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Cone Peak Trail

Re: Cone Peak Trail

Postby N Block on Wed May 02, 2012 11:04 pm

Date Hiked: April 22, 2012
General Condition: Impassable (completely overgrown or tread obliterated)

We hiked a loop from trail-head at Nacimlento-Fergusson Road and South Coast Ridge Road around Cone Peak Road, Vicente Flat, Stone Ridge, Gamboa, and Cone Peak trails returning to our starting point. We took the following trails:

1) Cone Peak Road to Vicente Flat Trail-head (Wilderness Freeway)
2) Vicente Flat Trail to camp at Stone Ridge Trail junction (Clear)
3) Stone Ridge Trail to Goat Camp (Impassable)
4) Gamboa Trail to Trail Spring Camp (Freeway)
5) Cone Peak Trail from Trail Spring Camp to Cone Peak Summit (Impassable)
6) Cone Peak Trail from Cone Peak Summit to Cone Peak Road (Wilderness Freeway)

As we ascended Cone Peak Trail from Trail Spring Camp, we made it about half way up to the ridge-line climbing over downed trees every 100 feet before the trail finally disappeared. It seems that a windstorm or something downed so many trees that the mountain-side eroded. What remains is a gravel-wash that is very difficult to climb up. We ended up climbing straight up to The section of the trail from Trail Spring Camp to Cone Peak Trail was under 2 miles but took 3.0 hours. Here are some photos from that section:

P1000615.jpg

P1000617.jpg

P1000619.jpg

P1000626.jpg

P1000627.jpg


I wouldn't recommend the section from Trail Spring Camp to the ridge on the way to Cone Peak to anyone who isn't looking for an extreme challenge. Ascending the gravel slide that has wiped out the switchbacks was very difficult (especially with a heavy pack).
N Block
 
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Re: Cone Peak Trail

Postby TreeProf on Sun Apr 01, 2012 8:31 pm

Date Hiked: March 21, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Trail a wilderness freeway from Cone Peak trailhead until the decent down to Trail Spring Camp, which was an absolute disaster on the north aspect at the time of hike due to LOTS of 4'+ diameter trees being blown down (perhaps I should have listed it as impassable, except for the criminally insane). Only a good deal of providence and a good GPS with downloaded maps detailing switchbacks enabled our successful decent (took several hours and MANY broken-body near-misses to hike the 1.5 miles).

While it was certainly a nightmare for us, the trail will hopefully will be repaired by a trail crew, which was supposed to start staying at the Trail Springs Camp starting March 28 according to the sign there. Look forward to seeing updated report following work by trail crew (God bless'm if they can't use chainsaws...).
TreeProf
 

Re: Cone Peak Trail

Postby wilderwil on Sat Feb 18, 2012 1:18 pm

Date Hiked: February 5, 2012
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Three of us, Joe, Alan and I hiked a four day trip around Cone Peak, down to Fresno camp, the first camp on the San Antonio trail, and hiking out the Vicente Flat trail. The Cone Peak road gate is closed, due to washed-out road shoulders on parts of the road I presume. All was well until we started down from Cone Peak. This segment of the trail was almost completely blocked out by the December storm (recent wind event). Most of the trees were 2 ft. to 4 ft. in diameter pines and firs, with one 5 ft diameter tree right on the trail. It took us most of the afternoon to go one mile to Trails Springs Camp. The trees were uprooted in what looked like a soft soil base by really high winds. The 5 ft diameter tree must have been at least a hundred years old. We managed to climb through this pile of giant "pick-up-sticks" with our packs, but we were overawed by the destruction.

Thanks to CM Heard & Co. et. al. for all the trail clearing for the rest of the trip. Walking out Vicente Flat and up the Stone Ridge trail for a few miles. There is a great overlook on the north Hare Canyon ridge.

https://picasaweb.google.com/1074344567 ... anaTrip212
wilderwil
 

Re: Cone Peak Trail

Postby rt1 on Fri Dec 23, 2011 12:26 am

Date Hiked: December 22, 2011
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

Cone Peak Road to Cone Peak Lookout
Conditions remain unchanged from previous post
rt1
 
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Re: Cone Peak Trail

Postby C M Heard on Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:03 pm

Because the conditions vary so drastically on the non-Wilderness and Wilderness segments of the Cone Peak Trail, I am reporting the conditions on these segments separately.

Segment: Cone Peak Road to Cone Peak Lookout
Date Hiked: December 9, 2011
Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)

In late November firefighters from Monterey Crew 1 and from Engines 15 and 16 substantially improved the non-Wilderness segment of the trail in order to make it stock-pack passable. This was done so that new batteries could be packed up to the repeater housed in the lookout building, a mission that was originally scheduled to take place on December 2, 2011. The lower section was brushed out, a pile of fallen boulders was cleared, and the following section was widened by over a foot to allow adequate pannier pack clearance:

IMG_0078.JPG
Widened section of Cone Peak Trail

The wind event of Dec 1-2 resulted in some blowdowns and caused the packing mission to be postponed, but the fire crew came back the next week to clear the blowdowns (both from the trail and from the road), and the packing mission took place on December 9, 2011. Here is a photo of the mules returning from the lookout:

IMG_0014.JPG
Mules descending from the lookout after delivering new repeater batteries

Unfortunately, the remainder of the trail did not fare so well in the wind event.

Segment: Lookout Trail Junction to Trail Spring Camp
Date Hiked: December 9, 2011
Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

More than 60 trees of substantial size came down on the Wilderness segment of the trail during the recent wind event. Most of these were green firs or pines with little or no fire damage that were simply uprooted, and over half of them were 2' or more in diameter. In at least a half-dozen places there were enormous holes in the trail where a large tree just below the trail had been uprooted, and in some places multiple large trees were stacked on top of each other in jackstraw-pile fashion (two of the switchbacks were covered up by such piles). Here is an illustrative photo:

IMG_0051.JPG
Multiple uprooted trees on Wilderness segment of Cone Peak Trail

In rating this trail segment as merely difficult instead of impassable I am probably being generous. Granted, I was able to get through, but I was carrying only a day pack, and I doubt if I could have made it with a backpack — certainly not with the usual top-heavy expedition pack I carry when doing eight- to ten-day trail work trips. If you plan to travel between Trail Spring Camp and the Cone Peak Road, my recommendation would be to use the upper Gamboa Trail and the North Coast Ridge Trail; that route (as of this writing) is clear.

Mike Heard
C M Heard
 
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Re: Cone Peak Trail

Postby C M Heard on Sun Aug 28, 2011 4:44 pm

Date Hiked: August 20, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

We've fixed the additional washouts and we've done the tread widening that was needed about one mile from the Cone Peak Road, but the heavy brush near the Cone Peak Road still remains. However, I'm upgrading my assessment of the condition to "clear" since I'm able to hike in carrying a heavy backpack with a crosscut saw on it without any particular problems (apart from the usual issues one has with a heavily loaded pack :( ).

Mike Heard
C M Heard
 
Posts: 303
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Re: Cone Peak Trail

Postby C M Heard on Tue Jul 12, 2011 8:30 am

Date Hiked: June 11, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

All of the major obstacles have now been cleared -- in particular, the rockslide is gone, a rock wall has been constructed to fix the most difficult washout, some spot brushing has been done, and all of the blowdowns have been cleared from the Cone Peak Road to within about 1/3 mile of Trail Spring Camp. Within that last section there is one minor blowdown, easily stepped over, and some encroaching ceanothus. Those problems will be addressed in the near future, when I am based at Trail Spring Camp working on the Cone Peak Loop.

There is still significant encroaching brush on the lower end of the trail near the Cone Peak Road, and more washouts need to be fixed and some some tread work (widening) is needed near the area where the rockslide was cleared (about one mile from the Cone Peak Road). After the Cone Peak Road reopens I intend to schedule one or more Trail Crew trips to deal with those issues.

Mike Heard
C M Heard
 
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Re: Cone Peak Trail

Postby C M Heard on Fri Jun 03, 2011 6:13 pm

Date Hiked: May 31, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

I generally concur with Rob Yang's report from 2011-04-24. Specific observations:

From the Cone Peak Road to the lookout spur trail junction: I recorded four blowdowns at various locations on the trail, not negotiable by saddle or pack stock, but all fairly easy for hikers to get over, plus two washouts and a large rockslide, all concentrated in a short section ending at one of the rock walls that was constructed last year by the MRD trail crew. The washouts are not too hard for hikers to negotiate but will probably require rock walls to be permanently repaired. The rockslide is quite a mess, and folks with really heavy loads may find it a bit difficult to negotiate (though day hikers and folks with light packs should have no problem). It came down right on top of the existing rock wall, which nonetheless survived:

IMG_0151.JPG
Rock slide on the Cone Peak Trail between the Cone Peak Road and the lookout trail junction

From the lookout spur trail junction to Trail Spring Camp: I recorded one minor blowdown, easily stepped over, and one place where the ceanothus had been crushed over into to the trail (probably by snow) and needs to be cut back:

IMG_0157.JPG
Encroaching brush between the lookout trail junction and Trail Spring Camp

Since I need to get in to Trail Spring Camp with an expedition camp in order to continue work on the Cone Peak Loop, fixing these problems will be a priority for me.

Mike Heard
C M Heard
 
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Re: Cone Peak Trail

Postby ACC on Tue May 03, 2011 6:38 pm

Date Hiked: May 2, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Traveled this trail with ease. No obstacles, no downed trees, trail in great shape. Trail condition is great.
ACC
 

Re: Cone Peak Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Apr 24, 2011 7:56 pm

Date Hiked: April 24, 2011
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

From Trail Spring up to the Cone Peak Lookout - Clear. Trail was in great condition all the way up.

From the lookout down to Cone Peak Road : Passable; there were 3-4 blowdowns and a couple of slides.
Rob
 
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