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Marble Peak Trail

Marble Peak Trail Clear to Tony Trail

Postby Betsy M on Wed Jan 13, 2010 12:46 am

Date Hiked: January 10, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The Marble Peak Trail is in excellent shape from the trailhead at the Arroyo Seco-Indians Road to the Tony Trail. The Forest Service has done a fine job of clearing out all the brush and trees, both from the fire and from whatever wind event broke a number of the standing dead alders that died during one of the recent dry summers. There is one small slide near the trailhead, but it is possible to climb up and over this, using steps someone has kicked into the dirt. In many places, a lot of attention and effort have gone into making the trail passable.
Marble Peak Trail Stock Steps.jpg

The sign at the trailhead has been replaced with a new plywood sign. When you drop down to the Arroyo Seco River, a sign points right, to the route of the Marble Peak Trail. If you are headed upstream to the water chute, this is where you turn left to get down to the Arroyo Seco River. The Horsebridge is a welcome sight around the next turn.
2010_01_09 Mbl_Pk_Tony 004.jpg
A new Ventana Wilderness boundary sign has been installed just past the River.
VW Sign.jpg
This oak was across the trail when I hiked here last summer. Someone has cleared it all away from the trail. Having such a wide trail, with the cut brush and trees well off of the trail, is really a treat.
Marble Peak Trail Cleared Oak.jpg
After you pass Tassajara Camp, the canyon walls close in and the trail crosses Willow Creek 14 times before you get to the Tony Trail junction. Plus there are a couple of side creeks that you cross. Not difficult at most times, and even during high water events, Willow Creek is not the formidable stream that Tassajara Creek becomes after significant rain. This section along Willow Creek has the dead alders, snapped off and strewn about like matchsticks.
Marble Peak Trail Alders.jpg
Amazingly, through all this devastation, the trail is completely passable. Judging from the previous trail report, a lot of these trees fell on the trail, and were removed by a work crew (thank you to whoever did that!)There is also a fine waterfall, with a good-sized pool at the base.
Marble Peak Trail Waterfall.jpg
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Marble Peak Trail

Postby runcyclegirl on Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:35 pm

Date Hiked: October 24, 2009
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

We hiked out from Arroyo Seco Campgrounds. Marble Peak Trail is fine appx 2 miles in but becomes very difficult as the trail parallels and crosses Willow Creek. Many trees along this corridor are snapped, halved in two. The creek and banks are clogged with this debris along with thorny bushes and boulders. We went as far as the Tony Trail junction. We were uncertain if the trail marker would be there but we were lucky and saw two- one next to the trail and a small sign posted high up on a large tree. Marble Peak Trail was very difficult to find under all the debris, but once spotted it was easy to follow. The damage looks recent, perhaps storm damage. It's quite impressive.
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Marble Peak Trail

Postby TRAILS on Mon Jun 08, 2009 4:00 pm

Date Hiked: June 4, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Reported by Steve B:

I worked with the Sequoia Trail Crew June 4 thru June 6 from Willow Springs Camp toward Strawberry Valley. We had a ten person crew and we were allowed to use chain saws. We were able to replace the tread past Camp Creek but the soil is very soft and still a little unstable from fire ravel, but we did find the tread. Once past Shovel Handle Creek we hit very heavy brush so we spent more effort clearing brush and only did minimal tread work. The trail from Arroyo Seco to Strawberry Valley is now clear and open. We did not have enough time to finish the trail to Strawberry Camp so we just cut a narrow path through the roses but that will grow back rapidly.
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Marble Peak Trail

Postby mikesplain on Tue Jun 02, 2009 12:44 pm

Date Hiked: June 1, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

sbenoit

The Marble Peak Trail is clear and in good condition all the way to Willow Springs Camp the trail is OK beyond Willow Springs until you get to Camp Creek. From Camp Creek toward Strawberry the tread is very poor and is a somewhat difficult side hill with overgrown bushy areas. A BAER trail crew will start work from Willow Creek and work toward Strawberry (and hopefully beyond) Wednesday June 3, 2009.
CAUTION! There is a large ground bee hive in the trail just before the wilderness boundary from Arroyo Seco at Horse Bridge. If you don’t want to get stung walk around the hive to the north, the hive is flagged as of this report.

Oh -- Flies are pretty bad – welcome to Los Padres.
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Marble Peak Trail

Postby mikesplain on Wed May 27, 2009 6:43 pm

Date Hiked: May 5, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

D. Dawson
Specific = With Willow Spring as my destination, I hiked out from Arroyo Seco Campground, going South on Indians Road to the Marble Peak trailhead. This section was Wilderness Freeway. Last year's rock fall that had obstructed the road has since been cleared and overall the road was in some of the best condition I've seen it. Generally the Marble Peak Trail was in good shape and had obviously seen recent work, but there are a couple obstacles for hikers to be aware of. First, there is a massive bee colony in the middle of the trail just beyond Horsebridge and before the Ventana Wilderness sign. Those allergic to bees should avoid this section. Second, beyond the Tony trail junction there are a couple of deadfalls and the trail travels through thick undergrowth, making the going slow. The canyon is, as always, awash in poison oak. Some of the leaves I saw were as big as my hand. Besides some blackened trunks, there is minimal fire damage along this trail, especially
considering the moonscapes of the surrounding mountains. Willow Spring camp is lovely as ever, but there is a very real risk of someone being injured by a widowmaker. The branches there are massive, blackened, and caution is needed when camping beneath them. The creeks and springs are all running well, and the flies and mosquitoes are the worst they've been in years. 100% DEET was completely ineffective. It's blistering out there and the bugs are hungry. Plan accordingly
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Postby dknapp1 on Wed May 27, 2009 11:42 am

Date Hiked: May 23, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

JD
We set-out from the Arroyo Seco Campground, headed down the Indians Road to the Marble Peak trailhead. Overall the Marble Peak Trail was Passable. There is a bee colony on the trail just before the Ventana Wilderness sign. Poison oak is abundant, I suggest long pants and long sleeved shirt if you have bad poison oak reactions.

The trail starts to become difficult to follow just past the waterfall; we lost the trail several times and actually gave up and set-up camp before making it to the Willow Spring camp.

In the afternoon the mosquitoes were bad but not nearly as bad as the gnats, it made for a pretty annoying hike.
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Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 10:32 am

Date Hiked: May 15, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Conditions reported by: D. Dawson
Survey date: May 2009
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

With Willow Spring as my destination, I hiked out from Arroyo Seco Campground, going South on Indians Road to the Marble Peak trailhead. This section was Wilderness Freeway.

Last year's rock fall that had obstructed the road has since been cleared and overall the road was in some of the best condition I've seen it.

Generally the Marble Peak Trail was in good shape and had obviously seen recent work, but there are a couple obstacles for hikers to be aware of.

First, there is a massive bee colony in the middle of the trail just beyond Horsebridge and before the Ventana Wilderness sign. Those allergic to bees should avoid this section.

Second, beyond the Tony trail junction there are a couple of deadfalls and the trail travels through thick undergrowth, making the going slow. The canyon is, as always, awash in poison oak. Some of the leaves I saw were as big as my hand.

Besides some blackened trunks, there is minimal fire damage along this trail, especially considering the moonscapes of the surrounding mountains. Willow Spring camp is lovely as ever, but there is a very real risk of someone being injured by a widowmaker.

The branches there are massive, blackened, and caution is needed when camping beneath them. The creeks and springs are all running well, and the flies and mosquitoes are the worst they've been in years.

100% DEET was completely ineffective. It's blistering out there and the bugs are hungry. Plan accordingly.
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Trail Conditions History 2001-2008

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 10:30 am

Date Hiked: May 25, 2008
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

==========
Conditions reported by: Betsy MacGowan
Survey date: 26-MAY-2008
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

From the junction with the South Fork Trail in Strawberry Valley, to the junction with the Tony Trail, the Marble Peak Trail is brushy, the tread is sloped and deteriorated in many, many places, and there is lots of small and large deadfall. The poison oak component of the offending brush is significant.

In a couple of places, large composites of dead trees, dead brush, and living plant material, have collapsed into the trail. Some energetic kind hikers have clipped bypass routes around or under these messes. When I was hiking out, I caught up with a couple who were doing the same loop as I. The woman asked whether I had crawled under or climbed up and above the most recent obstacle. I hadn't even noticed the up above option until I was crawling out the far side of the 30 foot tunnel. (Same as her, though her friend saw the up above route.) The next dramatic obstacle of this nature featured what looked like a pure stand of poison oak, complete with vines more than an inch in diameter, huge masses of foliage, and some kind of dead woody matter. I was somehow all collapsed in the trail, completely blocking it. This time there was no crawl under option, just a nice drop down below route. Problem with the bypass was that it, too, was festooned with PO garlands.

Not really a huge issue though. There is so incredibly much poison oak between the top of the ridge above Willow Springs and the Tony Trail, you are just wading through the stuff by the time you get to the Tony Trail. I didn't see any point trying to not touch it after a while, just assumed the outside of all my clothes was contaminated.

============================

Conditions reported by: Patti
Survey date: 25-MAY-2008
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Very brushy, lots of dead tree fall, some areas of the trail are very sloped and have land slide issues...in need of serious repair. Otherwise beautiful by the Willow Springs camp area.
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Conditions reported by: Trog
Survey date: 24-MAY-2008
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Specific Section: Indian Road to Tassajara Camp - Wilderness Freeway

Section: Tassajara Camp to Willow Springs

Within this stretch lies an ocean of poison oak. At some points it covers the trail completely, at others it hangs overhead or blends in with its fellow green plants, invariably flanking the trail for miles at a time. There is absolutely no way to avoid direct contact with it. If you are worried about poison oak this trail should be avoided. This is what earned it a difficult rating from me. The tread is just fine and very little brush aside from the p. oak. Several stream crossings slow things down a little but not much as the flow of water is relatively low and mild.

Section: Willow Springs to Camp Creek - CLEAR

Section: Camp Creek to Strawberry - Difficult

The Ridge through this part is substantially overgrown with brush and littered with deadfall (at least half of which have been sawed through - thank you!). The tread remains in tact most of the way but for a couple of precariously placed soft spots. Strawberry Valley is brushy as well. Overall a good deal of bulldozing through brush and hopping deadfall prompted my rating of difficult though it could be argued down to passable I suppose.

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Conditions reported by: Otis
Survey date: 14-MAY-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Indians Road to Strawberry Camp - Passable

The tread is easy to follow but once you pass Willow Spring Camp the trail gets a bit over grown with a few downed trees and brush. The creeks are all flowing well and there is a great swimming spot at Tassajara Creek Camp.
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Conditions reported by: Eric
Survey date: 9-MAY-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Indians Road to Willow Spring Camp - Passable

We started hiking from the parking lot at Arroyo Seco to Willow Spring camp. Overall the trail is pretty easy in terms of elevation gain but there were a few obstacles. First the trail crosses the creek several times which wasn’t too bad but slows things down a little bit. The second thing that made the trail challenging was the fact that the dominant ground cover for the entire trail is poison oak. It surrounds the trail, covers the trail and sometimes hangs at head level over the trail. Amazingly though only one person out of six of us showed signs of poison oak the day after we hiked out. Once we stopped at Willow Spring camp there was lots of space and water but there were lots of flies and mosquitoes to welcome us.
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Conditions reported by: Dave Nelson
Survey date: 5-MAY-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Coast Ridge Road to Indian Valley - Passable

Not too bad. someone had chainsawed some snags near the top. Some brushy manzanita areas as usual.

Section: Indian Valley to Strawberry Junction - Passable

On to tan oak was typical with offslope tread and overhanging brush. The grade is usually quite uniform so if one doesn't try to go up or downhill too radically, you'll probably be on the trail.

Section: Strawberry Junction to Camp Creek - Passable

Pretty poor, considering how much work the VWA put into it about 4 years ago. 2008 winds and snow caused lots of overhangs to collapse and what didn't collapse just overhangs the trail - you'll be pushing your way through chamise. Fortunately for us, someone had been through before and sawed up the worst of it. There are still one or two bunny crawls.

Section: Camp Creek to Willow Spring Camp - Passable

After the saddle above Willow Springs it's clear sailing. (this didn't burn in '99)
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Conditions reported by: Dave Halligan
Survey date: 13-MARCH-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Arroyo Seco-Indians Road to Willow Spring Camp - Clear

Section: Willow Springs Camp to Indian Valley - Passable

Passable, with encroaching brush and a few large deadfalls. Someone had recently been through this section and had done a lot of work clearing out the brush. Many thanks to whoever this was!

At Indian Valley the ground has been badly torn-up by the wild pigs and the tread has disappeared for a distance of about 25 meters. However, if one just heads directly across Higgins Creek the trail will be picked up where it heads through an obvious cleared opening in the brush.

Section: Indian Valley to the Coast Ridge Road - Difficult

Numerous large deadfalls in this section. We used our loppers and cleared some of it, but we were limited in what we could do because we'd left the saw at home.
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Conditions reported by: Zensen Steve Kent
Survey date: 10-SEPTEMBER-2007
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Strawberry Camp to South Fork Trail - Wilderness Freeway

At the junction there is a LPNF sign with arrows and mileages to South Fork and Rainow Camps. There are also two hand painted signs, falling apart, one pointing to Tan Oak Camp (which is probably the closest water source), the other (barely visible and in pieces on the ground) says Arroyo Seco and points up the hill to the east. This is the Marble Peak Trail.

Section: South Fork Trail to Camp Creek - Difficult to Impassable

Deadfalls, overhangs, encroaching brush, washed out tread, poison oak, you name it, this trail has it. It was a 2 hour 20 minute brutal battle to get to Camp Creek. There was a little trickle of water at Shovel Handle Crrek and Camp Creek is running a little as well. Camp Creek is a nice spot to camp. Might be room for 2 tents. The sun didn't come over the hillside until about 10:30 a.m., so there were no bugs all morning.

Section: Camp Creek to Tony Trail - Passable

There are sections with downfalls, overhangs, poison oak, and tread washouts. I was on my hands and knees, crawling more than once, so I would categorize this section as PASSABLE. There are no signs marking Willow Springs Camp I could see, but it's fairly obvious. Wide open space, some fire rings. From Willow Springs it's a very short distance to the Tony Trail Junction and is WILDERNESS FREEWAY. There is an LPNF sign which reads, Tony Trail Tassajara 3 miles, on the creekside (north) of the trail, in front of a tree, facing east. As I came down the trail, from the west, the sign was blocked by the tree. There is a small wooden sign on another tree, close to the creek, which reads, Tony Trail, with an arrow pointing across the creek. there is an unofficial campsite here amongst a thicket of poison oak. The poison oak is everywhere, but not uncomfortably so. Willow Creek was running.
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Conditions reported by: David Luke
Survey date: 19-MAY-2007
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Tony Trail to Camp Creek - Difficult

Not bad from our starting point of the Tassajara Monestary, on the Tony Trail, south over the ridge to the Marble Creek Trail along Willow Creek. Unfortunetly, the creek greeted us with overgrown poison oak in many spots, and even though I used a wood saw to hack my way through, it was impossible to avoid (I came down with pretty bad case). Continued west to the saddle and onward to Camp and Shovel Handle canyons, but had to turn back as the brush was getting thick along with fallen trees here and there. We were also concerned about doing a loop over the next two days (along the Black Cone Trail and the Pine Ridge Trail back to the Monastery). So we camped at Camp Creek and enjoyed the Monarch butterflies and the bloodsucking flies (though they disappeared as soon as the sun went down), and hiked out the next day.
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Conditions reported by: Steve S.
Survey date: 19-MAY-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Strawberry Camp to Tan Oak Camp - Clear

Section: Tan Oak Camp to Indian Valley - Passable

Fairly overgrown and brushy.
===========
Conditions reported by: Greg M
Survey date: 28-DECEMBER-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

General: The condition of the Marble Peak Trail is passable. However, the conditions change often as the trail progresses up Willow Creek and beyond. This trail report reflects an Arroyo Seco starting point up to the Lost Valley Trail junction.

Section: Arroyo Seco to Willow Springs Camp - Wilderness Freeway

As long as the Willow Creek is not running too high, this stretch of the trail is easy to follow with good tread, no deadfalls, and a real joy to walk. The many stream crossings before Willow Springs Camp are easily hoppable for the most part (Check water levels first!). This trail is notorious for heavy poison oak, and even though most leaves are gone in winter, beware the leaveless tendrils alongside the trail that slap at hands and face. Boy, is this stuff going to grow back with a vengeance in spring!

Tassajara Creek Camp is just so-so. Willow Springs Camp is much nicer, with no trash on this trip, fire ring and stove intact, and clear, refreshing Willow Creek running alongside camp.

Section: Willow Springs Camp to South Fork Trail - Clear to Difficult

After Willow Springs Camp is where the real work begins, with the trail climbing steadily to the saddle separating the Willow Creek and Zig-Zag Creek drainages. The trail gets progressively brushier, ranging from clear to passable. The problem spots that warrant a difficult rating are the Camp Creek and Shovel Handle Creek valleys. Recent storms have downed many trees in both of these canyons, and were it not for some good soul providing some recent excellent pruning and saw work, this trail would be impassable at these spots. As it were, there were many times climbing through a tangle of branches, sometimes lying flat on my stomach to try to squeeze underneath the mess.

Camp Creek acually has an intact stove and fire ring with a flat space for one tent. It's a viewless, small, and certainly cold camp this time of year, but it would work in a pinch, provided the creek is not flooding.

Section: South Fork Trail to Lost Valley Trail - Passable

Concerns about the bad trail condition of this section never materialized: it was fairly straightforward and in pretty good shape. Being an old tractor trail, the girth of the cut is wide enough that, despite areas of encroaching brush, the trail was never in doubt. Again, the trail conditions would pass from clear to passable, with a couple of downed trees providing difficult areas. There are not nearly as many downed trees here as there are in Camp and Shovel Handle, but there's a couple to keep things interesting. And again, some decent trail shepherd was hard at work pruning and sawing many problem spots. Thanks, whoever you are!

Once you climb out of Tan Oak Canyon onto the saddle, the views into Indian and Lost Valleys open up beautifully. On the downward slope into Indian Valley, watch for heavy burn areas where there is faint tread on sloping, slipping ground. Chaparral dominates the brush here, with the trail being very passable, yet sometimes quite brushy. The Marble Peak/Lost Valley trail junction is signed.

I walked right by Tan Oak Camp and never saw it. I found myself climbing Tan Oak Canyon and suddenly wondering, "Which way did it go? Which way did it go?" An unofficial camp is at the Lost Valley Trail junction (an official camp used to be here 'way back when'), but water could be unreliable in drier months. The small stream was flowing on this day, though.

Conclusion: the first half of the Marble Peak Trail is an excellent introduction to the Ventana because of easy access into and out of Arroyo Seco, relatively secure parking ($5/night), an easy grade up the Willow Creek, and a trail in excellent condition to one of the prettiest camps in Ventana, Willow Springs. After this point, though, the trail is much tougher, and novices will be turned away by all the downed trees, which would have rendered the trail impassable to all were it not for the recent, extensive pruning and sawing.
===========
Conditions reported by: Josue Vaglienty
Survey date: 2-SEPTEMBER-2006
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

There was extensive brush between Tan Oak Camp and Indian Valley along this trail which made it very uncomfortable if you are only wearing shorts. Some erosion along the trail made it for some delicate scrambling. No water at Tan Oak Camp although our hiking guide book told us otherwise. The last uphill stretch to reach Marble Peak is difficult to identify in Indian Valley but it's flagged. Otherwise the views are nice and it's perfect for anyone looking for an isolated and tranquil hiking trail.
===========
Conditions reported by: Boy Scout Troop 60
Survey date: 26-JUNE-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Horse Bridge to Strawberry Camp - Passable/Difficult

The first 6 or 7 miles of this trail is open and generally good except for a fair amount of poison oak. Willow Springs Camp was clean and open and Willow Creek was running well. From here the trail ascends up to a fairly level course that would be great if not for some encroaching brush and a few deadfalls. We encountred a fair amount of deadfalls in the canyons where Camp and Shovel Handle creeks flow, which made the going slow. Both Camp and Shovel Handle were flowing well. The trail is generally pretty brushy and could use some work, we did some trimming and cutting, but didn't make much of a dent. The descent to the trail junction in Strawberry Valley is again pretty brushy, but well signed. Strawberry Camp is not well used but can accomodate a few tents and offers a primitive table, the small creek that runs by the camp was flowing.
===========
Conditions reported by: Ken Swegles
Survey date: 5-JUNE-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

The trail was vey well tread with barely any deadfalls, although the ticks and rattlesnakes are frequent. There is plenty is water in Shovelhandle Camp, and Willow Creek. Lots of flys and mosqiutos this time of year so be prepared to enjoy them thoroughly. Willow Springs is excellent, drank straight from the streams and felt more alive. From Strawberry to the Tony Trail it is really easy and highly recommended.
===========
Conditions reported by: Betsy MacGowan
Survey date: 29-MAY-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Tony Trail junction to the top of the ridge above Willow Springs Camp - Passable

The trail is generally fine, the tread is not bad, and the brush isn't bad either. What is either annoying or disastrous depending on your feelings about poison oak, is the incredible thickets you must walk through. Especially down in the environs of Willow Creek, the poison oak grows in a variety of forms: ground cover, bushes, vines growing 30 feet up into trees, and individual stems growing 6 feet straight out into the path from both sides at once. Section: Ridge above Willow Springs Camp to Strawberry Valley and junction with the South Fork Trail - Passable

The trail mostly contours in and out for miles, and is generally a nice hike. The brush is getting bad, and in some places where it has grown out into the trail, hikers have stepped down to avoid it, creating big slumps in the tread. There are some fallen trees also causing tread disruption. Generally you may be pushing through brush that is taller than your head in many places, although it is the flat leaf ceanothus, not the sticky variety, so it won't drive you crazy.
===========
Conditions reported by: Greg Minter
Survey date: 29-MAY-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Strawberry Camp to Tony Trail - Passable

Some heavy brush leaving Strawberry Valley, but clears pretty well after that. A few deadfalls-one to crawl under, several to climb over. Lots, and I mean lots, of poison oak along Willow Creek. Many dangling vines to slap you in the face. Willow Creek was flowing strong and clear. Willow Springs Camp is one of the most beautiful camps in Ventana- very open and inviting.
===========
Conditions reported by: Jon Benner
Survey date: 28-MARCH-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Strawberry Camp to the divide above the Willow Creek drainage - Passable

The trail is in passable condition, with some brush and recent deadfall, particularly in a few of the canyons through which the trail contours. The tread is evident and the footbed is generally fine.

Section: from the divide above Willow Creek out to the Indians Road - Clear

The trail is clear and in great shape - no major obstacles.
===========
Conditions reported by: John Yeo (email: j at colluvium dot org)
Survey date: 23-MARCH-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Strawberry to the North Coast Ridge Road - Passable

The trail is generally clear with some encroaching brush, mostly when decending into Indian Valley from Strawberry. The tread is eroding towards Indian Valley. The trail to the Coast Ridge Road is a little tricky to find from Indian Valley, but it is clear and pretty brush-free.

===========
Conditions reported by: Melissa Summers
Survey date: 20-MARCH-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Horse Bridge to Willow Creek Camp - Clear

We encountered just a couple of small deadfalls and brush encroachment, otherwise, wilderness freeway. Expect to get wet in the numerous stream crossings between Tassajara and Willow this time of year.

Section: Willow Creek Camp to Strawberry Camp Junction: Passable

Someone just a day or two before us did quite a bit of clipping, and we broke out our clippers and hand saw as well for numerous fresh saplings leaning across the trail. There are a few deadfalls requiring a crosscut saw--nothing that couldn't be scrambled under/over, although there is significant erosion occuring around a few of these. The tread is sliding away here and there along this section, and may need attention in a year or two but is not a problem at present. I wouldn't take this trail this spring/summer/fall without a trusty pair of clippers--it's going to be brushy.

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Conditions reported by: Ted Merrill
Survey date: 5-OCTOBER-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: South Fork Trail to Coast Ridge Road - Passable

There is a lot of pushing through vegetation, but shoving is not required. It has a fair share of toppled dead ceanothus that encroach on the trail from above; particularly a problem for taller people. About a half mile before reaching Indian Valley, the dangerous slid out area that I fixed 2-1/2 years ago was as bad as ever; the folding camp shovel that i brought with me quickly fixed it to my satisfaction, although i doubt the fix will last for long. If you are, like me, less than entirely nimble, you would well advised to bring along a shovel specifically for this small portion of the trail. There is no water in the fall in Indian Valley. I made a day hike down the Lost Valley trail to find water that was supposed to (according to my oldish Sierra Club Ventana guide book) have reliable water, but had to settle for some really yucky stagnent water that i was able to find in the most shaded, deepest dried out pool... I wish I had brought more water from Strawberry Camp.

From the signed junction at Indian Valley, one takes the trail to the north (which quickly curves to the west) and not the use trail which goes directly west. The first part of the trail involves some pushing through vegetation, but once on the main slope of the Coast Ridge and under the shady forest, the trail is in very good shape and the top is quickly reached. Near the top there is a trail that branches to the south of the peak; it appears fairly overgrown and is easily missed. To reach the top of Marble Peak, i advise taking the obvious north branch, and at the saddle, make your way up hill following use trails until the top is reached... a splendid view, although I didn't have time to check it out this time.
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Conditions reported by: Matthew Dennis
Survey date: 14-JUNE-2005
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Horse Bridge to Willow Creek Camp - Clear

Our group encountered minimal deadfalls or overgrowth in this section. The few deadfalls were easily cut and stomped down. The real obstacle here was the extreme encroachment of poison oak. Most of the trail from Tassajara Camp through to Willow Creek Camp was a series of ankle biters and shoulder high reaches of the stuff. This has been a 'high growth year' for everything including poison oak. Gaiters and a full supply of TecNu would be in order along this trail. Willow Creek Camp is open (desperately in need of a new picnic bench) and nearly free of the stuff. There are a few places to watch out for along the creek though. Even when leaving the camp the poison oak will keep you busy for at least another mile west.

Section: Willow Creek Camp to Strawberry Camp - Clear

There were a few more deadfalls, which were cut, and more large trees, which were too large to saw apart, from the top of the canyon through to Strawberry Camp. Nice to see that Camp Creek has been expanded. There is still a lot of work to do along that portion of trail though. One bonus of our trip were the Yucca plants in full bloom. It was one of the most spectacular sights along this trail.
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Conditions reported by: Ery Arias-Castro
Survey date: 20-MAY-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Willow Springs Camp to Strawberry Camp junction: Passable

When the trail cuts through chaparral, the trail is pretty eroded and overgrown.
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Conditions reported by: Rob Yang
Survey date: 10-APRIL-2005
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Lost Valley Trail junction to Coast Ridge Trail

I didn't have much difficulty following the trail to the Coast Ridge. There was some thick brush near the junction with Indian Valley Camp, but by now it may have been trimmed back (met some volunteers on the way).

I didn't encounter the fork that went south, but maybe I just missed it (though I did see the junction off the Coast Ridge for it). Anyway, when I got to near the top I headed up the well-worn use trail on the west side of Marble Peak and marvelled at the 360-degree views.

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Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers - Stevenson Wilderness Program
Survey date: 8-MARCH-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Horse Bridge to Strawberry Creek (Passable)

From Horse Bridge, the trail is passable with lots of crossings of Willow Creek which are wet at this time of year. Lots of poison oak around Willow Springs Camp, but the main campground is clear and inviting. To the top of the ridge above Willow Springs Camp, the primary obstacle is poison oak growing across the trail; the footbed is clear and there are no significant obstacles. On the other side, and continuing to the Strawberry Camp Junction, we cleared numerous fallen trees and cut brush. Some obstacles remain that we could not clear, but all can be negotiated with some effort. These are mostly in the narrow canyons to the north of the trail.

Section: Strawberry Creek to Indian Valley (Passable)

From Strawberry Creek, the brush is not significant; we clipped it to the top of the ridge above Indian Valley. Downward, the route is alternatively open and brushy, but it remains a clear route. In the bottom quarter of the descent, several sections of footbed have worn away and all that remain are kicked-in foot marks to prevent sliding down the hillside. This condition has been present for many years, however, and is no worse now than before.

Section: Indian Valley to Coast Ridge Road (Clear)

From Indian Valley Junction to the Coast Ridge Road is clear, thanks to nameless volunteers.
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Conditions reported by: Greg Meyer
Survey date: 5-MARCH-2005
General: CLEAR
Specific:

We hiked the Marble Peak trail from the Arroyo Seco Road. I was surprized by the amount of garbage in the camps along Willow Creek. It was depressing. I packed out two old wet sleeping bags from the camp about 1/2 mile before Tassajara Camp plus assorted other debris from the firepit. Willow Camp was also well "used" with gunny sacks, a pillow and other trash. The trail was in fine "Ventana" condition so I got to wondering where the garbage was coming from. Backcountry agriculture? Big groups in the summer? With all the great places to hike in the Santa Lucias, I won't be back to this trail soon. On the good side, the highlights included a wide array of fungi and huge fields of shooting stars and other wildflowers.
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Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers - Stevenson Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: 06-MAR-2004
General: PASSALBE
Specific:

Section: Stawberry Camp west to Coast Ridge Road

From Strawberry along the creek to Tan Oak Camp, the trail is mostly clear but a few use trails make it hard to determine which side of the stream is the correct trail. From Tan Oak up to the top of the ridge the trail is mainly clear. We cleared a good deal of the encroaching brush on the trail down to Indian Valley, but not all of it. There are no detours or downed timber, but legs and arms will take a beating.

Indian Valley at the junction with the trail up Higgens Creek is heavily rooted up by boar. A few spots at the northwestern end are still smooth and there is water there sufficient for camping. The trail down Higgens Creek to the junction to Indian Valley Camp proper is clear but full of poison oak. Indian Valley Camp has not been visited by boar yet. We cleared and flagged the trail from the main Marble Peak Trail down into Indian Valley. The trail up to the Coast Ridge Road has received significant work and is a nice climb, certainly more shaded than the Lost Valley Connector.
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Conditions reported by: Eric Brazil
Survey date: 2-APR-2004
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

The trail from old Indian Valley camp to the crest of the ridge leading down to Tan Oak camp and Strawberry Valley is perfectly awful. The brush was so thick in places that it was a real bother to shoulder through it. In some exposed sections, the tread had worn away to nothing. We were showered with ticks, and five of the little beggars drew blood.

From the crest all the way to Horse Bridge on the main stem of the Arroyo Seco River, the trail was in fine shape, although one campsite between Strawberry Valley and Willow Springs had been obliterated by a falling tree. Some of the hills were blue with blossoming ceanothus. The Strawberry Valley, Willow Springs and Tassajara campgrounds were clean as a pin. Only the latter was occupied. The several creek crossings were easy to negotiate by rock hopping.

In 58 years of backpacking in the Ventana Wilderness Area I've never seen the country looking more lovely. I am troubled, though, by the absence of deer. Maybe I just wasn't looking in the right places. Maybe they've all migrated to Carmel Valley and Corral de Tierra to feed on flowers and fruit trees. But I also wonder whether meat hunters from the Central Valley have decimated the deer population. An encounter three years ago at Goat Camp with a large party of armed hunters who said they were after squirrels -- with 30-30s? -- made me suspicious.
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Conditions reported by: Robert Milby
Survey date: 27-FEB-2004
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Marble Peak Trailhead (@ Horse Bridge) to Willow Springs Camp

This was a weekend hike to Willow Springs Camp. The rain in the last 2 weeks made the 12 creek crossings somewhat more than a rock hop, but never dangerous. There is at least one fall across the trail (in the ravine): we scrambled over it. Along the creek the ground was wet and spongy, but we never found it muddy. The camp is in good condition, the table remains, but is now a platform 1 foot off the ground. We hiked west and found no problems 1.25 mi. from Willow Springs Camp - up to 2875'- our turn back point.

As a side note, we night hiked the Arroyo Seco Road from the parking area to the Marble Peak Trailhead and set up our tents in the road at that point. The next day we discovered 2 usable camping areas on Marble Peak Trail that we will use if we hike in again after dark. The first is about .5 mile from the trail head, just after the suspension bridge (at the official forest sign). The second is marked by a sign that says "Marble Peak Trail Head 1.5 miles". Beyond that the trail descends to the creek crossings, which I would attempt after dark only when the creek had little flow.
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Conditions reported by: Rich Popchak
Survey date: 16-FEB-2004
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Strawberry Camp to Tony's Trail

We woke up to a steady rain at Strawberry camp and I took comfort in the fact that the Marble Peak trail was cleared for pack stock in '03. The water covered encroaching brush below Strawberry camp however, quickly soaked me to the bone.

The Marble Peak trail has gone from "Clear" to "Passable" only because there are five or six deadfalls in the stretch starting about a half-mile before Shovel Handle Creek and ending a mile or two past Camp Creek. A crew with a few bow saws could clear most of these with ease ... but we were focused on getting out of the wind-swept rain ... and crawling through the deadfalls only drenched us more.

I observed ancient rock water bars working to perfection as we began the descent towards Willow Creek Camp. All in all, there is little encroaching brush to worry about at this time ... mainly bay tree limbs as you hike in and out of the drainages. The Marble Peak trail will be clear again once those deadfalls are eliminated.
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Conditions reported by: Rick Johnson
Survey date: 23-JUNE-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Lost Valley Trail junction to Strawberry Camp

This was one of the better segments (Lost Valley Tr. Jct. to Strawberry) of our 50 mile hike. Nice grade up from the junction made the bush wacking bearable. Great view from the top. Trail down to Tan Oak had less brush and downfall. Tan Oak has no shade and is in the middle of the trail. The topo map has the camp misplaced ... its more towards Strawberry. The signed distances from the junction to Strawberry and between Strawberry and Tan Oak are too long. (ED. note: There is nothing left at the original location of Tan Oak Camp. No table, stove, or fire ring(s). More recently, groups have created a camp with large fire ring near the junction of trail to Strawberry Camp.) We stopped for lunch at Strawberry, one enormous oak provided welcome shade during a 95F day. The creek was about a foot wide and 3" deep.
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Conditions reported by: Ted Merrill
Survey date: 30-APR-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

We fixed the short but dangerous washed out section of the Marble Peak trail about 1/2 mile east of Indian Valley. No longer will acrobatic skills be needed to avoid a possible plunge into a small gorge filled with small odd shaped boulders. I also notice that the dangerous sections about 1/2 mile west of Horse Bridge have been fixed by someone... thanks! Having walked the entire trail, I am not aware of any dangerous sections existing any more (although the crossings of Willow Creek require care, as is true for any such stream crossing). There are some annoyances still: there is about a mile of trail east of Indian Valley that is a push through overgrowing chamoise, and the trail between Indian Valley and Marble Peak is not optimally pruned for a tall person, resulting in much ducking. Persons highly allergic to poison oak should avoid the trail where it follows (and repeatedly crosses) Willow Creek.
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Conditions reported by: Steve Wilson
Survey date: 30-MAr-2003
General: PASSABLE
Specific: Indian Valley to Coast Ridge Road.

From the signpost in Indian Valley it's easy to mix up the main trail and use trails over to campsites, but easy to identify the main trail where it ascends from the valley floor on the south shoulder of a shale pile. One does need to crash through a little brush for a short stretch shortly thereafter, but I didn't think it near as bad as had been previously reported. Except for one or two easily hopped over logs, no problem with deadfalls in the forested section that make up perhaps the upper 2/3 of the route. However, the start of the southern fork of the trail near the top was buried in deadfall, and the north fork being cleared (in no small part to some efforts last year by a particular group) I headed that way, making the ridge and the stunning ocean view in short order.
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Conditions reported by: Rob Yang
Survey date: 24-MAR-2003
General: CLEAR TO DIFFICULT
Section: Willow Spring Camp to ridge above Indian Valley

I participated in a VWA trail work event this past weekend, working on the Marble Peak trail from Willow Spring camp to Strawberry camp. We sawed, lopped, clipped, etc. and it's in good shape. The pines, paintbrush, blue blossoms and bush poppies were delightful. I would call this part CLEAR, but Boon will surely have a better report.

The next afternoon, I hiked from Strawberry down to Tan Oak camp and up to the ridge overlooking Indian Valley. Things looked pretty good along this stretch - the area seemed to have had recent attention. A nice climb through oak and madrone forest. Some of the upper parts in the chaparral had thick brush, but only for short durations. Excellent ridge top views. Mostly CLEAR, parts were PASSABLE.
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Conditions reported by: Jeffrey Zimmerman
Survey date: 22-NOV-2002
General: CLEAR TO PASSABLE (W/DIFFICULT SECTIONS)
Specific:

The trail is passable and only occasionally brushy to Willow Creek Camp, with the exception of one fallen elm, easily skirted. Beyond Willow Creek Camp several large deadfalls (all the apparent result of soil erosion following the Kirk Complex fires) make the remainder of the trail to Strawberry impassable to stock. The first occurs about 100 yards east of the gap in the ridgeline separating the Willow Creek and Zig Zag Creek watersheds; significant others occur as the trail crosses each of the major drainages into Zig Zag. Except for the deadfalls the trail was generally clear. The tread narrows in sections as previously reported. A few spots could be labeled treacherous. Acorns are in season. A steady "plop, plop" underneath the oaks and bays makes selection of a sleeping location rather interesting. The jays were having a field day gathering the goodies. Less directly, the acorns seem to bring the piggies out in force, rooting up the trails and hillsides (making digging cat holes easier!). Too, hiking along a trail underneath such trees can be like walking on ball bearings. The ground is wet, reflecting the recent closure of fire season. The resulting dew point makes everything wet almost immediately after sunset. My down bag was soaked through by 4:00 am, though the sky was clear, when I slept outside tarp or tent. The late season and moist air made for aromatic passage. The bay, sycamore and leaf mold were delightful scents. The rose hips were bright red against a riot of yellows and oranges in the stems and remaining leaves. Willow Camp is broad and flat, but well picked over for down wood. Does anyone know if there is a mining history here? The presence of a large, cast-iron piece of gearing, the fact that the trail at times seems to follow a very old road cut, the Los Burros Mining District to the south, and the granitic outcroppings all suggest such an effort in the past. Strawberry Camp itself is in relatively good shape. The larger live oaks and elm survived the Kirk Complex fire. A goodly portion of the table is missing, but what remains is propped up with a clever arrangements of an old fire grid and numerous large stones. Whomever left the Dali Lama necklace and Vishnu CDs there can return to pick them up. The 16 miles along the old Indians Road, from parking (Memorial Park) to trailhead (and Horse Bridge), were the expected thrill.

Jeffrey Neil Zimmerman Sonoma County, California
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Conditions reported by: Ted Merrill
Survey date: 10-OCT-2002
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Starting from the east end:

Within the first mile from Horse Bridge, there is a slide area that has been there for a long time. The trail is reduced in two places to a very narrow and awkward tread with the danger of sliding uncontrollably down to the bottom of the canyon... This has been like this for some time, but is worse than ever. Given that this is an easy reach from the road and is also one of the more used trail segments in the wilderness, how about the Forest Service using some of those Adventure Pass funds to fix it? Unfortunately, a proper fix is probably to reroute the trail up. Otherwise, the trail is fine (appropriate caution taken at the many creek crossings) until above Willow Springs Camp where there are many leaning dead trees crowding the trail, and the tread is getting tedious. There is in this ascending portion of the trail a 12 inch diameter tree hanging three or four feet above the trail.

Unfortunately i didn't have time to check out the section west of Strawberry Valley, which a year and a half ago was quite overgrown. Has anyone worked on it since then? This is of interest since the Sierra Club may be able to work on it this spring.
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Conditions reported by: Steve Chambers
Survey date: 1-OCT-2002
General: CLEAR to PASSABLE
Specific:

Strawberry to Lost Valley Trail junctions:

Without any formal trail maintenance this section alternates between clear to very brushy, as are most trails on the Monterey District LPNF. Clipping and minor sawing by users is keeping all of our trails at least passable. But brush growth is greater than current amounts of clipping.

A few small pools of almost stagnant water were found at the confluence of Strawberry and Tan Oak Creeks a short ways downstream of where Tan Oak Camp use to be. No stove or grill, table, sign or camping trash visible.

Many brushy areas of trail were encountered on the south facing slopes of the upper Higgins Creek watershed.
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Conditions reported by: Ojai Valley School - "Las Papas Gigantescas"
Survey date: APRIL-MAY, 2002
General: CLEAR to PASSABLE
Specific:

Marble Peak Trail: Strawberry Camp to Indian Valley: Tan Oak was not 1 mile as posted (unless I did a 10 minute mile). It was more of an overflow camp for Strawberry Camp. Not a great camp, small and right in the middle of the trail. Good climb up to the ridge where Marble Peak Trail continues up; trail down toward Indian Valley and Upper Higgins is a bit brushy and eroded and could use some work in spots. Strawberry to Indian Valley did not feel like 6 miles as indicated on sign.
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Conditions reported by: Eco Warrior
Survey date: 26-MAY-2002
General: CLEAR TO PASSABLE
Specific:

Arroyo Seco Horse Bridge to Willow Creek Camp-

Clear to Wilderness Freeway (but LOTS of Poison Oak)- An oak snag has collapsed and is dangling hazardously over the trail just above the Horse Bridge- best walked around rather than under. I counted 14 crossings of Willow Creek, so stay on your toes!

Willow Creek Camp to Tan Oak/ Strawberry environs-

Clear with some overgrown sections- tread is generally good, trail is easy to follow. Water was flowing heavily (late May) at Shovel Handle and Trail Camp Creeks.

Tan Oak Camp to Indian Valley-

Passable with some extremely brushy sections- the tread is fairly good, but in some spots (i.e. the ascent to the Tan Oak Creek/Higgins Creek divide) the brush towers overhead with no choice but to crash through with brute force. Get water at Tan Oak Creek if you're running low, the climb is tiring and your next source is in Indian Valley. A couple side "use trails" near Tan Oak Camp confuse things a little, but the course is generally easy to follow. Near the top the divide, a FINE view of the Ventanas is afforded through the chaparral: Pico Blanco, Kandlbinder, La Ventana, Double Cone, Ventana Cone, South Cone, White Cone and Black Cone- one of the few spots where I've seen them all at once....
The top of the ridge has a remnant firebreak, so be careful to follow the tread- if you accidentally wander onto a dozer cut, it will inevitably dead-end soon enough, however.

Descending into Indian Valley, chamise gets pretty thick, encroaching quite a bit, but not really hindering travel. Arriving in this remote valley, a well placed sign marks the intersection with the "Higgins" or Lost Valley Trail. I did not follow the Marble Peak Trail beyond this point, although some folks I spoke with at Willow Creek in April had hiked it from Coast Ridge road and claimed it was extremely overgrown. The flies were in rare form, so I didn't do any trimming as the only escape was to KEEP MOVING! A winter work party might be in order to keep this trail open as it provides a very important transact of the wilderness and also links some North>South routes.

All in all, I saw about 10 other hikers- not so bad for Memorial Day Weekend. Wildlife tally was pretty impressive as well-

1 Pair Coyotes
1 Coast Horned Lizard
1 Rat Snake
1 (unknown variety) Water Snake
2 Striped Racers
1 Northern Pacific Rattlesnake
1 Pair (immature) Bald Eagles
1 Coopers Hawk
1 Kite
1 Pair Green Herons

Many Ticks, Blacktailed Deer, Western Pond Turtles, Fence Lizards, Whiptail Lizards, Stellar Jays, Scrub Jays, Robins, Kingfishers, Water Ouzels and countless birds I don't know by name and MILLIONS of gnats, horse flies, face flies, deerflies, no-see-ums and mosquitoes.
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Conditions reported by: Jim Yurchenco
Survey date: 14-21-APRIL-2002
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Strawberry to Arroyo Seco Road:
Clear; I clipped some of this, but some additional clipping wouldn't hurt as the poison oak is encroaching. One or two down trees.
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Conditions reported by: Stevenson School Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: FEB-2002
General: CLEAR to HEAVILY OVERGROWN
Specific:

Horse Bridge to Willow Creek Camp: Despite poison oak and some brushy undergrowth, the trail is open and attractive for the hiker.

Willow Creek Camp to Strawberry Camp junction: This is pretty much a wilderness highway. The trail is very level and most of the brush is clear of the trail. The slope down into Willow Creek is heavily overgrown with poison oak that grows up across the trail and also hangs down as vines from the trees above. The camp itself is open and free of poison oak, but all the surrounding area has a lot of new oak for campers to deal with.

Strawberry Camp junction to Indian Valley Trail Junction: The trail begins well but starts to become brushy after Tan Oak Camp as it climbs the ridge under drooping ceanothus. From the top down to the trail junction with the Lost Valley Trail, the brush becomes extremely thick over the trail. Although several Stevenson groups passed over this section and did some clipping and clearing, they had only a small effect on this part of the Marble Peak Trail. This trail segment is a long way from an easy trail head, but it is important that this trail be maintained for the access to the interior of the Wilderness it offers. And it is essential for anyone hiking north or south.

WARNING

Indian Valley junction up to Coast Ridge Road: We did not explore the full trail, but the first half mile up to the old (and almost invisible) junction to the abandoned trail down to Indian Valley Camp is almost completely overgrown. In many places, the foot bed is invisible under the face-high brush. This section is even worse than the segment across the valley leading north from the Lost Valley Trail junction. This section of the Marble Peak Trail is the most in need of work of any similar length of trail that we encountered this winter.
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Conditions reported by: Mark Kiehlbauch
Survey date: 31-MARCH-2002
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

There's no problem with tread, but there's A LOT of p.oak between Willow Springs Camp and Tassajara camp. Creek crossings were easy. From Tassajara camp to Arroyo Seco Rd., trail is CLEAR. Wide enough that p.oak doesn't encroach on the trail much. Do they ever open north end of Arroyo Seco Rd. anymore, or are the extra 2.4 miles a permanent feature now? I've been there in various seasons and have yet to see it open.
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Conditions reported by: Thomas Meissner
Survey date: 26/28-OCT-2001
General: FREEWAY TO PASSABLE
Specific:

We (Sierra Club SF Bay Chapter Backpack Section) hiked the whole Marble Peak trail OCT. 26 - 28, 2001 from Arroyo Seco to the Coast Ridge Road. The Indians Road was closed, so we had to hike the 2.5 miles along the road from Arroyo Seco to the parking lot above Horsebridge.

Section: Indians Road - Tassajara Camp: basically a Wilderness Freeway. There is one spot that starts to erode shortly beyond Horsebridge, which needs fixing pretty soon. It is at a quite dangerous location high above the canyon and it is not a place where you wanted to fall. There are hunters in the area.

Section: Tassajara Camp - Willow Creek Camp: Clear to Passable Lots of poison oak. one large fallen tree. creek crossings are easy this time of the year.

Section: Willow Creek Camp - Tan Oak Junction: Clear The trail is in good shape. There is only few encroaching brush and very little poison oak. Camp Creek and Shovel Handle Creek are both running with water.

Section: Tan Oak Junction - Indian Valley: Passable - Difficult There are some pools of water near Tan Oak Camp. Ascending along Tan Oak Creek is pretty brushy in some spots. Above tree line, up to the ridge, the trail is clear and in pretty good shape. From the ridge down to Indian Valley the trail is in miserable shape and in dare need ofmaintenance. Some spots are extremely overgrown with brush and it is very difficult to get through. About half a mile before Indian Valley there is a badly eroded spot where the trail crosses a dry gully, which is pretty hairy. After the next heavy rain it might get impassable. There is no water in Indian Valley at the junction with Lost Valley Trail (we did not go down to the official camp or to the old Higgins Cabin site).

Section: Indian Valley - Coast Ridge Road: Passable Pretty overgrown and brushy in some spots. Some blow downs shortly before the ridge. The view from the Coast Ridge Road is pretty much overgrown.
===========
Conditions reported by: Ted Merrill
Survey date: MAY-01
General: PASSABLE to DIFFICULT
Specific:

Strawberry to Tan Oak is in reasonable shape. Beyond Tan Oak, all the way to Marble Peak it is necessary to push one's way through the brush in many places, with occasional trees across the trail.

In addition, there is a quite dangerous washout approx. 1 mile east of Lost Valley... any sort of shovel would have been helpful... if you are thinking of backpacking that way, bringing a small pruning shears, saw and shovel (and patience) would be a good idea.

Finally, the fork in the trail just before (east) of Marble Peak confused us during our day hike... one of us took the correct (legal) route, and the other seven of us missed it and took the apparently illegal (trespassing) but shorter route. The legal trail was obscured by brush, and the lone sign marking it was very easy to miss and very difficult to read. Given the poor signage, i would say that legality is not so much the issue as is getting accidently split up.
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Conditions reported by: Ventana Mounted Assistance Group
Survey date: 22-APRIL-01
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Horse Bridge to Strawberry Camp:

We took 14 mules and horses over this trail to pack in a Sierra Club Service Trip on its way to work on the Black Cone Trail. The group went ahead of us doing trail work. There are still a few small deadfalls and places with encroaching brush, but the areas where the tread was washed out have mostly been repaired. The trail is now easily passable to both hikers and stock. People highly allergic to poison oak or with a strong aversion to the sight of ticks might want to avoid this area.
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Conditions reported by: Stevenson School Wilderness Expedition 2000
Survey date: APRIL-2000
General: CLEAR TO DIFFICULT
Specific:

Lost Valley Trail Junction to South Fork Trail Junction = PASSABLE

On the way up to the ridge top, the foot bed is disappearing on some of the shale side slopes. The brush is very thick on all the hillsides but opens up on most of the ridge tops. A quarter mile up the trail, the earth has slipped and the trail is a chancy scramble for a dozen feet. Clipping and shoveling would take care of these problems. The trail is basically well engineered.

From the summit down, the problem is overgrown, overarching ceanothus and manzanita. The foot bed is solid down to Tan Oak Creek, but it becomes obscured from there by brush and blackberries. Near the creek, several fallen trees cross the trail, but all can be stepped over. Tan Oak Camp has essential disappeared; it is just a wide spot in the trail. A short way further on, after three creek hops, several flat spots have been used for campsites. They are much nicer and more useful. A grill has been moved into one of them, perhaps from Tan Oak.

At this point, the fire makes an appearance. The burn was slight near the stream, and the ground and trail there is overgrown with new ankle to knee-deep grass and shrubs. Erosion is present: alluvial fans of silt have come down runoff channels from the hillsides, but they have not obscured the trail.

The junction with the South Fork Trail and the continuation of this trail to Willow Springs is burned over and covered with gravel eroded from the hillside above. Coming from the south, it is barely visible cutting back along the hillside to the east. However, it is much more visible and attractive to anyone coming from the north. From that direction, it is harder to see the trail towards Tan Oak. The old signpost has burned, but this would be a good spot to replace the trail sign for the sake of those who might take the wrong trail.

The trail the rest of the way to Strawberry Camp is grass and bramble-covered but easy to follow.
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Marble Peak Trail

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 10:07 am

* USFS Trail # 4E07
* Parking: Arroyo Seco Campground ($5/day)
* Watershed: Arroyo Seco, Willow Creek, Zig Zag Creek, Higgins Creek
* Junctions: Horse Pasture Trail, Tony Trail, Zig Zag Camp Trail, South Fork Trail,
Lost Valley Trail, Coast Ridge Road
* Connects: Arroyo Seco/Indians Road with Coast Ridge Road at Marble Peak
* Camps: Tassajara, Willow Springs, Camp Creek, Tan Oak, Old Indian Valley.
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