Forums
Ventana Wilderness Forums • View topic - Pine Ridge Trail

Pine Ridge Trail

Re: Pine Ridge Trail

Postby Tradtimbo on Mon Mar 08, 2010 2:33 pm

Date Hiked: March 7, 2010
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Hiked from Big Sur Station to Sykes Hot Springs on Sunday, March 8 2010. It was clear and passable with only a few downed trees across the trail. Muddy at spots. The creek crossing before Barlow Flats was tricky. Just upstream was a downed tree that can be crossed, or the creek can be easily waded. Plentiful water. The spur along the bank of the Big Sur River to the hot spring pools was passable, but easier with help from a partner. The River seemed quite high, so to stay out of the water, we had to balance on some slimy footholds.
Tradtimbo
 

Pine Ridge Trail

Postby whhoward on Mon Dec 07, 2009 1:37 pm

Date Hiked: November 22, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

Two of us hiked from China Camp out to Big Sur the weekend before Thanksgiving. The trail was mostly clear, with a number of fallen trees, particularly from Sykes for a few miles. Two places we had some trouble following the trail were at Pine Ridge Camp - a down sign confused me - and the junction to Redwood - I saw the rock cairn but didn't see the trail. In both cases we backtracked and found the right trail. Most surprising to me was how cold it was at Pine Ridge Camp. It never got below freezing, but the wind and the humidity made me feel colder than I have at 10,000 in colder temps in the Sierras.

We ate lunch with a trail crew on Monday, Nov 21. They deserve our thanks. They asked us about the trail from Sykes west and were very disapointed and frustrated when we told them about 5-6 dead falls; they had cleared that section just the week before.

Our running joke for this hike was that it was a difficult, strenous hike, not suitable for people our ages. We loved it, of course, and are thinking about doing it again in the spring.
whhoward
 

Pine Ridge Trail Clear

Postby beausaunders on Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:44 am

*UPDATE

I hiked the Pine Ridge Trail from the Big Sur Station to Sykes hotsprings on Oct 17th. The trail had dried out pretty well following the previous weekends strong rains and was easily passable. After rumors of an impassible slide, we found that the few small slides that had occurred were small, and required no extra effort to cross. The worst of it was debris on the trail. No sections required teamwork or rope to cross. There are a few fallen trees that were new to me, but I haven't been up there since the fire of last year. The worst is about 1/3 of a mile from Sykes on the descent down. Its a big tree and not practical to climb over or under. Fortunately, hikers have already created a trail that descends down the hill 100 ft and around the tree. Its pretty easy to follow. Unfortunately, this means its also easy for water to follow, and we found it to be very wet. As the winter gets closer, expect there to be running water here (walking stick recommended).
I was fortunate to find the camp spot just up river at the bend open, and set up camp there for the duration of the stay. Upon inspection, the lower pool was crystal clear and free of all debris. The upper pool was in much worse condition. While we hope to keep this special area in a pristine and natural condition, there is always a little that can be done to keep the area clean and inviting for other campers. I was very disappointed to see that someone had left a large amount of glass and plastic garbage wrapped up in a sleeping bag. The bag was soaking wet and none of the garbage is burnable. Really? PACK YOUR TRASH OUT AND LEAVE NO TRACE!!!!

I hope this is helpful.
beausaunders
 
Posts: 2
Joined: Fri Oct 16, 2009 9:38 am

Postby Rob on Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:23 pm

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

From China Camp to Church Creek Divide : Clear

Trail tread on this section seemed to be in great shape. Some brush here and there, but nothing serious.

The new trail signs at Church Creek Divide looked great !

From Church Creek Divide to Pine Ridge camp : Clear to Passable

I never saw any blowdowns. Trail tread was always evident, though sloping and / or narrow in places.
Some brush is starting to creep in, but nothing serious yet.

Running water across the trail in several places near Divide camp.

Spring at Pine Ridge camp flowing well.

At the junction with the Black Cone Trail someone had left a large coleman sleeping bag (!) which I couldn't really pack out, and several other items. There was no sign, but I could see trail tread off in that direction, and since I'd hiked it in 2001, and again partially in 2003 I had some idea where it went. I could see some of it off in the distance ..

Pleasantly surprised by the ferns growing among the pines and other trees, and the Santa Lucia fir just before the BCT junction.

Also thrashed my way up to Ventana Cone (4727') - a lot of brush seems to have burned off, but not to worry, there is still enough for some nice bushwhacking :twisted:
Rob
 
Posts: 73
Joined: Thu Sep 18, 2008 3:21 pm
Location: SJC

PRT from China Camp to Redwood Creek Camp

Postby johnradford on Sun Aug 16, 2009 1:53 am

Date Hiked: August 8, 2009
General Condition: Passable (some brush and/or deadfalls, tread evident)

BRUSH: very little the whole way. After Pine Ridge Camp, the trail is sometimes weedy but almost always easy to follow.

TREAD: little damage until after the PR Camp junction. There is a little degradation after that, especially on the long exposed slope above the BST junction, but not serious.

SHADELESS: In hot weather, there will be precious little relief anywhere. Fire burned out 90% of what shade there used to be (for the past 30 years, at least), starting at Tassajara Rd. and on to the junction with BS Trail. Pine Ridge (the main saddle section) now has 2 live Pines left. Downslope to N and to the sides, there are Pines left with a clump 150 yards W of the trail and others here and there. But the saddle itself is woefully bare.

SHADED: Church Creek Divide Madrones to 10 minutes past Church Creek Camp, the Firs on Pine Ridge, the brush going into Pine Ridge Camp. The camp itself was re-burned but 2 Oaks and some Pines are still providing some shade. The main part of the camp is totally open, however - not good for hot daytime camps.

BLACK CONE TRAIL: Interestingly, most of the upper sections of Cienega Creek watershed, including the Black Cone Trail terrain as far as I could see, were un-burned. I was unable to detect the Black Cone junction AT ALL. But judging from experience with BCT in the past, I noted that the slopes it traverses look VERY lushly green and healthy. I wonder if all the work VWA put in is fast getting lost?

REDWOOD CAMP: the trail down to the camp is fine with just some weediness much of the way (annuals, I guess). The camp itself is a mess and is closed most likely because it is DANGEROUS! From above, it looks as if the camp area was spared. But it wasn't totally. Fire snaked through the entire area and selectively burned.

I always camp where the PRT crosses the creek. No more: one large Redwood 100 feet NNW was burned clear through the base up to 20ft height and is likely to fall across that camp area soon. The tree is 6-8ft diameter with the uphill half of the base in tact but the downhill half burned through such that the tree is "standing" on a rather slender "leg" as it were (maybe 4ft of trunk circumference). One could easily walk through the tree from SW to NE. Another mature but smaller Redwood 40 feet SW of that tree was burned out 1/3 of the entire base up to 8 feet or so. It grew with a significant tilt to it and the burn might have cut much of the strength of the tree such that it may fall on the larger, more weakened tree and cause it to fall - likely just missing the main fire pit area but perhaps not. Never know.

Halfway S to the main Redwood Creek regular camps is an area that resembles a javelin tossing contest with much debris and fallen branches stuck in the ground. Just beyond that is a 5ft diameter giant fallen across the trail. I didn't verify deadfall threats in the main camp areas; I never liked to camp there anyway. It might be OK, however.
johnradford
 

PRT: Church Creek Divide to China Camp

Postby Riker9000 on Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:56 pm

Date Hiked: June 14, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This is a VERY scenic climb - highly recommend! No issues to speak of - just bring water since there is none along the trail!
Riker9000
 

Pine Ridge Trail

Postby TRAILS on Thu Jun 11, 2009 6:26 pm

Date Hiked: June 5, 2009
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Reported by Lindsay Jeffers:

The Pine Ridge Trail from China Camp to Pine Ridge Camp turnoff is in very good shape. From China Camp to Church Creek Divide the trail is open for stock travel: it's as good as I can remember it. And the Carmel River Trail as far as Pine Valley is equally good. There were no step-overs or encroaching brush or low-hanging branches.

From Church Creek Divide west, there were at least four obstacles that would probably prevent stock from passing: three rather tricky trees across the trail required careful straddling and one recent rock-fall on the slopes of South Ventana Cone required careful steps among very sharp-edged granite blocks. Other than that and the post-fire slippage of gravel and small rocks onto the trail where it traverses the rocky slopes of South Ventana Cone, the way is much better than it was in the spring of 2008.

Once the trail reaches the top of Pine Ridge and comes into the open flat area leading to the BCT-Bear Basin junction, it becomes a bit faint and obscured by ferns. Because the trail wanders around obstacles from previous fires and fallen trunks that no longer exist, I found myself letting my feet discover the trail's indented footbed. But once at the trail junction (no longer marked by a significant pine tree) there is evidence of very professional trail widening. As far as the trail junction to Pine Ridge Camp and beyond, the brush has been cleared back 4 or 5 feet to either side, and the mass of fallen trees just before the junction has been cut up and rolled away. The footbed is still rough and rocky, but there are no encroaching bushes or poison oak. I did not go further west, but it would be nice to think that the trail has had this treatment as far as Redwood Camp.

The Pine Ridge Camp Trail has not been brushed out but it is passable with one unpleasant obstacle: there is a 6 inch branch crossing it about 2/3rds the way to camp that requires crawling under. It will be easy to cut for the first person to bring a saw and willing to take some time to remove. Beyond that, the ceanothus intrudes into the trail but opens up at the camp. The camp itself is both more open and less pleasant than it was before the fire: the big madrone in the middle is gone and the views to the south and west are becoming obscured by flourishing ceanothus and other brush. Water was flowing freely through and around the pipe when we visited; this was nice to see because the hillside above burned off and most of the trees are only stumps, which sometimes results in a loss of water in springs nearby.
User avatar
TRAILS
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:28 pm

Pine Ridge Trail

Postby TRAILS on Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:38 pm

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

Reported by Paul David Tuff:

China Camp to the top of Pine Ridge: clear.
User avatar
TRAILS
 
Posts: 10
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 3:28 pm

Trail CLOSED from BIG SUR to SYKES Hot Spring

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 11:45 am

Date Hiked: May 14, 2009
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Conditions reported by: David Knapp
Survey date: 14-MAY-2009
General: SPECIAL!
Specific:

The Pine Ridge Trail is CLOSED from BIG SUR to SYKES Hot Springs - over 70 trees down across trail - Many are dangerous to cross - one slip and you're in the gorge!
China Camp to the Divide is in good shape.


No reason to think that past the Divide is any better than the previous reports.
===========
User avatar
Site Administrator
Site Admin
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:43 am

Trail Conditions History 2004-2008

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 11:43 am

Date Hiked: May 26, 2008
General Condition: Difficult (brushy and/or many deadfalls, faint tread)

Conditions reported by: Dave Laredo
Survey date: 26-MAY-2008
General: Difficult
Specific:

China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Excellent

Church Creek Divide to Pine Ridge Camp - Difficult - Many deadfalls; some loose, slanting tread. Had to crawl on hands and knees at least 5 time. the remainder could weave through or pass over deadfalls with some effort.

The Black Cone Trail appears to have had quite a lot of fine work, but the junction can confuse those unfamiliar with the area as the sign to Pine Ridge Camp appears to offer only a spur route, and does not mention that it is the main path to Redwood, Syches and Big Sur Station.

Pine Ridge Camp to Redwood Camp - Difficult; the descent is overgrown and quite obscure. Some pruning has been done, but dangerous branches snag packs, arms and legs for much of the way to Redwood. The river was at its lowest end-of-May level I have seen in 8 years. Quite easy to rock-hop across.

Redwood - Sykes - Barlow - Excellent; wilderness freeway.

Ventana Camp to Big Sur Station - Good; tread is in poor condition in about 5 spots, but quite easy to navigate around.
===========
Conditions reported by: Adam
Survey date: 6-MAY-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Redwood Camp - Wilderness Freeway

A team from the USFS was finishing up a tour of duty during my hike, and they did a fantastic job.

Section: Redwood Camp to Pine Ridge Camp - Passable

Unfortunately, they stopped about 1/3 of the way up the hill to Pine Ridge Camp. Beyond their work, the trail gets progressively worse the closer you get to the Pine Ridge itself. The trail itself is well defined, but the coyote brush and holly bushes are overgrowing the trail pretty badly.

I counted more than 50 trees down across the trail between Pine Ridge Camp and the Bear Basin Trail.
===========
Conditions reported by: Nicole Clark
Survey date: 2-MAY-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Many fallen trees on the way down to Ventana Camp. A few required care when straddling to cross - with heavy back pack and poles. The trail looked like it had been recently cared for though. Ventana Camp was in great condition. Someone had left a huge black garbage bag full of trash at the site closest the river! Also left a fishing pole (looked in good order) and a metal grill for using over a fire. Only spotted one field mouse hanging around the fire at night...gathering up any crumbs. Enjoyed the trail. Would be nice to let hikers know the distance from the Pine Ridge Trail to Ventana Camp on the sign. Also to know it is quite steep with lots of switchbacks. My knees were toast and legs were jello when I reached the bottom. Made it up VERY easily the next day - to my relief. First time hiking in 2 yrs - since injury. AMAZING JOB to all who tend the trail! HATS OFF TO YOU
===========
Conditions reported by: Todd Silberman
Survey date: 27-APRIL-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Passable to Clear

Section: Church Creek Divide to Pine Ridge Camp - Difficult

Many deadfalls, loose, slanting tread on several steep traverses.
===========
Conditions reported by: GANGA
Survey date: 18-APRIL-2008
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Divide Camp to Pine Ridge Camp - Difficult

Between Divide Camp and Pine Ridge Camp at least 50 deadfalls on the trail.

Section: Pine Ridge Camp to Redwood Camp - Difficult

After Pine Ridge, the trail descent is dangerous, overgrown and obscure all the way to Redwood camp. Encountered Dario and crew after Redwood. Please handwrite your congressman for financial support of the Ventana.
===========
Conditions reported by: Adam Wachtel
Survey date: 13-APRIL-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Pine Ridge Camp - Passable to Difficult

I encountered at least a dozen deadfalls, most of which require climbing over, under, or around, and difficult with a pack.

The worst of the brushy areas were the first few miles beyond China Camp, some of the area past the Divide, and especially around the Black Cone Trail junction and Pine Ridge Camp.

Also, the tread gets a little poor around the side of South Ventana Cone between Divide Camp and the Black Cone Trail junction.
===========
Conditions reported by: Brian Remas
Survey date: 1-MARCH-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Ventana Camp Trail - Wilderness Freeway

It was gorgeous and green on the trail and at the camp site. It was very easy to hike out there. Then we came to the Ventana Camp Trail [see also reports for that trail - ed.]. But long story short, the Pine Ridge Trail up to the Ventana camp cut off was great, but it was a real pain to get down to the camp sites. Although once you are down there it is really pretty and quiet.
===========
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers (Stevenson Wilderness Expedition)
Survey date: 2-MARCH-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Sykes Camp - Wilderness Freeway

With the exception of ten or a dozen fresh tree trunks across the trail. All can be straddled or stepped over: there are no off-trail detours.

Section: Sykes Camp to Redwood Camp - Clear

The trail is clear but some fresh growth is encroaching on the trail.

Section: Redwood Camp to Big Sur Trail - Mostly Clear

Clear except for the large redwood that has covered the trail above Redwood for years and which requires climbing up and walking along it to continue forward.

Section: Big Sur Trail to Pine Ridge Camp junction - Passable

Very brushy in many places, has deteriorating foot bed with numerous places where the trail goes up or down unexpectedly because of slumping, and has had to be detoured over rock-slides in spots. On the final push up the ridge, brush and fallen timber require great care and make staying on the trail difficult. The first group to go from Redwood to Pine Ridge took over nine hours because they had to clear a way through the brush and negotiate detours. Since then, the trail remains difficult but later groups were able to make a more normal transit of this trail section.

Section: Pine Ridge Camp Trail - Mostly Clear

Brushy but otherwise clear, ignoring some fresh step-overs. The camp site itself has taken a beating, and the central madrone tree presents an interesting challenge to one who sees the possibility for more timber to fall into the camping area. Ceanothus is beginning to colonize the original tenting areas.

Section: Pine Ridge Camp Junction to Church Creek Divide - Passable

This section is made difficult by many freshly fallen trees. Diameters range from two to three feet for the largest. Some require detours up or down the hillside, but most must be crawled under or climbed over directly. Because of the steepness of the hill, this is not particularly safe. Some of the overhead obstacles were only six to ten inches but we could only cut a few of these. The brush has been largely clipped away, but significant work remains to open the trail to bipedal travel. The first group to pass took eight hours to complete this section.
===========
Conditions reported by: Carl A. Mounteer
Survey date: 11-FEBRUARY-2008
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Terrace Creek Camp - Passable

I counted 8 deadfalls, 7 VERY recent, between the trailhead and the turnoff to the Ventana Camp Trail. Three of these are in one 15 foot interval. After the Ventana Camp Trail trailhead, the Pine Creek trail is clear to Terrace Creek Camp.

Because of the recent rains, there was water running at Bad Gulch, the first very deep gulch on this trail after entering the Ventana Wilderness.

It was a beautiful day for a hike. My thermometer recorded 79.5 degrees in the shade. I noticed that it can get quite warm on this mostly shaded portion of the trail and even when the temperature at Big Sur was forecast at 66 degrees.

It is evident that an enormous amount of work has very recently been done clearing tree trunks blocking this trail between the trailhead and Terrace Creek Camp. If it were not for this work, there would have been more like 20, rather than 8, trees blocking the trail. God bless you anonymous trail angels, whoever you are.
===========
Conditions reported by: Zensen Steve Kent
Survey date: 6-SEPTEMBER-2007
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Sykes Camp - Wilderness Freeway

Terrace Creek was running and there was also water at Sykes.

Section: Sykes Camp to Redwood Camp - Difficult

There was encroaching brush, tread washout, and poison oak along the trail.

Section: Redwood Camp to Pine Ridge Camp - Difficult

There was thick brush to push through, many trail washouts. Wear long sleeves, gloves, and long pants. Avoid hiking this trail in the middle of the day, it was 101 degrees F at Pine Ridge Camp at 12 p.m. Most of this climb is in the shadow of the ridge until about 9:30 a.m. Otherwise, it's a mostl ysun exposed trail. The spring was flowing at Pine Ridge Camp. Sweat flies and biting flies were abundant.

Section: Pine Ridge Camp to Black Cone Trail - Difficult

Also heavily overgrown. Although a short distance, it is still difficult.
===========
Conditions reported by: John
Survey date: 3-AUGUST-2007
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Barlow Flat Camp - Wilderness Freeway

HUGE suprise upon arrival. NO fires allowed, not even backpacking stoves. Come prepared for cold eating. Trail was clear and very well marked. We passed by Terrace Creek on the way to Barlow Flats. Spoke to people who were staying at Ventana Camp, they said the trail there was fine as well. Barlow Flats was clean and well maintained.

Some poison oak encroaching on the trail, however, you can avoid it by paying attention. I would recommend long pants. I also wore a long sleeve shirt. Ran into about five downed trees on the trail, no sweat getting over them however. First pit toilet at Barlow was hard to find, even with directional signs. By the toilet paper strewn about, many people gave up looking for it. You have to follow the signs, and climb up a ways to reach the toilet (seemed somewhat like a throne!)
===========
Conditions reported by: Sarah
Survey date: 11-JULY-2007
General: PASSABLE
At the time of our visit, the Big Sur River and its tributaries were low, but there was plenty of water in all we crossed: Redwood Creek, Logwood Creek, Terrace Creek. The springs crossing the trail in the Big Sur watershed were flowing as well. We didn’t stop to check the springs at Pine Ridge Camp. The springs crossing the trail above Pine Valley in the Carmel River watershed were running and many were filterable. Our feet never got wet in any crossing on this trail during this visit.

Intrepid blue jays forage all day--and rats forage all night--at the campsites along the Big Sur River. Be warned that if you leave food or garbage unattended even for a second, they’re on it, and you need rat-proof storage 24/7.

Specific:

Section: Carmel River Trail to Redwood Camp - Passable

Carmel River Trail junction to Redwood Creek Camp: passable. Above Pine Valley, there are some sections with slippery madrone leaves coating narrow, canted trail on steep slopes. We also encountered lots of encroaching brush to head height and beyond on this whole section. Crumbling, steep tread here and there, especially on the Big Sur River watershed side. Some deadfall.

At the junction with the Black Cone Trail, pay attention to the colored ties and follow the color for the Pine Ridge Trail so you don’t meander onto the spur for Pine Ridge camp or the like. The section just past this junction is full of waist-high brush and a few forks in the tread, but if you keep heading downhill you won’t go wrong. Wouldn’t want to take this section of trail uphill from the Big Sur side in the summer.

Section: Redwood Camp to Sykes Camp - Clear

Section: Sykes Camp to Big Sur Station - Wilderness Freeway
===========
Conditions reported by: Karen
Survey date: 14-JULY-2007
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Black Cone Trail to Redwood Camp - Difficult

The trail from the juncture of Pine Ridge and Black Cone down to Redwood camp was overgrown and difficult to walk through. Wear long pants and long sleeves! Lots of poison oak. Brush was tall and one had to push one's way through in many places. Sections of the trail were washed out, making it difficult to pass by as they were on steep slopes. Also, its very hot now so be careful. One member in our group suffered from heat exhaustion and had to recuperate and rehydrate at Redwood Camp. After about an hour, he was feeling better. That said, it's a spectacular trail with awesome views. The vegetation(esp blooming Yuccas) was varied and amazing.
===========
Conditions reported by: Helen Degenhardt
Survey date: 31-MAY-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Sykes Camp - Wilderness Freeway

Section: Sykes Camp to Redwood Camp - Passable

Section: Redwood Camp to Pine Ridge Camp and Black Cone Trail - Very Difficult

The trail is heavily overgrown, lots of bushwhacking through 6-10 foot high brush in very steep terrain. Lots of tread washout. but easy to follow trail.

Black Cone Trail to China Camp - Passable, then Clear

In general a very dry year but the spring at Pine Ridge Camp was running. No signs in the camp to the spring - as you come in just keep walking west along a small path. We found a large smoldering dead tree log in one of the fire pits!!! A party coming from Pine Ridge Camp (those who did the campfire??) warned us about a rattlesnake living in the dead tree at the entry to the camp. We didn't see any evidence.
===========
Conditions reported by: Kalista
Survey date: 15-MAY-2007
General: CLEAR
Specific:

If entering the trail from Carmel River Trail or Pine Valley Meadow, make sure you have plenty of water. There are no places to refill once you begin your ascent and the ridges have no shade and very hot sun at points. Heat exhaustion is possible. Clear and open trail.
===========
Conditions reported by: Chad
Survey date: 4-MAY-2007
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Bear Basin Trail to Redwood Camp - Difficult

The Pine Ridge Trail to Pine Ridge Camp, and down to Redwood Camp is very over-grown in many places, and there is some deadfall. The tread is ok, and aside from pushing through the brush the trail is not hard to follow. Signage is poor. The Bear Basin-Black Cone-Pine Ridge junction had only a sign pointing to "Strawberry", and a sharpie written on the tree indicating the Pine Ridge Trail. We freshened up the sharpie marks. The sign indicating Pine Ridge Camp was fallen over in the brush. I proped it back up, but it is only really noticeable when headed East (there is some tape on the bushes here visible when headed West). There is quite a bit of poison oak when you get to the lower elevations toward Redwood Camp.

Section: Readwood Camp to Big Sur Station - Wilderness Freeway
===========
Conditions reported by: Brandon Hall
Survey date: 26-APRIL-2007
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Bear Basin Trail to Redwood Camp - Difficult

Overgrown with ceanothus, chamise and scrub oak. The steep switchbacks above the Big Sur Trail junction can be mildly treacherous due to overhanging brush and loose tread.
===========
Conditions reported by: David C. Laredo
Survey date: 26-MARCH-2007
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Clear

A crew was working on the trail from China Camp to Church Creek Divide. I have never seen it in better shape! The tread is excellent and the vegetation has been cut well back from the path. This condition for this section more than qualifies as Wilderness Freeway.
===========
Conditions reported by: Reed Thayer
Survey date: 5-MARCH-2007
General: PASSABLE/DIFFICULT
Specific:

In general, the tral is not well signed. Signs are lacking at critical points such as the Black Cone Trail junction and the Ventana Camp junction and signs are inadequate at Terrace Creek and Pine Ridge Camp. I would be glad to hike some in.

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Passable

Very brushy to the top of the first ridge, then clear along the top. Once you begin to drop down to the divide there are several downed trees and more encroaching brush. The tread is in relatively good condition.

Section: Church Creek Divide to Black Cone Trail Junction - Passable

There are tall bushes on each side of the trail that encroach the trail. There are many low hanging branches that you must duck under.

Section: Black Cone Trail Junction to Big Sur Trail Junction - Passable/Difficult

There is a lot of knee high brush. Once you pass Pine Ridge, the tread can be hard to find among the brush you must wade through.

Section: Big Sur Trail Junction to Redwood Camp- Passable

The tread is in much better condition. I would rate this section clear if it weren't for a switchback above Redwood where you must climb on top of a log and walk along it for 10 feet or so and some other minor brushy places.

Section: Redwood Camp to Sykes Camp - Clear

The tread is in excellent condition. There are a few small deadfalls and places where the tread is slightly washed out.

Section: Sykes Camp to Big Sur Station - Wilderness Freeway

The tread is in excellent condition and there is very litte encroaching brush. Do be aware that for the entire distance from Sykes to Big Sur the trail is perched on a cliff above the gorge, so please watch your step.
===========
Conditions reported by: Ryan
Survey date: 17-FEBRUARY-2007
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY/DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Sykes Camp - Wilderness Freeway

Section: Sykes Camp to Big Sur Trail - Passable

Somewhat overgrown.

Section: Big Sur Trail to Pine Ridge Camp - Difficult

Continuing on the Pine Ridge Trail from the Big Sur Trail junction, the trail is VERY overgrown at times, which makes the steep ascent to the Pine Ridge Camp quite difficult.
===========
Conditions reported by: Stevenson Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: 12-FEBRUARY-2007
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Passable/Clear

From the China Camp trailhead to top of the first ridge is easily passable: only one downed oak trunk near the top presents a three foot straddle. It is about 12 inches in diameter and a foot or more off the ground. The ceanothus is growing back along that section of trail but is still low to the ground. The tread has been re-worked and is good. From the top of the ridge all the way to Church Creek Divide, the trail is clear. There has been significant work on clipping out the brush.
===========
Conditions reported by: Fred Miller
Survey date: 12-FEBRUARY-2007
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Bear Basin Trail/Black Cone Trail to Sykes Camp - Difficult

The trail is heavily overgrown with 3-12 foot high brush.

Section: Sykes Camp to Big Sur Station - Passable

The recent rains have caused a few minor treefalls between Big Sur and Sykes, and made the river crossing at Sykes a challenge. The hot springs are in the best shape I've ever seen them (since 1969).

Section: Big Sur Station

Beautiful landscaping, clean toilets, and a kiosk with lovely color photos that shows you what you could've seen if you'd been around back when the Forest Service employed rangers, not parking lot attendants.
===========
Conditions reported by: John Wandke
Survey date: 3-FEBRUARY-2007
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Clear

Trail was in great condition as expected from this route. However, during the first 1/2 mile out of China Camp the brush was beginning to grow into the trail, making for lots of scrapes on bare legs. Also, a couple of deadfalls to climb over. Otherwise, clear all the way to Pine Valley.
===========
Conditions reported by: Michael
Survey date: 22-JANUARY-2007
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Passable

As always (at least as long as I've been hiking it) from the trailhead to the point where you cross over to the south aspect of Pine Ridge you can expect significant brush encroachment and a few somewhat difficult to pass deadfalls.

More notably, right now about 90% of this first section climbing the north apsect of the ridge is covered with either ice or 3-4" of snow. On the bright side, the turnout at the trailhead is dry and I traversed Tassajara Road in a 2WD Chevy Blazer w/o having to use chains. [Ed: conditions change quickly!]

Once you cross over conditions are mostly dry and warm, w/a few small spots of snow and or ice in the shade.
===========
Conditions reported by: EW
Survey date: 14-JANUARY-2007
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Terrace Creek Trail junction to Big Sur Station - Wilderness Freeway

Hadn't hiked the lower PRT in almost 15 years and oh what havoc Sudden Oak Death (SOD) has wrought since then! Many stretches formerly cloaked in dense forest are now nearly open sunny slopes, with a few (hopefully immune) live Tanoaks and countless fungus-laden snags atop a ceanothus and deadfall understory - VERY SAD.

Probably saw more hikers (median age- approximately 21) along this 5 miles than on every other Ventana Wilderness hike I've taken in the last year COMBINED. Not sure if it's the USFS that so avidly maintains this route, but it's a bit obscene how much attention it gets with so many quintessential trails withering in disrepair. Why not put all these Sykes-bound, able bodied youngsters to work!?!?

PLEASE help stop the spread of Phytophthera ramorum(the fungus responsible for SOD) by spraying your boots and washing your clothes after this hike!
===========
Conditions reported by: Reed Thayer
Survey date: 23-NOVEMBER-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Passable

There is major overgrowth encroaching the trail until the top of the first hill. It's soft, though. After that the trail becomes very clear to the Divide. Somebody did some excellent trail work, it's in great condition.
===========
Conditions reported by: Patrice
Survey date: 20-NOVEMBER-2006
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Sykes Camp - Wilderness Freeway

My buddies and I started at Big Sur Station on Saturday morning and stayed the night at Terrace Creek Camp. Save for a few fallen trees/branches to navigate around, the trail was clear and well-maintained. Water was easily accessible and Terrace Creek Camp has been well-kept.

On Sunday morning, we left Terrace Creek for Sykes Camp. Again no issues. There were a couple of areas where some of the trail had washed out but when we reached these areas, the rangers were already there repairing the trail. The rivers could be crossed with ease. We stayed the night at Barlow Flats on Sunday and the camp was in immaculate condition.

Overall, as I said before, the trail had some fallen trees and some overgrowth but otherwise it's in great condition. It's getting pretty cold at night and in the mornings this time of year but still a great trail to do. Highly recommended for anyone visiting Big Sur for the first time.
===========
Conditions reported by: Carl A. Mounteer
Survey date: 2-OCTOBER-2006
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Ranger Station to Ventana Camp Trail - Wilderness Freeway

This is a beautiful wilderness freeway. It has lovely views of the ocean, Coast Redwoods soaring into the sky from invisible canyon floors, the canyon wall beyond, the Big Sur River from nearly a quarter mile above it, and the majestic Ventana Double Cone.

You can estimate your distance to Ventana Camp Trail when you reach the sign announcing the entrance to the Ventana Wilderness. This is approximately 1/2 way to Ventana Camp. (Another 1/4 mile inbound is exactly halfway.)

Poison oak is present but not to bad. A fallen tree has downed a power line about 1/4 mile inbound from the trailhead, but it was still about 3 feet overhead at the point where it crossed the trail. So it was easy to cross under it safely. It was unclear whether the power was still on but I doubt it since the tree had brought it into contact with the ground.

A very enjoyable and not-to-strenuous hike especially when it's good hiking weather: 70 degrees and clear.
===========
Conditions reported by: Betsy MacGowan
Survey date: 9-JULY-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Passable

The first quarter mile from China Camp is getting overgown with brush, although it is the soft, gentle ceanothus so maybe you won't mind that it is brushing up against you on both sides and sometimes swatting yu in the face. There is a fairly clear section from there to the Divide.
===========
Conditions reported by: Betsy MacGowan
Survey date: 4-JULY-2006
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Church Creek Divide to Pine Ridge - Difficult

The trail becomes progressively more brushy as you climb from the divide up to Pine Ridge. When I hiked on the July 4th weekend, there were many groups who had gone in to Pine Valley, avoiding the worst of the brush. But pity the hiker who is headed to Big Sur! First it is the green-stem ceanothus, taller than your head and growing into the trail from both sides. Then in the last mile or so, the wart-leaf ceanothus also grows into the trail. It is mostly 2 feet tall or less, so it swats at your legs but not much more. But there is enough on Pine Ridge that is growing 8 feet tall and into the trail that you will quickly become coated with sticky resin.
===========
Conditions reported by: Boy Scout Troop 60
Survey date: 29-JUNE-2006
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Trail Junction to Barlow Flat - Wilderness Freeway

Trail is open and clear. There is an occasional tread blow-out and two deadfalls, but the trail is good. Barlow Flat was very clean and in good condition.

Section: Barlow Flat to Big Sur Station - Wilderness Freeway

Trail is open and clear. This was the last day of our 5 day/36 mile Trans-Big Sur Hike and was a welcome respite compared with the first three days of very poor trail conditions in the eastern and central portion of the Ventana.
===========
Conditions reported by: Hitch
Survey date: 22-JUNE-2006
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Redwood Camp to Bear Basin Trail junction - Difficult

The area above Redwood heading up hill toward the Bear Basin junction is badly overgrown. Much of the trail is not visible even when standing on it.. Although the tread below the brush is is good condition. Nearing Pine Springs there is a fair number of deadfalls.

The Bear Basin Trail, at the junction, is badly obscured although marked with flagging tape. Its easier to follow heading up from the camp site.We saw a good sized rattler about 500 yards up from where the creek crosses the trail.

The flies were no less than world class everywhere above 1500 feet, but the Pine Ridge-Bear Basin juinction was the best place to encounter this form of wildlife enmasse.
===========
Conditions reported by: Dave Lautzenheiser
Survey date: 5-JUNE-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Trail junction to Sykes Camp - Clear

We hiked down from the junction with the Big Sur trail to Sykes Camp. After fighting brush and deadfalls on the Big Sur trail for over 6 hours, this felt like flying! There were a few obstacles and a bit of brush and some tread problems but otherwise this is an easy section - particularly in the downhill direction.

Section: Sykes Camp to Big Sur Station - Wilderness Freeway

The trail is in good shape. Other than a couple of slide areas where caution must be used, you can move along at whatever pace suits your style, weight of pack or uphill versus downhill direction.

===========
Conditions reported by: Dave Lautzenheiser
Survey date: 3-JUNE-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Black Cone Trail junction - Clear

The trail is quite easy to follow. There is some new growth brush in some areas that is annoying but not a particular problem. Two recent dead falls roughly a mile before the intersection with the Black Cone Trail were easily straddled.
===========
Conditions reported by: Greg Minter
Survey date: 27-MAY-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Wilderness Freeway

This section is clear and the trail was in good shape- no deadfalls, decent tread.

Section: Church Creek Divide to Pine Ridge Camp - Passable

Some brushy spots past Divide Camp, but tread was evident. Only a couple of deadfalls, easily negotiable. The trail is very brushy between the BCT trailhead and Pine Ridge Camp. At times it felt like you were swimming upstream. Good flow at Pine Ridge Spring.
===========
Conditions reported by: Geoff & Kristen
Survey date: 21-MAY-2006
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Church Creek Trail Junction to China Camp : Wilderness Freeway

This section of trail was easily followed with no obstacles that I can recall. No poison oak along the way, and no overgrowth. Wonderful views, I'm sure, if the clouds and rain aren't keeping your visibility to 100 feet like it was ours. Many wildflowers to be seen here though (great variety).
===========
Conditions reported by: Josh and Emily
Survey date: 29-APRIL-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Clear

The trail is in good shape, little encroaching brush and several deadfalls that can be easily stepped over. There was surprisingly little poison oak, not bad at all. Only found 3 ticks between the two of us over 2 days.
===========
Conditions reported by: Jon Benner
Survey date: 26-MARCH-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Church Creek Divide to Black Cone Trail junction

ood shape through here. A few recent blowdowns that require ducking under or climbing over, but generally no obstacles.
===========
Conditions reported by: John Yeo (email: j at colluvium dot org)
Survey date: 20-MARCH-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to the Big Sur River (Sykes) - Wilderness Freeway

This trail is wilderness freeway and is heavily used by Sykes-goers.

Section: Big Sur River (Sykes) to Big Sur Trail - Clear

The trail has some encroaching brush but is still very good by the Ventana standards. One or two minor deadfalls to get around. The tread is still in pretty good shape.
===========
Conditions reported by: Brian Wiese
Survey date: 11-FEBRUARY-2006
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Sykes Hot Springs - Passable

[0] (8:30) started hike from the parking lot
[1] (8:51) where the trail does a "V" there is a downed tree "off" the trail ('attempting' to disrupt night hikers from going the wrong way) [http://tinyurl.com/goazx]
[2] (9:04) rock fall washout, dangerous at night [http://tinyurl.com/qxf8j]
[3] (9:06) light tree crossing trail [http://tinyurl.com/qd7h5]
[4] (9:20) long dead tree on trail (I might have rolled this one over) [http://tinyurl.com/oh7d7]
[5] (9:54) duck under tree w/branches, minutes before Ventana Camp sign [http://tinyurl.com/egmpn]
[6] (10:13) old tree blockage, wear on trail - should be cleared out, need good footing. 20min before redwood grove at 5 miles. [http://tinyurl.com/fwul2]

Quite clear from 5 mile mark Redwoods/stream to Sykes. I left the Redwoods/stream at 16:05 to head back towards the parking lot, and took note of a couple other downed trees:

[7] (16:50) good 3-4" diameter down [http://tinyurl.com/zzonh]
[8] (17:21) 2-3" that has been down for some time, tripping hazard [http://tinyurl.com/f4mz9]

Perhaps bring a hatchet or saw with you, just in case you come across obstacles like I did... would be nice for someone to just clean it up.
===========
Conditions reported by: Mark Stevens
Survey date: 5-MARCH-2006
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Barlow Flat - Wilderness Freeway

The trail was fairly clear with a couple of tricky spots due to a small slide that had been repaired with talus and a couple of downed trees.

===========
Conditions reported by: Robert Parks
Survey date: 12-February-2006
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Tassajara Road/China Camp to Church Creek Divide - Clear

The VWA Trail Crew removed all log/brush obstacles on this section of the trail. Brush is encroaching somewhat, tread is generally in good shape.

text

Section: Church Creek Divide to Black Cone Trail/Pine Ridge - Clear

Some relatively small step over logs and dry deadfall provide minor annoyances on this section of the trail. Tread is generally in decent shape. Brush encroaches occasionally.

===========
Conditions reported by: Jeff Minter
Survey date: 25-NOVEMBER-2005
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Pine Valley - Wilderness Freeway

Wilderness freeway, with some tricky spots where the trail has slid.
===========
Conditions reported by: Ron Sanders
Survey date: 1-OCTOBER-2005
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Pine Ridge Camp and Redwood Camp - Difficult

Very heavy brush and dead limbs too low for backpackers without stooping, or crawling; the worst trail i've seen in forty years of backing
===========
Conditions reported by: Greg Minter
Survey date: 25-SEPTEMBER-2005
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Angel Camp to Divide Camp - Clear

Free and clear. Some erosion on steep sections; take care here. Trekking poles recommended.
===========
Conditions reported by: Mike Miller
Survey date: 16-SEPTEMBER-2005
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Barlow Flats Camp - Wilderness Freeway

Only one deadfall worth mentioning, and that was no problem. Lots of traffic on the trail, but everyone goes to Sykes. I had Barlow all to myself for five days. The trail to the gorge, 0.8 mi upstream, is getting overgrown like nobody uses it.

I had a good time, but had to take a hike each morning to find sunshine, as the sun doesn't get in there much in Sept., and no camp fires are allowed now.
===========
Conditions reported by: Dave Eshleman
Survey date: 1-JUNE-2005
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Bear Basin Trail to Redwood Camp - Difficult The trip down to Redwood Camp was VERY tough, with overgrown brush and eroded trail sections that were downright treacherous in the steepest sections
===========
Conditions reported by: David C. Laredo
Survey date: 29-MAY-2005
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Pine Ridge Camp - Wilderness Freeway

A romp among the rampant wildflowers!

Section: Pine Ridge Camp to Redwood Camp - Difficult

This portion is quite difficult. Long stretches have dense overgrowth impinging on the path of travel. Tread areas at time give way. The treacherous path through the cliff area, though,has been greatly improved as compared to the past two years. Ticks and poison oak abound!

The three fords were quite passable with little problem. Water temperature at Barlow Flats was 52 degrees.

Section: Redwood Camp to Big Sur Station - Clear

Also a breeze with only rare section where the tread needs improvement.
===========
Conditions reported by: Ery Arias-Castro
Survey date: 21-MAY-2005
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Trail to Big Sur Station: Clear

A lot of work has been done on the portion from Sykes to BS station since last year!
===========
Conditions reported by: Stephen Eggleston
Survey date: 16-MAY-2005
General: WILDERNESS FREEWAY
Specific:

Section: Pine Valley to China Camp - Wilderness Freeway

The trail was is great condition, the best I've seen it in about 3-4 years. Some of the steeper meadow sections had some erosion and gopher ankle traps.
===========
Conditions reported by: Don Brown
Survey date: 22-APRIL-2005
General: DIFFICULT
Specific:

Section: Sykes Camp to Pine Ridge Camp - Difficult to Impassable

Unbelievable brushy almost to the point of being impassable. In particular, from Redwood Camp to Pine Ridge Camp was the worst of it, slowing my pace down to a crawl as I carved my way through the brush. The tread was fine, when I could see it, however, there was a particular dangerous section from Redwood Camp to about half way to Pine Ridge camp where the trail was quite narrow along a steep slope, and the brush pushes you to the outside of the trail. I took many a long step as my left foot missed the trail completely. Overall, there were surprisingly few downed trees or branches, just a lot of brush.

Section: Terrance Creek Camp to Sykes Camp - Wilderness Freeway

Of course beautiful and a wilderness freeway. Section: Black Cone Trail junction to Divide Camp - Passable

A bit brushy in places, probably classified as Passable. A freeway after hiking from Redwood Camp. Section: Divide Camp to China Camp - Wilderness Freeway

A two-lane freeway thanks to the hard work of trail crews. Nice job!
===========
Conditions reported by: Jacob Koff
Survey date: 8-APRIL-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Thanks to all the VWA volunteers, the Pine Ridge Trail was in pretty good shape. There are several downed trees, especially near Divide Camp. Other than that, the trail is fine.
===========
Conditions reported by: Andy Miller
Survey date: 15-MARCH-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Pine Valley Camp

I left China Camp headed for Pine Valley Camp. Conditions on the trail were good but there is some brush covering the trail on the ridge above Church Creek Divide. Ticks were here and there but not too bad. The tread is in great shape and the trail is easy to follow. I had Pine Valley all to myself and it was awesome. I spent some time climbing the huge boulders that surround the camp. It was COLD overnight. I awoke to a frost covered tent and frozen water bottle! The hike back to China Camp was almost all uphill but the views were just as nice.
===========
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers - Stevenson Wilderness Program
Survey date: 10-MARCH-2005
General: CLEAR
Specific:

Section: Big Sur NFS to Ventana Camp Trail (Wilderness Freeway)

Section: Ventana Camp Trail to Sykes Camp (Clear)

There are a few new tree trunks to negotiate but only one requires off-trail clambering and care not to slip. There are a few slumps but most of the footbed has been recently re-worked. Section: Sykes Camp to Redwood Camp (Clear)

Generally a Freeway by Ventana standards, but there are some footbed slumps and one trunk that is best handled by lifting a pack over it. Section: Redwood Camp to Big Sur Trail (Clear)

Clear except for one redwood trunk lying along the trail. One climbs onto it and walks 20 feet on its charred bark to pass. Section: Big Sur Trail to Pine Ridge Camp Junction (Clear)

Clear with some downed trees near that junction. Section: Pine Ridge Camp Junction to Church Creek Divide (Clear)

Clear with only a few fallen trees to negotiate. Section: Church Creek Divide to China Camp (Clear)

Clear, again with a few tree trunks to clamber over, one very brief detour around brush, and some slumping of the footbed on steep hillsides.

Generally, the entire trail seems in pretty good condition, much better than last year at this time.
===========
Conditions reported by: Anikka Jamison
Survey date: 20-FEBRUARY-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: Big Sur Station to Sykes Camp : PASSABLE

4-5 medium sized trees blocking the trail, passable with a little effort. Minimal brush, well marked trail. 1 stream to ford, about 2 feet deep. If you haven't been to Sykes Hot Springs before, it's hard to find the camp, because the trail is under water at the last segment and you have to do either a tricky unmarked rock scramble, or wade in about 3 feet of water next to the rocks for a short distance. I did the trip with 3 people, and two of us got a mess of very itchy poison oak all over us, despite trying to be very careful.
===========
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers - Stevenson Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: 14-FEB-2005
General: PASSABLE
Specific:

Section: China Camp to Church Creek Divide : Wilderness Freeway

Wilderness Highway to the top of the first ridge and beyond, except for several large tree trunks that require climbing over or around and a number of short brushy sections on the drop to the Divide. Only a few spots require briefly leaving the generally good foot bed.

Section: Church Creek Divide to Bear Basin Trail : Clear

Clear for backpackers, barring several blow downs we could not cut or remove. These can be climbed over or under with minor efforts. Brush is not a big problem this early in the year.

Section: Bear Basin Trail to Black Cone Trail/Bear Basin Connector : Passable

Stevenson Wilderness Staff continued cutting and brushing to the junction with the Black Cone Trail and Bear Basin Connector. The trail is passable: good by Ventana standards.

We did not continue to Pine Ridge Camp, but the condition of the top of the ridge suggests there will be numerous blowdowns there, too
User avatar
Site Administrator
Site Admin
 
Posts: 166
Joined: Thu Jul 24, 2008 9:43 am

PreviousNext

Return to Ventana Wilderness Trails

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron