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Carrizo Trail

Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby runcyclegirl on Wed Apr 20, 2016 9:18 pm

Date Hiked: April 10, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

This report is for the first ~2.5 miles.

We didn't get very far on Carrizo before the threat of rain chased us down, but we got far enough to see the work completed thus far by Steve and Beth Benoit, the Gabilan Conservation Corps., and other VWA volunteers. The first 2.5 miles of trail are clear and wide with no obstructions. That plus the elevation gain made for a nice hike.

It was obvious where the trail work ended as the brush on both sides of the trail touched making "swimming" necessary to pass through. It's not so bad, really. The brush was soft with tender leaves and flowers so I thought it was lovely.

Many thanks to Backcountry Horseman of California for funding this project.

Maria

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Clear, wide trail.

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End of clear section but tread is good.

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Lovely surprise of Harlequin Lupine in a meadow nearby.
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Carrizo Trail

Postby jbl on Mon May 25, 2015 7:48 am

Date Hiked: May 23, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

We hiked the entire length of the Carrizo Trail.

Section: Bridge at the end of Road 6 (lower trailhead) to Carrizo Springs Camp: Passable to Clear. The grassy meadow section after the bridge crossing to the beginning of the uphill is getting a bit obscured/vague due to height of the grass now but you can easily find "a" way if not "the" way. The initial 1/3 of the uphill section to Carrizo Springs Camp is still pretty clear but brush continues to encroach a lot as you get higher, there are some well placed cairns to guide you through some of the trickier spots; As you approach camp there is a little flagging to help guide you through.

Camp was empty, water was flowing nicely in the spring on the left (as you look uphill) side of camp.

Section: Carrizo Springs Camp through Brush Bowl to San Antonio/Arroyo Seco divide: Passable to Clear. The initial creek crossing immediately above CS Camp has a bunch of PO vines and branches sticking into the trail, I wish I'd had my loppers. This is only about a 20' stretch. The uphill to the saddle above CS Camp remains somewhat clear but brush encroachment continues. The Betsy McGowan-led VWA work on the Brush Bowl of a few years ago has held up but some of the heavier brush tunnels have grown in and you must plunge through with hands and arms in front of you in "divers" position.

Section: San Antonio/Arroyo Seco divide to NCRT: Clear. This is a beautiful verdant section mostly in the shade of towering sugar pines, luckily none have fallen across the trail other than those which have already been cut. And this was my first time ever taking the Carrizo Trail from the Cook Spring Camp connector up to the NCRT, this section is beautiful and a much more pleasant way up to the NCRT than the old steep firebreak.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Fri Apr 17, 2015 2:51 pm

Date Hiked: April 16, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I hiked from the Cook Springs Connector down to the Salsipuedes Ranch Bridge.

I’m grateful for the work done by the equestrian group. I’m amazed they made it up and back. This wasn’t all that easy on foot with a backpack, even after their work.

The first mile through the sugar pine forest is open, clear, and lovely. Then, at about 4000’, the forest thins, the trail comes up to saddle, and the route crosses onto a south-facing chaparral covered slope. The next 3/4 mile or so has some difficult sections: very brushy and a few pitches of steep, washed-out trail. Brush bowl indeed! It looks like the wet December, followed by a warm and mostly sunny winter, has led to considerable growth since Rob’s February 1 report. There’s nothing quite as bad from that second saddle on down, but most of the way has brushy sections interspersed with easier ones. It's something of an endurance test: no individual block of trail is hard, but the effort doesn't stop. Some poison oak, mostly but not entirely avoidable. No route-finding problems except for short spurs that dead-ended pretty quickly. Plenty of water at Carrizo Camp. The very last slope down is -– finally -– open and clear under forest cover. A fair number of globe lilies were in bloom: the only place I saw them on this trip.

This trail strikes me as being right on the edge between a passable and difficult rating. Even in the brush bowl, difficult chunks were interspersed with less challenging ones. If I chopped that 3/4 mile out, this would fit into the passable category, albeit with the warning that the modest on-and-off brush bashing extends for a few miles. So perhaps "difficult" as a general condition is a tad pessimistic, but somehow "passable" just seems a bit too rosy.

At the bottom of that last hill, I tried taking the Carrizo Use Trail over to the Road 8 rather than heading to the bridge and Road 6. My car was at Memorial Camp and the Use Trail would have cut maybe half an hour off the walk. Unfortunately, I gave up on the Use Trail after about 1000 feet and backtracked. I made it through the brush tunnel at the beginning -– and probably opened it up quite a bit in my bashing through -– but turned around when I saw more poison oak than I wanted to deal with as I approached Carrizo Creek. The last half mile on the regular Carrizo Trail through grassy oak savannah on a wide path was fast and easy.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Hillary on Mon Mar 16, 2015 7:14 am

Date Hiked: March 15, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I would agree with EquiHiker. We saw where they had cut back some of the brush and branches and all along the way we remarked how knarly it would have been if they hadn't. It was very thick in many areas. We were glad for the tape and stacked rocks along the way. Beautiful hike otherwise. Water was flowing at Carrizo Spring. Campsite was clean.

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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby EquiHiker on Fri Mar 13, 2015 1:17 am

Date Hiked: March 7, 2015
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We rode on horseback from Indians trailhead to the ridge above what we believe was the North Coast Ridge Trail. Many sections of this trail are in serious need of brushwork as parts of the trail were so obscured by overgrowth we would have lost it were it not for the aforementioned tape job. Sure, the tape was ugly in the wilderness, but we were thankful when we spotted it while standing knee deep in brush on a disappearing trail.

The lower portions of the trail were wide open for about 1/2 mile until we hit the brush line. From then on, for equestrians, it was whack and ride much of the way.With three of us carrying hand saws and two with garden shears, we cleared as necessary to make the trail more passable and safe for horse and rider, but upon our return discovered anyone following us would still have thought no work had been done in years. We almost missed the jig, just above the flat table rock, that leads to Carrizzo Spring as that intersection was almost entirely obscured by brush. The trail marking tape tipped us off. The trail around the spring disappears in low brush, but the sound of the water kept us on track. Above the spring, poison oak abounds in some sections and has encroached upon the trail (yes, I'm paying the price this week). Water was bubbling from the spring, and we found running water at another crossing further up the trail beyond the rock garden.
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Some of the rocks could use some rollin' to make the trail more passable for horses.
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We found running water along the trail at Carrizzo Spring as well as another narrow crossing further up the trail.
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Just short of the lovely, groomed, wide-open spaces of the pine forest section, we came across two fallen trees (18" diam. or so) which had crossed the trail and were too high off the ground for horses to pass, though hikers could have climbed over or crawled under. We used handsaws to drop those logs to ground level so both hikers and horses can step over.

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While we spotted the signPOST for the Carrizzo-Cook connector, the sign itself was not. The trail up to NCRT was so clear that we missed the turn onto the connector until our return trip at which point we stopped to consider the reason for what appeared to be an oddly placed old signage. Further exploration led us to the trail, but it was late in the day so we opted to go back down the way we had come up. As we had not cleared branches (other than purely impassable sections) on our way up, there were still countless low-hanging branches along the route. One swept off a rider on our decent. Two wrecks occurred at and near the table rock overlooking Salsipuedes Ranch. Clearing the smaller boulder on the north side of that rock would provide an equestrian bypass to the dangerous, smooth rock.

More shots from the day:
The clear woods - Image
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Based on the lack of any trail/tracks in this area, we appear to have been the first ones through here in quite some time:
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Carrizo Trail

Postby jbl on Fri Feb 06, 2015 12:09 am

Date Hiked: February 1, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

A group of us hiked up from the trailhead to the Cook Springs turnoff.

I didn't know what to expect, not having been here since Dec '13 when it was already getting somewhat brushy after the trailwork that had been done earlier that year, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the brush encroachment not so bad.

Section: Arroyo Seco River Bridge to Carrizo Springs Camp:

Clear with brush encroachment in places at knee level and below; the flagging is very helpful as you get to the lower environs of Carrizo Springs Camp; water was flowing at the main Carrizo Spring (to left of camp as you arrive), we didn't explore the spring to the right

Section: Carrizo Springs Camp to Saddle: I was amazed at how much grassy brush has grown in here, last time through it was just the manzanita, which had been cut back and was no problem, but now there's just a lot of grass encroaching all over the trail; the tread is easy to follow, though

Section: Saddle through "Brush Bowl" to saddle between San Antonio drainage and Arroyo Seco drainage (where the sugar pine forest starts): This section has remained in excellent shape reflecting the stellar work done by the VWA in early '13 which has held up quite well in a notoriously bad section

Section: through sugar pine section to Carrizo/Cook Spring Connection: Wilderness Freeway, no trees down and no brush encroachment.

NOTE-WATER WAS FLOWING BUT VERY SLOWLY AT COOK SPRING
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Jan 18, 2015 5:22 pm

Date Hiked: January 17, 2015
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I hiked this trail in my usual direction, from the ranch bridge up to the Cook Spring connector. Overall things were in good shape. Somewhat brushy just before Carrizo Springs, intermittently brushy after that up to the second saddle. A few stepovers on the upper, north-facing section. I worked on sawing one of them, but they were not bad yet. A pleasant day out.

Carrizo Spring had plentiful water, as did Agua Dulce creek.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby GaryS on Sat Nov 15, 2014 2:51 am

Date Hiked: November 11, 2014
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I hiked the Carrizo Trail, starting from the trailhead near the headwaters of the North Fork of the San Antonio River, heading west toward Carrizo Springs and Cook Springs campsites. Started hike on Nov. 10 and finished, on schedule, an out-and-back hike on Nov. 11. No water in Carrizo Springs or Carrizo Creek. The only water I saw along the trail was some rainwater that had collected in an indented oval in a large flat rock next to the trail just before Carrizo Springs. I didn't have time to see if there were other indented pockets in large granite rocks with water holding in them which there may have been due to the good rain a week to 10 days prior to this hike. I hiked nearly as far as Cook Springs campsite or to an elevation of around 4000 feet, but due to short daylight time of year, needed to turn back when I had reached about a half mile from the Cook Springs campsite. By keeping a fairly brisk pace, i made it back to car and trail head just as daylight was ending. Elegant pine trees are here and there along the trail when reach an altitude of approx 3000 feet.
When I started the hike, I carried with me nearly a complete roll of bright orange nylon cut able marker tape (rolls are available at hardware stores). By the time I had reached about a mile past Carrizo Springs campsite or about 1/4 mile past the view of Cone Peak, I had used up all the roll of orange color marker tape. I'm very glad that I brought the marker tape and placed markers (approx 12 inch long markers) whenever I felt it appropriate. Without the orange marker tape, on the return hike heading east, it would have been difficult or nearly impossible to stay on the trail and get back to the trailhead and car in time before dark. I noticed a few existing nylon trail markers (either white or blue color) which, in some cases, I added an orange color tape over to make more conspicuous. Also, noticed a few rock trail markers that other hikers had left. I left up all the marker tape on the way back that I put up on the way out. When I placed the marker tapes, I tried to put the tape on the side of the trail where it is heading (i.e. when the colored marker tape is on the left side of the trail, stay to the left, or when the tape is on the right then stay on the right side of the trail).
The Carrizo Trail is more difficult, in my opinion, than the Arroyo Seco River headquarters trail, which runs nearly parallel to the Carrizo trail about two miles north of the Carrizo Trail . I found that the Arroyo Seco headwaters trail, which I hiked last year in the same month of Nov., was easier to follow than the Carrizo Trail. Although the Arroyo Seco headwaters trail has some steep sections on it, where it would be highly advisable to place colored marker tape particularly in the higher elevations of the Arroyo Seco headwaters trail to avoid getting lost off trail particularly when doing out-and-back hikes where on the downslope of the hike, one is going much faster than when going uphill and the risk of going off trail and getting lost is more of an issue on either trail. Saving energy and time on the hike particularly on the return leg of the hike, during the time of year when daylight is less, is very important. I emphasize the importance of either knowing well the trail, being with some who is familiar with the trail, and/or making sure marker tape is placed. The Carrizo trail has more than one 90 degree hairpin turn, and a lot of brush along much of the trail. There are many interesting views from the Carrizo Trail, interesting trees, and rock formations all make this Carrizo trail well worth seeing as long as one is prepared for a difficult to follow trail due to brush, switchback, and rocks particularly at bout 2000 feet elevation and above in this area.

Moderator's note: while we appreciate the need for occasional marking where the trail is vague, placing a whole roll full of flagging in 12" lengths is excessive. This is a wilderness trail, and obvious signs of development are to be kept to a minimum. Please, if you must set flags or rock ducks, use the minimum number necessary to mark the route, and make them as unobtrusive as possible.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Rob on Mon Feb 17, 2014 5:37 pm

Date Hiked: February 16, 2014
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from the trailhead near the Salsipuedes Ranch bridge up to the Cook Spring connector. Conditions were much the same as the previous report. A few small downed trees in places and some encroaching brush. I could hear water near Carrizo Springs, and saw it in Agua Dulce creek. From the second saddle on up to Cook Springs it was clear sailing.

Bush poppy was in bloom on the middle part of the trail, before Carrizo Springs. IMO The views are what really make this trail great, though the last mile and a half in sugar pine forest is nice too.
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Carrizo Trail

Postby jbl on Sun Nov 17, 2013 11:37 am

Date Hiked: November 16, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Overall Section Hiked: Lower trailhead to Carrizo-Cook Spring Connector.
Average Rating: Clear (but see comments on various sections).
This was the "uphill" part of a day hike with Esperanza, with the downhill portion to be on the Arroyo Seco trail. We saw zero people the entire hike.

Section: Trailhead to Carrizo Spring Camp: first 1.75 miles is Wilderness Freeway; then, the rest of the way to camp, conditions vary from passable to Wilderness Freeway (the majority of this being in the passable-clear spectrum) with lots of encroaching brush. The tread is virtually always visible, but keep an eye out for cairns and flagging in a few spots where it isn’t obvious where the trail goes. As you climb higher, you get ever more expansive views of the valley where you started and of Serra Peak looming over on the other side:

Carrizo-Serra Panorama.JPG
Serra Peak

We didn’t investigate, but we could hear water flowing in the creek at Carrizo Spring Camp.

Section: Carrizo Spring Camp to saddle above camp: when crossing the creek as you leave camp, there’s a bunch of PO that you’ve got to push out of the way; after that it is mostly clear, partially passable (due to brush encroachment) to the saddle. There’s one small tree down in this section:

Carrizo Tree Down.JPG
Tree Across Trail

Once you get to the saddle, you wander along through some interesting rock formations like this one:

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Rock Formation at Saddle

…and as you leave the saddle you are rewarded with this view of the eastern profile of Cone Peak:

Carrizo-Cone Peak Profile.JPG
Cone Peak Profile

Section: From saddle across “brush bowl” to creek crossing at mile 3.5: this section was in surprisingly good shape and I would rate it clear (the early part when you drop into the brush bowl has some encroaching brush but for the most part the brush has been cut back.
Section: From creek to divide between San Antonio and Arroyo Seco drainages at mile 3.9: This section is clear, with signs of much brush clearing.
Section: From divide to Carrizo-Cook Spring Connector: this section, in which you suddenly find yourself in a sugar pine forest, is clear, thanks to whoever has been cutting the large number of sugar pines (and smaller trees) that have come down across the trail, like this one:

Carrizo-sugar pine.JPG
Sugar Pine Cleared (one of many)

Note that this section is on a steep sidehill and there are some places where the tread is quite narrow, so be careful.
The Carrizo-Cook Spring Connector is marked with a post (I neglected to take a picture); you know you are there when the trail makes a 90 degree left turn (the Carrizo-Cook Spring Connector turns off 90 degrees to the right at this spot).
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