping for on this hike was a few more trail blazes. I counted two. The point being is that if you do this hike, count on some bushwhacking. The upside is that the river is running very nicely right now with plenty of good swimming holes. Mosquitos weren't bad at all either. Took my golden retriever and he only got one tick the whole time. So enjoy but be forewarned that you're not going to make great time through portions of this trail.

Editor's note: other reports indicate the Carmel River Trail is in excellent condition; this hiker may have missed the actual trail for some section(s) of the route.
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby rt1 on Sun Jul 03, 2011 9:57 pm

Date Hiked: July 3, 2011
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Chruch Creek Divide to Pine Valley
Trail is in excellent shape with very little encroaching brush, no deadfalls, and very little poison oak. The creek crossings are all stepovers.
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby brphelps on Wed Jun 22, 2011 8:35 am

Our family of six (four teen boys and parents) plus our 100 lb dog day-hiked the portion of the trail from Pine Valley to Hiding Canyon Camp and back in one day. The trail out of Pine Valley itself was in good shape, un-scarred by the Big Basin Complex Fire (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summer_2008_California_wildfires) in 2008. Once in the upper reaches of the Carmel River canyon, the trail lost any of the shade it formerly offered before the fire. We found good water less than .5 mile west of the saddle into Pine Valley due to the recent spring rains. The upper stretch of the canyon was in relatively good shape, though the tread was eroded in parts on the steeper slopes.

In the lower part of the canyon before the trail climbs out of the canyon, the tread was very eroded in a few places and traction was occasionally difficult. The brush over the trail in this section was thick and growing over the trail along most of the route, even obscuring the trail in parts, thanks to the lengthy, recent spring rains. Poison oak, stinging nettle, and other brush frequently obscured the trail and was impossible to avoid. There was a wide spot in the lower reaches of the canyon before the trail climbs out where a couple of fire rings and primitive campsites had been created near the river. Climbing out of the canyon via a number of switchbacks over the hump into Hiding Canyon Camp was steep, hot, and dry. The trail was in pretty good shape and this section was well used. The view of Ventana Mesa Falls below the trail junction to Round Rock Camp was obscured by tall brush. We had hoped to hike up river from Hiding Canyon Camp to the gorge and see the Ventana Mesa Falls up close, but ran out of time and had to turn back. Would love to hear someone's report of the trail from Hiding Canyon Camp to the gorge.
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Eli on Wed Jun 15, 2011 12:00 pm

Date Hiked: June 9, 2011
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Went from Los Padres Dam to Carmel River Camp. Trail looks fantastic. Poison oak is certainly present, but we managed to avoid any rash by hugging the center of the trail in key moments and opting to wear pants. Had to brush off a few ticks. No worries, even less so after being informed lyme disease has never been an issue in this area. Fantastic few hours in, few hours out!
Eli
 

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby greg meyer on Tue May 31, 2011 11:07 am

Date Hiked: May 27, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Thanks for the information about the CCC Crew. I ran into some of them in Pine Valley in early May and there were busting it out over there too! Great program, awesome leaders and hardworking crew. I would love to see more public funding going to programs like this - especially considering that currently unemployment rates for 20 year old's range between 20 - 40% in California!
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Farley on Tue May 31, 2011 10:01 am

Date Hiked: May 30, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The work on the lower section of this Trail was completed by a California Conservation Crew out of San Luis Obispo working under contract with the Monterey Ranger District of the Los Padres National Forest. Thanks for packing out the trash.
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby greg meyer on Mon May 30, 2011 2:25 pm

Date Hiked: May 26, 2011
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

The Youth in Wilderness Program with a group of high school seniors from Pacific Ridge School hiked this trail last week. We started at Hiding Camp and walked to the Los Padres Dam with an overnight north of Bluff Camp. The trail - and the 27 river crossings - was in great shape and our small dog managed it no problem in spite of a very large pack. Lots of poison oak along the way and deep, cold crossings (wear long pants, don't bother to switch to sandals, stay in hiking shoes and use poles). All the camps were reasonably clean but we did pack out bits of trash and litter. There appears to be plenty of fire rings so hopefully people will stop building them. The trail between the LPD and the Wilderness Boundary was really cleaned up and the dangerous sections have been widened and reworked - great job to whomever did the work!

The whole trail is in really good shape, as good or better than I have ever seen it... for the Ventana it really is fair to classify it as a 'Wilderness Freeway' (but then no trail here will ever be the Autobahn! That's why we love it).
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby cmahrun on Mon May 30, 2011 12:31 pm

Date Hiked: May 28, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked from Los Padres Dam parking lot to Buckskin Flat and back over two days. Trail is mostly clear and well defined with a few small sections of overgrowth or loose rocks/dirt. We hiked with a large (11 people/3 dogs) group and had plenty of space at the campsite. A few notes:

*Poison oak is unavoidable. If you wear long sleeves and pants and stay on the trail, you should be fine.

*Ticks - we found several on our dogs after the hike. We did use some lower strength deet to keep them off of us, though

*Weather - Weather was beautiful for the first 6 hours and then rain rolled in just as we arrived at the campsite. After a wet night, we departed early the next morning and the rain gave way to sun very quickly.

*River crossings - Maybe 15 or so on the stretch we hiked. Deepest ones were mid-thigh. After the night of rain, the water was deeper, colder, and moving more quickly. Prepare to get wet and stay wet - there are too many crossings to stop and switch shoes or remove shoes at each one. Bring river poles or make yourself a walking stick. All three dogs we had with us were bigger dogs, but smaller dogs might have a lot of difficulty with the larger, stronger crossings.

All in all, a beautiful, moderately challenging backcountry hike that's in fairly good condition right now.
cmahrun
 

Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Farley on Tue May 17, 2011 5:22 pm

Date Hiked: May 10, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

A brief report for the section from the Dam to Bluff Camp:
Trail is open and clear to Bluff Camp where is the river is rushing, but easily passable. Be mindful of the few trail tread blow outs in the first mile past the trailhead. Only obstacles are the flowers which may slow hikers or distract them from personal navigation devices. Folks say this is an off year, but looked pretty wonderful to me with black sage to globe lilies to crimson sage forming a main course garnished with abundant variable (Chalcedon) checkerspots. Passed a few anglers who managed to catch nothing but a buzz.
If you go, please consider carrying hand pruners and a small saw to clear down and encroaching brush, especially beyond bluff camp. Cut it well back from the trail and as close as possible to the ground or a junction with a main upright stem; please do not leave staubs (pointy cut ends) sticking out into the trail.
The best thing keeping trails open out there is YOU! Thanks and enjoy.
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Re: Carmel River Trail

Postby Guest on Wed Apr 27, 2011 10:14 am

Date Hiked: April 16, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The trail from Pine Valley to Hiding Camp is not a whole lot better. Lots of poison oak and ticks.
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