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De Angulo Trail

Postby Site Administrator on Mon May 25, 2009 4:12 pm

Date Hiked: December 22, 2006
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Conditions reported by: EW
Survey date: 22-DECEMBER-2006
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Hwy 1 to trailhead - Wilderness Freeway

No need to describe the wide open obvious road that the DeAngulo follows at it's beginning, watch the signs and it's easy to stay on course.

Section: trailhead to Partington Ridge - Difficult

From a switchback, a sign points to the trail's start across grassy slopes. Quickly, the route circumvents some tall scrub (above seemed easiest) after which it appears that a landowner has bulldozed scrap wood down into the tread; still not too hard to follow, but as the trail joins a road cut and drops into a gulley, be sure to ascend the drainage and watch for flagging.

From here, sudden oak death has taken down many tanoaks and has effectively devastated the lower DeAngulo trail. Having hiked it a few times prior, I somewhat knew the route but still strayed off course, found Partington Ridge Road and joined the upper DeAngulo from a road cut spur near the last residence.

Section: Partington Ridge to Coast Ridge - Clear

In vivid contrast, the upper DeAngulo is in fine condition, very little encroaching brush, amazing views from the top.
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Conditions reported by: Will
Survey date: 18-DECEMBER-2006
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Multiple deadfalls and occasionally faint tread made this an interesting trail to try to follow. We managed to avoid getting lost, but a few wrong turns had us briefly scratching our heads.
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Conditions reported by: Ken Swegles
Survey date: 1-FEBRUARY2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Coast Highway to Coast Ridge Road - Clear

A local resident asked that next time we use the Separation Ridge Trail (Boronda Trail), because they no longer want hikers on Partington Ridge Road.

NOTE:

"The de Angulo trail has a legal, dedicated and recorded public easement under it for it's entire length from Highway One up to the Coast Ridge Road, so don't let the Partington folks dissuade you from using it. Jaime de Angulo himself gave the easement to the Forest Service before he died, as he wanted to make sure that the people could continue to access the backcountry."

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Conditions reported by: Ted Merrill
Survey date: 6-OCTOBER-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

The De Angulo route begins 0.9 miles south of Torres Canyon bridge on Highway 1, using a gated private road. The road is unmarked but is distinctive because it is off a pullout that has many small cactus by the pullout edge, with eucalyptus trees in the background. I left my car there for three days and worried about it the whole time; it was intact on my return apart from some graffiti written on the window with a sticky substance. A friendly person informed me as i was returning that the pullout is a school bus stop and it would be appreciated if i would use some other pullout.

Although the road ascends a very steep slope, it is never excessively steep; it zigzags up the mountain past several homes and has some great views. In about a mile it reaches a T intersection where one must go either right or left; turning right quickly proved a dead end so left is the correct direction. Further on reaches a four way intersection helpfully marked with a sign saying "trail" pointing to the uphill branch which you should take; remember this intersection for the way back, as the way you came (the most downhill road) also happens to be the least travelled (based on tread marks). Just a little further at a sharp switch back is a cairn and another "trail" sign and the real trail begins. The initial tread has been recently (re?)cut but is quite poor... perhaps the trail has been rerouted? ... it is easily followed however, and passes beneath a house under construction, with many felled trees littering the hillside.

The trail suddenly stops at the bottom of a dry stream bed and... yes, this is very odd... one follows the stream bed up for several hundred feet to where the possibly original trail is marked "private" on the right, and the trail you should follow is marked "trail" on the left. The ensuing zig and zag has a number of downed trees and bushes that one must get around. Be carefully on your way back not to miss the following switchback; there is a use trail that has been formed by people missing it and getting lost (including myself). I removed the branches from the dead tree that caused me to lose it, so hopefully you won't have this problem... i wish i had brought flagging with me. From here there are some more switchbacks and you cross a private trail (well marked with "trail" signs, and you continue on the most uphill trail), and then another similar one. The grade varies from level to reasonable to excessively steep and back again, and the tread is uncertain at times, but easily followed.

Although volunteers have clearly worked on the trail, there is a fair amount of pushing through vegetation. There are some great views which make it all worthwhile. Assuming that you take the final trail to the left and not the tractor trail that goes straight up, you come to the Coast Ridge Road opposite from an oak tree of very large girth but small branches which has a twisted wire hoop extending from the north side and a plastic squirrel in a cavity. Since the trail is basically invisible from the road, this is an important landmark. It is shortly north of the 9 mile marker and the tractor trail is shortly after the 9 mile marker. There are some great views from here in both directions.

Cold Spring Camp is just up the Coast Ridge Road (perhaps 1/2 mile, then 1/2 mile on side road) from the top of the De Angulo trail, and provides the only reliable water that you will find in this area. The turn off is well marked.
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Conditions reported by: EW
Survey date: 28-MAR-2004
General: CLEAR W/ DIFFICULT SECTION(S)
Specific:

Section: Hwy. 1 trailhead to Coast Ridge Road

As usual, the DeAngulo is somewhat difficult to follow- without the flags marking confusing turns and switch-backs, I would have lost it a few times in spite of having hiked it before. The DeAngulo begins as a gated dirt road south of the Torre Canyon Bridge, north of Partington Ridge Road. A stand of Eucalyptus and various succulent landscape plants are sure identifiers at it's head on Highway 1. Following the road, watch for trail-markers at a few crucial intersections to avoid entering private property. In about a mile, the trail proper begins at a major switchback in the road. Traversing across a steep meadow and through a stand of Bracken Ferns. Soon intermittent forest shades the trail which quickly intersects a bull-dozed road through Redwoods and Tan-oaks, many of which have been leveled (presumably due to the epidemic of Sudden Oak Death that plagues Torre Canyon) As the road traverses below a large geodesic dome, watch carefully for a steep gulch to your right- what looks like a use trail is the real thing, if you find yourself walking a steeply descending, newly-plowed road, turn back- you missed it. Climbing the gulch, flags become your best trail markers- what few signs the Forest Service have placed are often uselessly located. When the crest of Partington Ridge is finally attained the best part of the DeAngulo awaits- easy hiking through steep, flowery meadows and chaparral was a refreshing change from tricky route-finding below. Reaching a rocky and brushy flat with a view, you're presented with 2 options- a STEEP dozer grade climbs right, a gradual side-hill traverse climbs left. Either way you'll reach Coast Ridge Road in short order. Locating the top of the DeAngulo is easy- a ubiquitous black oak (Quercus kelloggii) with a protruding piece of cable and a small hollow (inhabited by a chipmunk yard ornament when we were there)stands across the road from the trailhead.
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Conditions reported by: Steve Wilson
Survey date: 20-MAR-2004
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Hwy. 1 trailhead to Coast Ridge

As previously noted, for years there were a number of downed trees on the section of trail between the "french broom" / "car junkyard" area and the obtuse switchback/gully area in the redwoods. More recent reports indicated that a large number of trees were recently felled across this section of trail, completely obliterating it and forcing hikers up to the driveway of the cabin above.

Someone has now sawed up all of the downed trees and cleared a very distinct trail/ATV road through the pile. Yes, the DeAngulo Trail has been reestablished as a wilderness freeway in this locale. I am a little concerned that some of the steeper sections with soft soil might be erosion prone. Perhaps the construction effort is not yet complete. A substantial amount of construction activity is continuing in the area, resulting in a new cabin within clear view of the trail.

I found that previous reports citing orange ribbons and signage accurate. However, in my numerous times hiking this trail I've only encountered one barking dog and the locals, when seen (which is rarely) were quite friendly. In fact, when I first went looking for the missing lower section, it was a local resident who informed me of the public hiking right of way on the road. I think the occasional No Trespassing sign is helpful in keeping one on track through the maze of trails. I also think orange flagging is appropriate for this trail as without it, one may easily unintentionally trespass.

One final note: The amount of oak leaf buildup on the steeper sections, especially towards the top, can make for some exciting sliding conditions. It helps to have a robust boot sole on these sections.
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Conditions reported by: Gary Auth
Survey date: 3-DEC-2003
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Hwy. 1 trailhead to Coast Ridge Road

This hike begins on what looks like a private road but is in fact a public right of way into the Ventana. After passing 3 or 4 private residences the road turns into a single track trail. For directions, see Karl Fieberling's report of 15 June, 2003.

The new information we have to add to Karl's report pertains to the damage done by a construction project about 1/2 to 3/4 of a mile after turning onto the single track. Several mature trees (estimated 25 to 30 ) on both sides of the trail have been cut down. No attempt has been made to clear the trail area of these felled trees. There was at least one redwood included in these downed trees!! As a result of this deforestation, hikers must climb on, over, under, around, and thru fallen tree trunks and foliage. Eventually, this debris field becomes so thick and convoluted that it is impossible to follow the trail and hikers are forced to climb up to and thru the private property, the owner of which, we presume, was responsible for the damage in the first place. Two workers informed us that ".....they're working on clearing the trail". No one was attempting to clear the trail on this day and we assume from the extensive nature of the damage, it will be some time before this trail is returned to its previously passable condition.

The remainder of the trail is clear to the ridge road although the faded orange ribbons are still visible and helpful on some switchbacks where it seems logical to go in two different directions.
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Conditions reported by: Karl Fieberling
Survey date: 15-JUNE-2003
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Hwy. 1 trailhead to Cold Spring Camp

I hiked up the DeAngulo to the top, spent the night at Cold springs, over to Anderson peak, then back down.

I previously hiked this trail about twenty years ago. Remarkably, it was in better shape back then. Too bad, because it's such a pretty area and the only trail into the wilderness from Big Sur to San Vicente. The trail follows a completely different route now. Go up the road from Hwy. 1, near mile marker 39, at the eucalyptus grove (The old trail is gone). There are no signs, and a generally unfriendly feeling from the locals, barking dogs, no trespassing signs and such, but no real confrontation. Stay to the left for about 1.5 miles until the mentioned 4-way split and take the middle route. After about a hundred feet at the first switch-back you come to a "Trail" sign leading off to the left. I followed this trail (with the help of a number of signs and orange ribbons) to the top. Be prepared to wade, push through and duck under poison oak, and other brush. Many deadfall, ticks etc... I pruned along the trail extensively, so it is now passable, but that will change very quickly. Please bring along a hand pruner and clip as you go, and help keep this trail open.
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Conditions reported by: Eddie Codel
Survey date: 17-MAY-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

I hiked the upper portion of this trail, from the yellow-lettered sign to the top of the ridge where it intersectes the Coast Ridge Road. As mentioned previously, the trail though the forest is still well marked with orange and blue flags. A few deadfalls here and there, but nothing impassable. I must have erroneously taken a game trail at some point, as I definitely ended up taking the hard, steep way up. I used Kelsey's GPS coords to reach the Coast Ridge Road trailhead, which appears to be right above some of the steepest portions of a rocky canyon. If you go this way, once reaching the top, I highly recommend following the Coast Ridge Road south a few hundred yards until you reach a long cleanly cut log marking a point on the right side of the road. You will pass the 9-mile marker (of the Coast Ridge Road) before reaching this point. From the log, you'll notice a well worn trail heading down across a rocky grade. This may actually be the real trailhead of DeAngulo at the Coast Ridge Road, as it intersects with a part of what I thought was the DeAngulo on my ascent. Suffice to say, the return trip was much easier, passing through the exposed rocky area, forest groves and open meadows. Beautiful views at many points along the way.
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Conditions reported by: Kelsey Jordahl
Survey date: 24-NOV-2002
General: DIFFICULT SECTIONS

As others have commented, this trail can be confusing and hard to follow. The flagging through the redwood canyons was adequate to follow the route. It's not clear that this is always on "the" correct trail. The top section is easier to follow and all of the junctions were labeled with what looked like forest service signs.

Some GPS waypoints I took of some of the locations discussed here:

-121.70386 36.18629 Highway 1 trailhead
-121.70359 36.19566 "Yellow lettered sign" where trail leaves the private road
-121.69662 36.21183 Coast Ridge Road trailhead (oak with twisted wire)

OR

36.18629 deg N, 121.70386 deg W - Highway 1 trailhead
36.19566 deg N, 121.70359 deg W - "Yellow lettered sign"
36.21183 deg N, 121.69662 deg W - Coast Ridge Road trailhead
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Conditions reported by: Bill Wiltschko
Survey date: 5-OCT-2002
General: CLEAR W/ NEW FLAGGING
Specific:

This is a good trail during the warm season, as it is both on the coast and largely shaded. The views are OK, but when done in a loop with the trail down from Timber Top, this trail gets you to spectacular views.

I second Boon Hughey's comment that Schaffer has the trail all wrong, but he has the Highway 1 trailhead exactly right with the reference to mile marker 39. There were no trail markers on the dirt road leading up from highway 1, although I've been told that I probably missed one on the upper part of the dirt road. There was a great deal of Pampas grass along the dirt road. Beautiful but non-native.

I found two points on the dirt road confusing. The Ventana Chapter guidebook thankfully describes the four-road junction, but there was also an earlier "T" junction, where you need to turn left. You should then see tin can lids as markers along the dirt road to the trail. At the beginning of the trail proper, there is now a "professional yellow-lettered" rather than "homemade pink-lettered" sign.

The trail is a little overgrown in places, and I brought a machete and folding saw to deal with it. The Machete was useless. Perhaps if it were razor-blade sharp it might work better. A better alternative would be pruning shears. The saw was marvelous on the medium-size stuff, from about a half inch to three inches in diameter. At one point, there are two large logs across the trail, two feet in diameter and one foot in diameter. Someone started to remove them, but apparently gave up after making some initial cuts. They could be finished off with a large ax (half hour), two man or bow saw.

I've been on this trail twice and got lost both times on the lower part. The trail is easy to lose where the fallen leaves are thick. Several colors of tape mark the trails occasionally, but they weren't ubiquitous enough. I flagged the trail frequently with orange tape, both going up and coming down, making corrections as necessary, since it wasn't always clear going up that I was on track. The most confusing spot was where there was a sharp switchback to the right going up out of a gully. At some point, it would make sense to go back and do a more detailed description of the lower trail. Then, even if the flagging was missing, we could still find our way.
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Conditions reported by: Eric Graham
Survey date: 02-SEPTEMBER-2001
General: PASSABLE W/ Difficult sections
Specific:

The beginning of this trail, after a climb up a dirt road past several cabins, is overgrown and pants are advised. Boon Hughey gives a good description of how to find the trail. The trail is difficult to follow in some parts and heavy leaf fall make it even more difficult to track. Sporadic ribbon markers help point out some switch backs that may be easy to miss. The upper half of the trail is very steep. After hiking a short ways up a fire break near the top, pay attention to the trail as it takes off to the left. If not, you hike all the way up the rocky fire break. It is difficult to climb and descend with a heavy pack. The elevation gain in some sections is very intense! If descending, a few short sections are difficult to get good traction on. Finding this trail from Coast Ridge Road is not easy as it is not marked and it doesn't stand out.
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Conditions reported by: Boon Hughey
Survey date: 5-FEB-2001
General: CLEAR but locally tricky
Specific:

The de Angulo trail is in better shape than it has been in years, with big thanks to some energetic volunteer(s) lopping off most of the encroaching brush and french broom along its entire length. But it can still be tricky to follow at times due to spotty signage and the at times indistict footbed through the forested areas. As Steve mentions below, pay attention at the switchbacks.

The trailhead at Highway 1 is completely unsigned as such, and in fact is posted with some rather misleading "private property" signs. The trail does indeed pass through some private property on a dirt road for the first mile or so, but it's totally legal for the public to do so due to legal easements and agreements between the Forest Service and local landowners. To find the trailhead, look for stand of eucalyptus trees on the east side of the highway about 1/2 a mile south of the Torre Canyon bridge. You park on the side of the highway here and hike up the gated road begins beneath the eucalypts. It'll pass by some cabins, then traverse the hillside with excellent views of the coast before coming to a junction beneath the cover of oaks. Bear left at this first junction. In short order it will come to another 4-way junction, where hikers should follow the upper road to the left, which was signed the last time I walked it. In about 100 yards the road comes to a tight switchback which is where the trail leaves it, next to a new hand=painted sign which may or may not stick around.
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Conditions reported by: Steve Wilson
Survey date: 12-MAY-2000
General: PASSABLE BUT LOCALLY SABOTAGED
Specific:

An update to Boon's report of last year. Someone/body has taken all of the blue flagging, save for two pieces. One piece of blue flagging can be found at the major road switchback which was the former site of the blue Subaru. I left a cairn there but it will undoubtably be knocked down again. Animal trails and century old lumber trails make picking out the correct route difficult. The trail is there, just look for it. If you feel you've lost it, you probably have, just backtrack and I bet you'll find it. Keep on the look out for obtuse switchbacks.
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Conditions reported by: Boon Hughey
Survey date: February 1999
General: PASSABLE BUT DIFFICULT TO FOLLOW
Specific:

There seems to be a good bit of confusion with regard to the currently official route of the de Angulo Trail. In my first edition of Schaffer, he has it almost all wrong. According to the USFS, the first mile and a half or so follows the dirt road rather than cutting across the steep slope as it once did. Where the trail leaves the road there is a sign, although its been obscured the last few years by a derelict blue Subaru wagon. It then traverses across a slope that is totally overgrown with sweet-peas in the spring, and is a good place to lose the trail that time of year. Stay low as you near the far side and you'll pick up the trail again when you enter the oak forest. Someone has flagged the route with blue tape recently, which makes it a lot easier to follow.

Invasive exotic french broom crowds the trail pretty tightly in places in this area, forcing those hiking it to pretty much feel their way blindly along the trailbed with their feet. Eventually, after passing a gully junkyard, the trail crosses through, over and around a mess of fallen trees and intentionally placed cut brush just below a homesite. Take heart, as from this point on the condition is much better. One great place to lose it (the trail) is when it drops into an obvious gully a short ways past the homesite. A misleading and erroneous use/game trail takes off immediately across the gully, while the REAL trail can be found by following the gully 30 yards uphill, then heading up the opposite side from the one you came down.

From this point on there are a good number of deadfalls and some encroaching brush in places, but nothing that really forces one to break one's stride. Pay close attention for small signs and flag tape, though, as it can get pretty confusing in places where a number of strange little mini-road cuts intersect the trail. Nearer the top someone has been working on the trail lately, cleaning up the tread and cutting back the brush.

Much further up, just past the first steep "chute" of a dozer cut, the real trail takes off to the left through some brush and traverses the hillside at a decent grade to intersect the Coast Ridge Road right across from the old trail down to Logwood Camp. Most folks seem to have forgotten this route, opting instead for the obscenely steep last leg of the dozer cut that continues straight up the mountain. Either way will get you there, I guess.

To find the trailhead from above, look for the thick-trunked black oak on the north side of the Coast Ridge Road that has a loop of twisted wire sticking out of its west side. Directly across from this tree the trail begins its gentle southeasterly traverse over to the spine of Partington Ridge.
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De Angulo Trail

Postby Site Administrator on Mon May 25, 2009 4:07 pm

* USFS trail #2E07
* Parking: Hwy 1 south of Torre Canyon
* Watersheds: Torre Canyon
* Junctions: Coast Ridge Road
* Connects: Hwy 1 with the Coast Ridge Road
* Camps: None
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