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Pine Ridge Trail

Pine Ridge Trail to Sykes

Postby FlyinBrian on Sun Feb 12, 2017 10:08 pm

Date Hiked: February 12, 2017
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

First let me emphasize that the Pine Ridge Trail, like everything within the burn scar, is CLOSED until at least December 2017. I did NOT hike this trail, but I talked to someone who did and the information will support the closure order. In short the Pine Ridge Trail is dangerous right now and Sykes Hot Spring is badly damaged, so no one should feel tempted to violate the closure order.

The details as I understand them second hand:

Numerous blowdowns as would be expected with no trail work.

Logwood Creek has no log crossing. The logs there have washed away. The Creek is currently a dangerous river and there are waterfalls below. Do not attempt to cross.

The Big Sur River at Sykes camp is very deep and swift. Very dangerous.

The Pine Ridge trail is buried or washed out in dozens of places due to heavy debris flows caused by heavy rain on bare ground. There is a 20-foot section just beyond Barlow Flat that slid over a cliff and into the river. A very treacherous traverse remains. This is reportedly bad enough that the trail might remain closed after December unless repair crews are allowed early access.

Finally, the tubs at Sykes are badly damaged. High water crested over the lower pool and debris knocked down half the wall. What remains is full of sand. That tub is useless. The dirt wall of the upper tub collapsed into the tub. So the tub is half full of sand and rocks and not nearly as warm as usual. The very small tub down by the river appears to be gone as well, but my source says it was under water due to very high flow in the Big Sur River, so it was hard to be sure.

It's not worth it people. Be safe!
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby MountainLuke on Tue Jul 12, 2016 6:04 pm

Date Hiked: July 3, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Let me start off by saying thank you to the folks that maintain the trails in the Ventana Wilderness - I just learned that no motorized machinery is allowed for the trail maintenance, and that hand saws must be used to cut a path through even large fallen trees. It must be like trying to hold back the tide! At first I thought it was silly, but then I was glad that I didn't have to listen to chain saws buzzing while out in the beautiful Ventana Wilderness.

Trail report:
From China Camp to Church Creek divide, via Pine Ridge Trail:
(Miles from China Camp) Description
0.00-0.25 light brush occasionally encroaching on path
0.25-0.75 heavy brush, put head down and pushed through it (however, tread still evident)
0.75-1.00 light brush occasionally encroaching on path
1.00-CC Divide mostly clear, good trail.
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby hotspringadventures on Sun Jun 19, 2016 11:28 am

Date Hiked: June 18, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

A friend and I ran from Big Sur Station down to the Big Sur River and then immediately turned back around toward the trail head. Usually I go by the hot springs, but on this day it was purely an exercise activity. There are a couple of 4-5 inch trees/limbs across the trail mainly between Logwood Creek and the Big Sur River. The one very disturbing thing I found on this trip was someone or maybe multiple people decided to poop on the big log going across Logwood Creek. The poop and huge pile of toilet paper was a couple inches away from the water. Saw Brian out the trail clipping some low hanging brush along the trail. Thanks Brian!
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby aotuhsaoetu on Thu Jun 16, 2016 10:55 pm

Date Hiked: June 8, 2016
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

(Apparently in order to submit a trail report, one just enters a random user name and waits for the submission to be approved by a moderator. Trying to create a username via the "register" and "login" links doesn't seem to work...)

I went to Sykes last week and had an enjoyable time. I stayed Wednesday - Saturday.

There were some people with a dog staying at the campsite directly across from the tubs, which was slightly annoying, but I just carried a stick when I went back and forth to my tent. The dog didn't bark at me, just ran up and growled.

I had plenty of time in the tubs all by myself - even though there seemed to be about 20 other people scattered among the campsites on average. Note that I was mostly there on weekdays. My friend came on a weekend last year, and he said the same thing, even though I counted 100+ people coming in to Sykes that same weekend. So I guess most people don't need to soak for very long in order to feel satisfied with their trip, and the tubs don't get as crowded as you might think with 100+ campers. Still, going during the week seems much preferable.

The first time I hiked to Sykes Hot Springs, I printed out the trail map and elevation profile which were helpful in guiding and pacing myself. However, when the trail came to the stream where Sykes Camp is, I wasn't sure whether to go upstream or downstream to get to the hot springs. Luckily I met someone coming out who told me where and how far to go (it's about 1/4-1/2 mile downstream from the trail).

I figured I must have missed some instructions on the map or on the website, but I don't actually see anything which tells people where the springs are, and this year I noticed several people having to ask for directions too. I think it would make sense to have a sign pointing to the hot springs from the trail, especially if the VWA wants to encourage people to go there on less-crowded days (when people won't be able to get directions from other hikers).

The trail was clear and I even noticed somebody with fancy clippers on the way out, he was clearing some of the overhanging brush. Also someone seemed to have been digging stones out of the trail, maybe the same guy. What a blessing to have people like that.

I'm glad that I went at a time when fires were still permitted, because that's the only way I could succeed in getting rid of the biting flies.
aotuhsaoetu
 

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Necret on Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:38 pm

Date Hiked: July 7, 2016
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

China Camp to Church Divide, some over grown brush but easy to push through.
Church Divide to Pine Valley, Clear and good tread
Pine Valley to Pine Ridge Camp, brush, difficult to push through and sometimes hard to follow.
Pine Ridge Camp to Redwood Camp, brush with lots of washed out trail.
Redwood camp to Sykes - light brush, good trail
Sykes to Big Sur Station clear and passable.

No water between Pine Valley and Pine Ridge camp. Entrance to Pine Ridge camp in severely overgrown.
Necret
 

Re: Pine Ridge Trail - past Sykes

Postby Bookz on Tue May 31, 2016 1:38 pm

Date Hiked: May 27, 2016
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Up to Sykes the trail is clear with only a few areas of high brush and deadfalls. Past Sykes the trail is passable with some brush, however past the Big Sur Trail junction (to Cienega Camp) the trail is heavily covered in brush over 6'. There are very few stretches (no more than ~100') that aren't through the high brush. Some evidence of if being recently traversed though. We turned back around 3000' maybe a half mile of the way towards Pine Ridge Camp and returned to Redwood Camp. Lots of biting flies showed up on 5/27 also and stayed with us through most of the way back to the Pfieffer Big Sur parking lot on 5/28.
Bookz
 

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby ADonCap on Mon May 30, 2016 9:55 pm

Date Hiked: May 28, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

My wife and I and our two children (9 and 11 with packs on weighing about 20 pct of their body weight) hiked from Big Sur Station to Ventana Camp on Friday, May 28. We left around 1 p.m. We encountered a rescue crew helping a hiker with a sprained ankle about 1.25 to 1.5 miles in. There were a few tricky areas that we encountered (see Alamofox's post and some slippery/sandy down hill parts) but, generally, the trail was clear and our family found it to be quite passable. The trail to/from Ventana Camp from the junction was clear.

We beat the crowd and unknowingly set up camp at the entrance of the trail to the swimming hole. We ran into Birdman who was very helpful and nice to our kids and we appreciate everything he has done. Apologies to our fellow hikers for clogging the swimming hole trailhead up, but we are grateful for all of the kinds words, smiles and laughs from the weekend. It was one we will not soon forget.
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby CJDiM on Tue May 24, 2016 6:24 pm

Date Hiked: May 22, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Look, everybody knows this is Wilderness Freeway from Big Sur to Sykes. But beyond Sykes, you had better be prepared for some tough slogging. Sykes to Redwood Camp is passable, with lots of slump and encroaching brush. But almost everything east of Redwood is barely passable: lots of encroaching ceanothus almost all the way from Pine Ridge to Church Creek Divide, with little respite. You used to be able to do the whole PRT as a dayhike if you set up a car shuttle, but it's hard to imagine doing the whole PRT in anything less than two long days now.
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Steve B on Tue May 24, 2016 7:36 am

Date Hiked: May 23, 2016
General Condition: Wilderness Freeway (Heavily used and well maintained)From Big Sur to Sykes

Thank you Alamofox for the great trail report, from your photos we knew what was in store for us before we left home; we knew what tools were needed and the location of the trees.
Yesterday we were able to clear all the trees East of Terrace Creek with a 5 ½ foot crosscut saw however the last tree to the East was a problem tree that slid each time we cut it so there is now a step over tree instead of a duck under tree that we will have to go back and get. We cleared the trees that you noted and a few more, we cleared eight trees. We will try to do another trip to get the trees West of Terrace Creek soon.
Thanks for your report.
Last edited by Steve B on Tue May 24, 2016 8:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Alamofox on Sun May 15, 2016 6:19 pm

Date Hiked: May 12, 2016
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Tread is very well-defined, and no brush encroachment to speak of. Deadfallls noted below.

There is a sign at the trailhead advising that the parking fee at Big Sur Station increases from $5 per calendar day to $10 per calendar day (Hope VWA is tracking that money somehow). You need to pay for any part of a day, even if your total time away is less than a multiple of 24 hours. My wife saw one vehicle near the place we parked that had a citation for $71 dollars waiting for the owner to return. Very easy to find parking on a Thursday.

Hiked in on May 12, 2016 as far as Barlow Flat. The next day, day-hiked to Sykes. Hiked out on May 14. In general the trail is in very good ccndition. Saw some apparent brush clear-back work just before Ventana Camp junction. Also made the acquaintance of Fat Popi on the way out, who was coming in to do some trail work with axe in hand. He was accompanied by the best dog on the trail.

Got to the hot springs at Sykes at about 11:00am. The lower "tub" had a few people, however, we got the upper tub to ourselves for quite a while. By the time we had had enough, the Friday arrivals started to come in. We encountered about a dozen or so people arriving at Sykes or on the trail as we went back to Barlow. At Barlow, I don't think anyone went across the river to camp in the old main campsite, although the was easily fordable. I didn't spot a way to hop rocks across. On Saturday morning, we easily encountered 70-80 people heading in the direction of Sykes (I just stopped asking...always got the same answer)

Starting with the return hike from Sykes, I noted the various obstacles along the way. Most are minor. Took photos and GPS readings(decimal degrees) to fully document them. Most of the photos were taken from the east side. Only added comments to the photos where more was needed to be said. Noted that there is a trail work day occurring as I write this, so maybe some of these will be gone by the time I post this.

36.24021 -121.77465
0.66 miles from TH
XIMG_5655X.jpg

This is not "family-friendly." We encountered a young family trying to negotiate this as we came out. A permanent bridge needs to be installed

36.24109 -121.77257
0.86 miles from TH
XIMG_5531X.jpg


36.24102 -121.77239
0.9 miles from TH
XIMG_5650X.jpg


36.2452 -121.7689
1.57 miles from TH
XIMG_5625X.jpg


N36.24392; W-121.75509
2.8 miles from TH
IMG_5541X.jpg

The footing is narrow as you get to the washout itself. Some very "handy" roots sticking out from the side help secure yourself. I found the creek bed the best way up and down. The switchback on the east side is very steep on the portion that returns to the trail. Cutting in some reinforced steps in this would make it better. It seems very slippery going down as when travelling back to the TH.

36.24935 -121.73825
5.22 miles from TH
XIMG_5619X.jpg


36.24778 -121.73195
5.75 miles from TH
XIMG_5618X.jpg


36.24705 -121.72127
6.8 miles from TH
XIMG_5611X.jpg


36.24715 -121.71683
7.19 miles from TH
XIMG_5610X.jpg


36.24697 -121.71504
7.5 miles from TH; just before the trail going down to Barlow Flat
XIMG_5608X.jpg

As you can see, this one is a "two-for"

36.24853 -121.70709
8.16 miles from TH
XIMG_5606X.jpg


36.24943 -121.70534
8.4 miles from TH
XIMG_5605X.jpg


36.24836 -121.70385
8.53 miles from TH
XIMG_5604X.jpg


36.24777 -121.69555
9.61 miles from TH
Somehow I neglected to take a photo of this one. Three parallel limbs cross the trail. Two are fairly low and one is about eye level, but that one doesn't completely cross the trail. All are about 3-6 inch diameter. You can step up on the lower ones and get around the upper one easily enough.

Last, but certainly not least. The seat on the pit toilet at Barlow, south-side camp, needs repair or replacement.
XIMG_5607X.jpg

I found that sitting sideways worked out okay for me, but the condition is a bit off-putting and there was lots of evidence at an adjacent tree that many people chose to do not try it once they made the climb up.
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