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Horse Pasture Trail

Horse Pasture Trail Report

Postby Todd on Tue Jul 14, 2009 2:10 pm

Date Hiked: May 30, 2009
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

I have hiked this trail several times before and it is very beautiful. This year I failed to check in on the conditions and realized upon arrival that the fires of last winter had made trail conditions difficult. In addition, this area had only been reopened at the beginning of the month thus there was little tread indication. We hiked in from Arroyo Seco then along Marble Creek trail to Horse Pasture. Up until then, the trail was in good condition and very passable. Little evidence of fire damage also. Horse Pasture Trail from this point until the Tassajara cut off is in challenging condition. It appeared that at this point only one other person had hiked the trail as there were only one set of footprints through the grass. The trail disappeared at many points and we were fortunate to logic our way to the next indication of the trial. The fires and subsequent rains had washed out the trail and grass was growing in many spots where the trail had been. In fact, this was a clue to where the trail was as often there was more grass in the trail then not in the trail. There was also a fair amount of poison oak and a lot of burs making hiking uncomfortable if you do not have the right clothing. It seemed that the rain stopped early this year as the grass was dryer then usual and there were considerably more burs.

The trail should be in better condition now that more people have likely hiked it. There are flag markings at some points of the trail. Overall passable but not as beautiful as in prior years due to considerable less vegetation due to the fires.
Todd
 

Post-Fire Report

Postby Site Administrator on Mon May 25, 2009 4:59 pm

Date Hiked: May 3, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Conditions reported by: N. Nedeff

Specific:
Post-fire trail conditions are mostly clear from the trailhead at Tassajara Road to the junction with the connector trail into the Tassajara Creek drainage. There is no encroaching brush (all burned) and there are no deadfalls.

Flagging has been placed at stream crossings and key areas where the trail is obscured by lush herbaceous growth. The tread has been worked for the first quarter-mile. Spring flowers after the burn are absolutely stunning and sprouting tree and shrub crowns foretell of maintenance challenges in the next few years.
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Trail Conditions History 1999-2007

Postby Site Administrator on Mon May 25, 2009 4:57 pm

Date Hiked: April 29, 2007
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Conditions reported by: Lisel
Survey date: 29-APRIL-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Started at the Tassajara Cutoff Trail and continued south to the Marble Peak Trail. This trail was in better condition than we expected--and has wonderful views. There are some brushy areas, and areas where the tread is faint, but in general, easy to follow. No "waist high poison oak" to wade through as some of the guide books say, although it is abundant in the drainages, as are ticks right now.

There is some slumping and unstable tread along the exposed sections near the Tassajara Cutoff junction. I have to mention that someone did some good work shoring up a slide area that might otherwise have been impassable with rocks. Tricky spots include the last little overgrown drainage, where we left cairns: 1) trail continues down creek bed for a couple of yards and then crosses over to east side of creek; 2) a little further along on the west side of the creek, the trail suddenly disappears in a grassy flat spot when one is expecting it to go southeast down the drainage, but it actually takes a sudden jog uphill to the northwest and over a grassy ridge. From this ridge, you can actually see the sign marking the trail junction with the Marble Peak Trail. Dipping down to the creek crossing, one encounters a ford that requires wading--not specified in any guidebooks I have. Easy then to follow the trail southwest up the bank and to the Marble Creek trail junction.
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Conditions reported by: Eric Schrader
Survey date: 27-MAY-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:
Section:

I know Ventana has a lot of poison oak, but I was hoping that this trail so close to the Monastary would be maintained. The tread is in okay shape, although it is consistently narrow, and sometimes sloped. I had a hard time enjoying the trail though for dodging all the poison oak overgrowing it. I recommend that anyone who is allergic to poison oak, as most people are, wear long sleeves and bring both a stick and a pair of hedge clippers to beat back the poison oak for the next person as I attempted to do.
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Conditions reported by: Jacob Koff
Survey date: 7-APRIL-2005
General: IMPASSABLE (high water)
Specific:

We planned a round-trip from Arroyo Seco to Wildcat, Pine Ridge, Strawberry and back to Arroyo Seco. At the junction with the Marble Peak Trail, we found that Willow Creek was running so high that we would not risk trying to cross. At that point, Willow Creek was about chest high and running very fast.
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Conditions reported by: Dan Hafeman
Survey date: 28-NOV-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Marble Peak Trail junction to the Tassara Cutoff Trail

I did a day hike from the Marble Peak Trail cutoff to the Tassara Cutoff Trail just before Horse Pasture. I find this trail extremely interesting as it climbs out of the Tassara Canyon up a dry riverbed. It is steep in places and there is some poison oak but it could easily be avoided. There are some water holes, but one has to look for them. Best to fill water bottles at Tassajara Creek. You do have to climb over a couple of fallen trees and due to low use combined with heavy leaf fall, it is easy to lose the trail in places. But if you keep in mind where you are heading, you will easily relocate the trail. Once the trail reaches the first summit, it traverses around a steep brush covered mountain side before encountering the second summit where the Tassahara cutoff trail joins and where horse pasture begins shortly there after. There are two washouts that are of concern along this section especially for one carrying a pack. The first one, has a six inch trail cut through it with moderate exposure. The second one has about a three inch wide trail with steep rocky slopes both above and below the trail. There is significant exposure. It may become impassable after this winter's rains. Other than these two areas, I found the trail very delightful with the subtle peaceful atmosphere that permeates Ventana especially strong. I wish the forest service would have spent just a little of the money they invested in reopening "The Indians" road this summer on trail maintenance.
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Conditions reported by: Ryan Johnston
Survey date: 2-AUG-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Marble Peak Tr. junction north about 1 1/2 miles

Cool Hike. Follows along a dry river bed with riparian environment, and opens up at times to oak meadows. No water. Pretty steep at times but the trail varies a lot, so it's not to bad. Very thick vegetation, and lots of poison oak. Didn't look like it had any maintenance done on it for some time. Overall good though.

Actually I didn't reach as far as Tassajara Road. I started the trail at the junction from Marble Peak trail, and was actually hunting for Wild Boar. So .... I was finding very little sign and the sign that I did come across wasn't to recent, so I cut my losses and turned around just before the trail hit it's final ridge. I probably wasn't to far from the final junction to Tassajara. There was a lot of poison oak, luckily I am immune to it but my friend wasn't so lucky!! Happy Trails.

P.S. Very cool hike though, was well worth it.
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Conditions reported by: Eliece Horton
Survey date: 31-MAY-2003
General: DIFFICULT TO IMPASSABLE DUE TO PO.
Specific:

Section: Marble Peak Trail to south of Tassajara Cut-off

The Horse Pasture trail is difficult to distinguish with faint tread. It is extremely overgrown with waist deep POISON OAK and sticker bushes! Several miles in before the Tassajara Cut-off Trail, the Horse Pasture Trail becomes IMPASSABLE with Massive Overgrowth of Thick, Head High, POISON OAK. There is no way around or through the enormously dense POISON OAK Thicket. It seems as though THIS TRAIL HASN'T BEEN HIKED IN DECADES! ALSO at this time of year, SWARMING BITING FLYS are your constant companion along the entire route. I would highly recommend alerting all visitors to the condition of this heinous trail or lack of one.
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Conditions reported by: Ted Merrill
Survey date: 7-OCT-2002
General: CLEAR
Specific:

I found this entire trail in remarkably good shape and very enjoyable. Since the guide books don't seem to do it justice, here is my review of the trail in general:

The trail is at least partially shaded most of the way, especially in the morning.

From the Marble Peak trail (about a mile west of Horse Bridge) it crosses Tassajara/Willow Creek. There is a bench on the other side suitable for a few tents, in case you want to take the trail in the cool of the morning. The trail then ascends, steeply at times, about 1100 feet, mostly along a dry creek with a great mixture of riprarian and oak woodland habitats. At the summit, it switches to a near-contour cut on a steep chapparal-covered mountain side with a few slide-outs of the tread, but nothing really dangerous; then soon to another summit after which is a marked trail to the left (Tassajara Cutoff). The trail descends somewhat through thickets and then into grassy oak woodlands (the original horse pasture), then up some switchbacks over another summit and a gentle slope down to Tassajara Road.
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Conditions reported by: Nick Gasnier
Survey date: 22-APRIL-2002
General: PASSABLE to CLEAR
Specific:

Most overhanging obstructions are cleared on the Horse Pasture trail from the Arroyo Seco River northwards. Most of the lopping is done at the first half of the trail after the river, with some obstructions still remaining further down the trail.

Bugs aren't too bad yet , but the sun in already quite sweltering during the day and it's quite chilly overnight (almost freezing).
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Conditions reported by: Boon Hughey
Survey date: 2-APRIL-2002
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

I *really* like this trail! The terrain is wonderfully varied from streamside riparian to sidehill brushland to oak-studded meadowland, with all kinds of neat rock formations to wonder at along the way. The lowest couple of miles near the Marble Peak Trail are in great shape, then beyond that it gets just a little brushier until one crosses the oakey meadowish ridge (which is a major high point signalling the end of the first climb) and finally reaches the junction with the Tassajara Connector. But I carried a saw and some clippers and did some work along the way, although more is needed. Carry tools!

Beyond the connector junction the trail is in much better shape all the way to Tassajara Road, although water is scarce.
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Conditions reported by: Mark Kiehlbauch
Survey date: 29-MARCH-2002
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Lot's of p.oak. Tread is in pretty good shape and not too brushy, except in a few spots. There's a few places where trail is obscure for maybe 20 ft. but it's easy to pick up. Schaffer must have been having a bad day when he mapped this trail, I thought is was considerably nicer than he makes it sound. Not much water though.
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Conditions reported by: Oregon Dave
Survey date: 26-APRIL-2002
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

The horse pasture trail should probably be closed if it's not going to be maintained, it's in awful shape all the way up to the narrows junction, horrible poison oak, unavoidable in spots, dangerous hillside traverse area where i was literally scared of falling to my death, after narrows junction its not nearly as bad, and it's quite beautiful and parklike, but the section before narrows is most of the trail, and it is almost impassible!
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Conditions reported by: Jon Libby
Survey date: 28-MAY-99
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Trail is clear from Tassajara road to Tassajara Cut-off Trail. Four of us worked it last week and it is open and clear.

Please remember that Tassajara itself is private and reservations are required during the summer guest season. During the fall, winter and spring it is a cloistered monastery and is closed to the public.
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Horse Pasture Trail

Postby Site Administrator on Mon May 25, 2009 4:54 pm

* USFS trail #4E05
* Parking: Tassajara Road
* Watersheds: Tassajara Creek
* Junctions: Marble Peak Trail, Tassajara Cut-Off Trail
* Connects: Tassajara Road (near Church Creek Trail) with Marble Peak Trail
* Camps: None
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