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Rodeo Flats Trail

Re: Rodeo Flats Trail

Postby pantilat on Thu Jan 25, 2018 10:46 am

Date Hiked: January 20, 2018
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

This steep dirt road is badly eroded in spots with deep channels where last winter's rains wrecked havoc, but it's clear of brush and an efficient route to high elevations. There are lots of interesting rock formations set amid knobcone pines and Coulter pines, and the excellent views make up for the steep pitch. About halfway up the ridge, the road leaves the crest and traverses along the south slope of the ridge all the way to Rodeo Flat. Instead of taking the road, one can stay right along the ridge crest where there are more fascinating rock formations and excellent views of the Arroyo Secco headwaters and Santa Lucia Peak. Continuing along the ridge crest one reaches a remnant stand of beautiful Sugar Pines set among the reddish rocks. The ridge culminates in a small peak (Point 4735 on USGS topo map) with suburb views to Lost Valley and Ventana Double Cone. The only nuisance for the alternate route along the ridge crest is the fire crews "cleared" the upper part of the ridge as a handline, but left the brush droppings in place so sometimes one needs to weave around the debris.
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Re: Rodeo Flats Trail

Postby Bill Vogt on Wed Dec 20, 2017 11:48 am

Date Hiked: December 18, 2017
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Big uphill hike, but clear most of the way. The last quarter mile is a bit brushy if you choose to follow the old road instead of going up and over the peak where an alternate route has been cleared. The old road is easy to follow in the section, just a little brushy.

Had a close encounter with a bear on the lower part of the trail. First, we saw older bear scat on the trail. Then, fresh bear scat and tracks. Finally, there was something big (assume it was a bear) rustling in the brush next to the trail.
Bill Vogt

Re: Rodeo Flats Trail

Postby Brian M McCutcheon on Tue Dec 27, 2016 4:13 pm

Date Hiked: December 26, 2016
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

My dog Dash and I hiked Rodeo Flats from Arroyo Seco Trail to the top and back. My guess is that a bulldozer came through within the past year, but I don't speak bulldozer-track so might have misread the timing. There were no meaningful obstacles. There were two or three large tree trunks that were very easily stepped up and over, appearing as though they were deliberately placed. The upper part of the trail had a large amount of dead chaparral, as though run over by something like a bulldozer in the past year. But this was generally easy to weave through without gouging one's legs. The big challenge was the slope, which became ever more unforgiving as we got closer to the top. Despite cold air (maybe 40 degrees) and a stiff breeze, I perspired profusely in shorts and a thin short sleeve shirt. We descended 2/3 of the way from the top toward the conjunction with North Coast Ridge Trail and stopped there for a quick lunch, admiring the awesome views in 3 of 4 directions. Looks like the dead chaparral ended where we stopped, as the last 100-200 yards to the conjunction, spread out below us, was completely clear. We'll have to come back another day to enjoy that part.
Brian M McCutcheon
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Re: Rodeo Flats Trail

Postby Fred Watson on Sat Nov 29, 2014 10:38 am

Date Hiked: November 27, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Same as previous reports. Steep ascent. Gravel would be slippery on descent. Clear "trail".
Fred Watson
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Re: Rodeo Flats Trail

Postby greg meyer on Sun Mar 23, 2014 10:14 am

Date Hiked: March 9, 2014
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

To call this bulldozered cut a trail is generous but it does link the Coast Ridge to the sublime upper Arroyo Seco Canyon, so if you hike this area you may use it at some point. We found it generally Clear to Passable.

Be prepared however, parts are very steep, the tread is not always obvious in the lower section and cobbles on the trail can make it feel like you are hiking on ball bearings. I was very glad I had trekking poles for the descent and several people in our party slipped. However the views are grand along the way and the reward at the top is the unnamed peak that is east of the trail and a short 10 minute hike with great views of all the high peaks of the Ventana and the distant Sierra crest. The peak has some great rocks on top, with flat spots for a bivouac and a small mixed grove of sugar and Coulter pines.

We had planned to hike Rodeo Flats at night and I am really glad we didn't but I also wouldn't want to walk up it in the middle of a warm summer day as it is very open and exposed. Be aware that the connection at the Coast Ridge is not signed and we found the National Geographic Ventana map did not accurately depict the trail, the Wilderness Press map was much more helpful.
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Re: Rodeo Flats Trail

Postby Jim Ringland on Fri May 10, 2013 8:49 pm

Date Hiked: May 7, 2013
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

The trail is a tad hard to follow for the first 100 feet or so beyond the Forks Junction because of a bit of debris associated with the creek coming down from above. Once across the creek, all is obvious. This aggressively steep but neat trail has great views, some very attractive rock formations, the best display of paintbrush I've seen this year, and even a few sugar pines up top. Like the Coast Ridge Trail, it's really an old roadbed/firebreak. Chaparral plants are sprouting up in the bed, but the hillside setting and rocky/gravelly/sandy soils aren't conducive to rampant growth. It's generally easy to step over (or on) the small stuff and go around the few larger things. Short stretches are worse, but it still seems more appropriate to flag the overall feel of this trail as "Clear" rather than downgrade the whole to "Passable".
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Re: Rodeo Flats Trail

Postby Rob on Sun Nov 04, 2012 7:44 pm

Date Hiked: November 4, 2012
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Hiked this downhill today, no change in condition. Nice views and the occasional breeze made the hot downhill bearable. I faintly remember hiking up this once, but only once :)
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Re: Rodeo Flats Trail

Postby Ted Merrill on Sat Apr 23, 2011 5:29 pm

Date Hiked: April 19, 2011
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

My buddy Shahe and I took the Rodeo Flats Trail downhill from the Coast Ridge Trail down to the Arroyo Seco Trail.
The trail was quite clear, with only a few minor down trees.

Be aware that this old road cut is VERY steep for a good part. Going downhill i slipped and fell twice, although i don't think there was any serious danger. Someone going uphill might find this to be rather exhausting... be aware also that it is fully sun exposed the whole way.
Ted Merrill

Re: Rodeo Flats Trail

Postby sugg on Tue May 18, 2010 7:19 pm

Date Hiked: May 15, 2010
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Pretty cool "trail". -In my opinion, this "trail" was mostly a firebreak, but don't fret. This route is awesome!I traveled on this route from the Arroyo Seco Trail up to the Coast Ridge Trail. It allows you to move quickly and gain some altitude quickly. The route is nice and rutted/rough for long stretches so it doesn't feel too domesticated - but it has some "smooth" sections too. As you gain altitude, continue to look back and enjoy the views. There are a few pine trees and that feels good, but it's mostly exposed. It doesn't feel like the Central Coast of California. At the top, near the intersection with Coast Ridge Trail, you can look north and see the Ventana Double Cone way off in the distance. Watch for the lounging lizards and snakes. Here's some pictures from the Arroyo Seco intersection on up to Coast Ridge......
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Trail Conditions History 1998-2008

Postby Site Administrator on Tue May 26, 2009 11:57 am

Date Hiked: May 10, 2008
General Condition: Clear (no obstacles and tread well defined)

Conditions reported by: George
Survey date: 10-May-2008
General: Clear

I was pleasantly surprised to find the trail in better shape than I imagined. A clear road most of the way, with great views and some shade from fine pine trees. Very little brush except for a couple of brief sections near the top. I took a right near the top and ended up on top of a little peak for lunch, whereas the left would contour around the peak. Nice-smelling, purple-flowered bushes were in bloom a lot of the way. Made it from car to the peak in 2 hours flat with just my daypack. So I looped around over to Lost Valley and came back via that (much brushier!) trail. A fine 8.5 hour loop hike.

Conditions reported by: Andrew Staley
Survey date: 2-APRIL-2007

Trail is almost completely hidden due to very thick chaparral covering the road bed. The first mile or so is fairly passable (although very steep) but soon was up to my shoulders in brush . Was able to reach reach the Coast Ridge Trail although it took over two hours to cover the 3 miles from Forks Camp. Would not recommend this trail be used any longer by anyone other than a highly motivated trail crew.
Conditions reported by: Rob Yang
Survey date: 10-APRIL-2005

Not much to add to the previous descriptions, except that the brush seemed thicker at the higher elevations. Steep and loose footbed on the descent, but some great sandstone formations to look at, and to boulder if one so desired. A few small rivulets flowed here and there (it had been raining only a couple of days before).
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers - Stevenson Wilderness Program
Survey date: 10-MARCH-2005
General: CLEAR

Section: Indians Memorial Campground to Forks Camp (Wilderness Highway)

From Indians Memorial Campground [Ed: Arroyo Seco Trail to the junction before Forks Camp] to Forks Camp, the trail is a wilderness highway with the exception of one large fallen tree before the crossing of the Arroyo Seco River. This requires a creeping-under move. Section: Forks Camp to Coast Ridge Trail (Clear)

From Forks Camp to the Coast Ridge Trail, the way is steep but clear. For hikers coming down, the plants and young trees growing in the jeep trail that is the footbed can sometimes obscure the way. Zigging and zagging around them is not a big problem, but keep an eye open for false trails off the sandstone ridge.
Conditions reported by: Lindsay Jeffers - Stevenson Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: 04-MAR-2004

Section: Arroyo Seco Trail jct. to Coast Ridge Trail

The trail was in good shape with the tricky section in the middle as usual where the proper trail becomes hard to follow. Coming down can be quite tricky here, although staying on the trail is not so hard when going up.
Conditions reported by: Alex
Survey date: 16-FEB-2004

Section: Coast Ridge Trail to Arroyo Seco Trail jct.

Follows an old, steep jeep road/fire break most of the way, but is significantly overgrown. There are a few somewhat confusing areas. As mentioned below, there are two intersections with the Coast Ridge Trail, one just before a seasonal stream as you head south, and the other 1/3 mile or so after that. The latter is marked with a sign for Forks Campground.

(ED. NOTE: The "trail" noted above, just north of a seasonal stream is an extremely steep FIRE BREAK, NOT A TRAIL. Flat area at seasonal stream crossing is Rodeo Flats. See Monterey Co. Placenames.)
Conditions reported by: Stevenson School Wilderness Expedition
Survey date: FEB-2002

Forks Camp junction to Coast Ridge Road: This route is open and easy to follow. There are some sections near the top of the ridge where brush on the trail makes it a little hard to keep to the trail for those coming STEEPLY down hill.
Conditions reported by: Steve Wilson
Survey date: 14-APRIL-01
Specific: Firebreak with roadbed sections.

"Since this firebreak route is essentially shadeless, definitely waterless, and perspiringly steep, no one would want to ascend it, and I'm not too sure anyone would want to slip-slide down it either." - Jeffrey P. Schaffer

Unless you are accustomed to hiking in Ventana and are looking for a moderately strenuous day hike loop that is. On the somewhat cool, but sunny day in mid-April that I hiked UP this trail, the Rodeo Flat Trail provided an easily followed use path, an ambitious but not foolhardy grade, and far flung views of Pinkolom, the Rocks, Arroyo Seco Headwaters, the Coast Ridge, and even Cone Peak and the Ventana Peaks Ridge at one point. Combined with the Arroyo Seco and Coast Ridge Trail, this trail makes a great full day semiloop in cooler weather. Don't be scared off by USFS propaganda touting how many acres were "destroyed" by the fire. In this part of Ventana, the fire has opened things up, and most everything is springing back to life.. The only real obstacles are the elevation gain, round rocks under foot from the conglomerate bedrock, lack of shade, and slaloming through the knee high Yerba Santa forest proliferating on the previously mentioned bypass of the peak near the top. I guess I wouldn't want to do it on a hot day, but it was just fine on a cool, clear one!
Conditions reported by: Stevenson School Wilderness Expedition 2000
Survey date: APRIL-2000

The Coast Ridge Road junction is clear. The trail leading around the peak and avoiding the firebreak to the top is now obvious. Although it is rocky, it is the preferable route because it avoids an extra climb and a very steep descent on the eastern side of that peak. Of course, it also avoids the splendid view from the top.

The trail has been partially reworked as firebreak, but it does not suffer from the downed manzanita and ceanothus stems that many of the other firebreaks do. In fact, most of the way is cleaner than it usually is. One must exercise considerable care, though, half way down where the trail runs along a ridge top that is sprouting new pines and other growth. Stay to the southern ridge rather than going north towards the interesting rock formations; keep a sharp lookout for footprints and pay close attention to the landscape. This section of trail could use some flags or a sequence of clipping and cutting to make the real path stand out from all the potential false routes. I am sure it is much easier to stay on the trail up this section than it is to come down, but both directions could use some route help. The junction to the Arroyo Seco Trail is marked clearly with a sign.
Conditions reported by: Steve Chambers
Survey date: 22-MARCH-00

The west side of this trail was used as a burn-out line on the Kirk Fire. The burnout did not have much effect on the condition of the trail. It is still VERY STEEP AND ROCKY. Follow the "jeep road"/trail, taking the left fork (traveling up) near the top to avoid more steep climbing to a peak.
Conditions reported by: Steve Chambers
Survey date: May, 1998

The Rodeo Flats Trail has always been a fire/jeep road, and as such is very steep and usually easy to follow. Starting at the bottom, crossing Leopard Lily Creek, its a wide road steeply up to a spur ridge. The road-trail follows the ridge through a mass of young pines (stay on the top of the ridge). Further on, the road-trail traverses steeply along a south facing slope and comes to a FORK, in sight of the main Coast Ridge to the west. If you follow the right fork, it climbs very steeply to the summit of the peak above (great views). The obscure LEFT fork much more easily connects with the nearby Coast Ridge. This road-trail can cut 3 miles off a trip between the Arroyo Seco Trail and points north. Rodeo Flats is the hollow 1/4 mile north of the intersection with the Coast Ridge where early homesteaders broke horses, as its a natural corral, or was before the bulldozed firebreak.
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