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Carrizo Trail

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:

Carrizo Saddle Rock Formation.JPG
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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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby mikesplain on Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:26 pm

Date Hiked: April 28, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Section- Salsipuedes Ranch Road to Salsipuedes Creek / San Antonio Saddle-
Conditions in this section range widely, from clear to difficult, so I'll give it an average rating of passable.
That said, there are definitely stretches through which one must push through encroaching brush;
the worst is chaparral pea (Pickeringia montana), which can be a bit like pushing through barbed wire.
Long pants and long sleeves are essential.
Fortunately, the pea was in full bloom, as was bush poppy (Dendromecon rigida) and deer brush (Ceanothus integerrimus).
All things considered, the Carrizo, probably the oldest trail in the Ventana, is very well-designed,
and while it generally ascends through some tough, brushy depressions,
it's got enough rock gardens, sweeping vistas, and ridge top cruising to make the tougher stretches more than worthwhile.
Carrizo Spring Camp, perched among mossy boulders on a flat beneath large canyon live oaks,
is a great place to spend the night and the spring itself was heavily flowing (as of late April).
And if you make it to the camp, be sure to at least day hike to the saddle above
for a stellar view of Cone Peak and the splendid sugar pine forest along the Coast Ridge near Cook Spring.
Despite it being prime time at The Indians, on a weekend with numerous large groups camping out
for a number of official and informal events,
I only encountered two other hikers on this ~4 miles of trail.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Sat Apr 20, 2013 9:04 am

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

Section: Cook-Carrizo Connector junction to Coast Ridge Trail

I hiked up hill from the Connector to the Coast Ridge. The newly-worked trail has a wide trail bed and is clear of vegetation save a few small leaning branches, a collection of yerba santa shoots coming up at one point, and one very easy step-over downed tree.

There's no sign at the top junction, but the intersection is fairly easy to spot for someone hiking the Coast Ridge. It's maybe 750 to 1000 feet north of the Gamboa Trail junction. The Carrizo Trail departs by an obviously constructed stone step and initially parallels the Coast Ridge Trail, with only a few feet of separation, as it works its way up a small ridge. At the junction with the Cook-Carrizo Connector, there's a new post but no sign.

So why not rate this as "Clear"? There's an odd hazard. At maybe three points on the trail near the top, an old telephone wire crosses the trail. The stuff is solid copper about 1/8" diameter. It's loose on the ground or a little above. It's marked by little tape flags. The first one or two times the wire crossed the trail, I spotted it or the flags and walked right on without thinking too much. I don't even remember how many crossings there were. However, at the last crossing, not far from Coast Ridge Trail Junction, I got way closer to the wire than I would have liked before I saw it. I saw the wire. I didn't see a flag until I stopped. That wire was a few inches off the ground and was well positioned to trip the unwary hiker. The picture shows the situation, looking in the opposite direction from which I first encountered it. (Click on the picture to see a higher-resolution version.) The wire is off the trail bed and bends here and there. The tape flag at the right in the picture is not well aligned for someone coming into the wire from the upper right in the picture. The tape flag at the left – can you find it? – is small and ratty. It may be hard to get scale on this picture. The tape flag at the right is about 6" long.

I'd advise anyone hiking this trail to maintain a heightened sense of awareness. This is not a good place for hiking on autopilot; the result may be head-first fall. With a this sort of an inconspicuous and perhaps unexpected hazard, I can't really call the otherwise wide-open trail "Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)".

[Editor: If you encounter a hazard such as wire a few inches above the ground, please consider placing rocks on top of it so hikers will not trip on the wire.]

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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:45 pm

Date Hiked: February 23, 2013
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked this trail from the trailhead near the San Antonio River, up to the junction with the Cook Spring Connector. Wow, nice job trail crew !! The upper section from the second saddle (~4100') still had an inch or two of snow on shady north-facing slopes (which was much of it). No issues with tread, brush or deadfalls though. Saw bobcat tracks most of the way, and on up from Cook Spring.

The lower part of the Carrizo was much the same as the last time I hiked it; pretty decent. There was some intermittent brush before and after Carrizo Springs. Definitely water near the camp. A little brush and sloping tread between the two saddles, but nothing really bad yet.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Betsy M on Mon Feb 11, 2013 11:10 pm

Date Hiked: February 10, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

A VWA Trail Crew cleared 11 fallen trees from the upper 2 miles of the Carrizo Trail, starting at the junction where the historic section leaves the Coast Ridge Trail. If you are hiking north on the Coast Ridge Trail, watch for the two stone steps that mark the start of the Carrizo, as it angles sharply uphill from the Coast Ridge Trail which contours below, to the left.
We cleared all the fallen trees from the historic section,
and continued beyond the post marking the connector to the Cook Springs Camp Trail, to the second saddle. This upper section is clear, verging on wilderness freeway condition.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Betsy M on Tue Oct 16, 2012 4:44 pm

Date Hiked: October 14, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

An ACE Crew worked on the mile section between the saddle with a view of Cone Peak and the siltstone saddle below. They restored the tread for this entire section, and it is now an easy, pleasant walk. The brushbowl below is still fairly clear. The historic section that leads south to intersect the North Coast Ridge Trail just north of the Gamboa Trail remains in excellent condition. For hikers wishing to access Cook Springs, or the NCRT headed north, the connector trail leaves the Carrizo at a switchback just below the saddle with a view of Cone Peak. A signpost (no sign on the post) marks the junction, shown in the photo below.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Betsy M on Tue Mar 13, 2012 5:53 pm

A VWA trail crew consisting of 12 tough and dedicated volunteers spent two long days on the North Coast Ridge Trail and the upper Carrizo Trail. We cleared all the blowdowns mentioned in the previous trip report, plus brushed out from the second saddle up to the upper saddle, and tuned up the historic section from the upper saddle to where it meets the NCRT. We also removed two logs from the historic connector trail from the signpost below the upper saddle, to where it hits the Cook Springs Camp Trail at the southern most end of the lower switchback on the merely steep route.

Currently, if you are hiking from the south to the Carrizo, you will come to the historic trail about an eighth of a mile past the Gamboa trail. This is where the NCRT is still on the west side of the Coast Ridge. The start of the trail is two nicely placed rock steps. The alternate access to the Carrizo is from the Cook Springs Camp Trail. This trail splits into a merely steep route and an insanely steep route just below the NCRT. Both routes reach Cook Springs Camp, but you must take the merely steep route to access the Cook-Carrizo Connector trail.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Jan 08, 2012 4:31 pm

Date Hiked: January 7, 2012
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from San Antonio river trailhead to Coast Ridge trail yesterday and found it generally much better than last year. Thanks to all who have worked on this trail !

The dry spell we've been having is showing: water was trickling below Carrizo Springs in an area of reeds, and kind of a pain to get to. No water that I could see elsewhere nearby.

From the second saddle on up, I noted 3 or 4 large areas of blowdown necessitating off-trail detours, mostly on the uphill side. Once at the post, the going got easier, though there was one area of brush overhanging the trail -- I would have taken a saw to this myself if I hadn't run short of daylight. The tread was also narrow and sloping in this section but not difficult to follow.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby trolleypup on Wed Sep 07, 2011 2:16 pm

Date Hiked: September 6, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

The Historic Carrizo Trail route from the dozer saddle to the NCRT near the Gamboa Junction is once again passable, after last winter's heavy snow loads caused major amounts of brush to crush into the trail. There remain some minor brush step arounds, several step over logs, and the tread while clear has not been worked for complete hiking comfort.

The views remain spectacular, the bugs are present but not too obtrusive.

The dozer cut route up from the saddle to the NCRT is very grown in and nearly impassable.
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Re: Carrizo Trail

Postby rachelmetoo on Thu Jun 23, 2011 12:35 pm

Date Hiked: June 21, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

In agreement with the previous post 90% of this trail was well marked with ribbons and cairns, thanks so much!! :P many opportunities for water and so deer flies as well :| ...the last section of the trail before meeting up with Coast Ridge becomes very confusing though, light tread, fallen brush and there seem to be un-marked trails, I think I took the North leading trail that the previous poster had avoided, went across to Cook springs, where there appeared to be an unmarked trail leading East back towards Carizzo and met the Coast Ridge where I believe it shows the junction on the trail map!!

[Editor's note: on the Carrizo Trail, at the last saddle before you reach the North Coast Ridge Trail, the original route contours south, towards Cone Peak (visible in the distance) and meets the NCRT about in about 0.8 miles. A dozer cut continues straight up the ridge, meeting the NCRT in about 0.1 miles. A third route (similar to one shown the on the USGS maps) contours north to Cook Spring Camp. From Cook Spring Camp there are two dozer cuts, joining together near the top, that lead up to the NCRT.]
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